Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Pain is Back

I seriously think something is plotting against me. After a great Tuesday last week I managed to pull my back 5 minutes before the start of Thursday practice. I wasn't even doing anything energetic at the time, just a few light swings of the shinai. FML.

I'm now suffering ANOTHER enforced break.

I visited the quack yesterday and they manipulated my back. Apparently one the vertebrae just below the level of my shoulder blades was very slightly twisted, this locked the surrounding muscles. The guy messed about poking and twisting the affected area, which seems to have helped ease it off a bit. He suggested I give it until the weekend before performing a light practice. I need to keep my back moving though.

46 Days until Grading. Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!

Well done for those successfully grading at Watchet. You've done us proud..... please help me with my kata :P

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Tenouchi Practice

Finally, after six months of visiting Mumeishi I have finally finished a night feeling positive. Holt sensei has been pressing me on my basics, namely opportunity, tenouchi, footwork while turning (left and right) and zanshin. While i'm not claiming to have cracked any of these, I feel that I am making progress.

Prior to class Holt sensei demonstrated a method of practicing tenouchi. This is how I remember it, this may not be 100% faithful to the original instruction.

Hold the tsuka in the middle of the handle without a gap between the hands. Next, 'bounce' the kensen up and down (top of head down to throat level) by flexing the left wrist/hand while pivoting with the right. The downward part of the bounce is created by a sharp squeeze of the hands to produce a snap. Repeat this 1... 2... on 3 lift the shinai up and forward with the shoulders and snap a small cut with the wrists, pushing from the hips and completing with fumikomi. The kensen must not rotate 90 degrees so it's pointing to the ceiling.

The correct hand grip is needed for this, the base of the tsuka in the heel of the left palm with it running past the index finger. Axe handle style grip will not work.
I felt this exercise helped me stretch during my cut and provided more of a snap. It's something i'm planning to practice at home.

I have also bought a new bogu bag. for the last two years i've used Ebogu's Tozan backpack ordered for the US. While its dimensions are perfectly suited, its fabrication and materials are woeful. I have spent hours stitching up the seams with thick thread in order to stop it falling to bits... stitching failure started as soon as six months after purchase. It's finally given up the ghost with the actual fabric ripping around my bodges.

I've since been scratching my head about what to buy as a replacement, finally settling on an ice hockey backpack due to similar weight and size of armour. It took a while to find one that will fit my do measurements, I ended up buying an Alkali CA9 backpack. Its reinforced and made from tarpaulin, so hopefully wont rip.

The only problem is IT'S MASSIVE. The width and length are perfect but the height is a good 10cm too long. At least I can use it as a sleeping bag if I get locked outside. I'll update later on how successful this purchase has been.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

London Cup '12

My uni project deadline is this Friday which means i've been kendo-slack for the last few weeks, only managing a couple of practices. After my hand in I'm planning to take advantage of the short inter-module break and make a few additional weekend practices.

I fought in the London Cup team event a few weekends ago. Nenriki entered two teams this year and I felt ours was pretty strong, three of us are similar grade/experience and the final two are old hands at shiai.

I was fighting Jiho (second) and our first match was against Mumeishi B. Due to my regular practices at their club I knew my opponent, he's an Ikkyu so was less experienced than I. Nevertheless, he proved a tough guy to break down. I managed to beat him with a kote nuki men before the final bell.

Like previous years, people commented that I didn't 'claim' my points enough so most of my opportunities were not scored. This is a reoccurring issue I need to rectify, otherwise fighting in competitions will be a waste of time.

Our pool only contained two teams so both went through to the next round, where we faced Team GB 2. Again, I knew all our opponents due to squad training and faced their Jodan fighter. I knew this guy was quick and aggressive so set my stall out early to try and unsettle him, I chucked in a few rubbish tsuki just to let him know I was willing to give that target a go and tried to maintain a forward positive attitude. He kept working away at my kote and was told after I was in for a shout for a nuki men... however, at one point he managed to clip the bottom of forearm when I was lifting for a cut which was scored by the shinpan - I could tell it missed my kote due to the pain! My opponent then followed up with an identical cut which hit kote plum, no complaints about that one.

At least I put up a good fight and didn't disgrace myself. The final score was x KK x x x, which mean my result lost it for the team. I was gutted. GB 2 went on to win bronze.

Regarding general practice, i'm still struggling with posture. I'm over compensating my leaning back by leaning too far forward, leading to my back leg flicking up. O'Sullivan sensei says my posture is still looking a bit ungainly and awkward, i'm unsure if this is due to my leaning forward/backward issues or something different.

59 days until grading....

Good luck to those grading at watchet this weekend!