忍耐 + 掌握人生
The Most Exhilarating Training By Far
Wow! What an absolutely exciting day! 6 Sensei turned up at training today. Yano Sensei was there too. How good was that to see him in Willoughby again. I really wish he could come to the Saturday training more often because he got the most elegant kendo and I really want to learn that from him.
Today there was a shiai-geiko and shinpan seminar organised between the Sydney Kendo Club and the UNSW Kendo Club. Having said that, there were kendoka from other clubs at today's seminar and geiko as well.
Shinpan seminar was conducted in the first hour. Kendoka, mostly from the kyu grades, participated in shiai-geiko. I had my chance to practice shinpan'ing for three matches. I did okay during the practice, but I reckon I should build up my confidence in making the commands. My voice was weak when I called out the commands and I felt that I was calling out with hesitation. I needed to have confidence in myself, so that the shiai-sha can have confidence in my decision.
Oh, another thing during the shinpan practice... While Andrew van Hamond, Master Kim and I were sitting down waiting for our turn to shinpan, I had my arms folded in front of my chest and Master Kim slumped into the chair and had his legs crossed. I didn't see how Andrew looked like at that moment but it must be dodgy as well. Payne Sensei walked up to us and said how he wish he had a camera to take a photo of us. He said we should sit properly with feet on the floor and hands on the laps holding the shinpan flags. tehehe. Lucky Payne Sensei picked that up today, or else I would make myself look silly at a real championships. Nonetheless, it was funny to think about how we sat. =P
We then moved on to team shiai competitions in the second hour - kyu, dan, and Sensei shiai-geiko. I played as chuken for Sydney Kendo Club in the Dan team. Nak-Hieon was senpo, Nishimoto-San was jiho, Andrew was hukusho and Takeshi was taisho. The match was only short - just two minutes. My match was against Jackson. Yes, Jackson again. I always get drawn to play Jackson in competitions when I was a Kyu grade. The last two times were at the 2004 National Championships and the 2004 Korean Kumdo Competition. Both time I lost to Jackson. He got the height, size, power and reach and I always found it difficult to play Jackson in tsubazerai or just after I attack. The feeling was like leaping into a concrete wall.
With his height, my best chance would be to score debana-kote. Anyway, that was what I thought. I tried to put what I have learnt so far into use in that match, especially the followings:
- Apply seme to control opponents;
- Keep my chu-shin;
- the use of left foot - so that I can launch attack in one step instead of two;
- the use of right foot to apply seme. e.g. sliding of the right foot which Kirby taught us on Thursday UNSW training;
- Debana-kote - anticipate opponent's intention to attack, land flat and snappy cut on kote; and
- Experiment Miyazaki Masahiro's style of uchiotoshi at issoku-ito-no-ma-ai.
The above are the things that I wanted to achieve in this shiai with Jackson. Apart from cutting Jackson's men but was greeted by The Great Wall of Jackson on impact and fell on the ground, I started off pretty well. We were both in chudan at issoku-ito-no-ma-ai, applying seme to explore the openings. I remember I tried pressing Jackson's shinai on both sides, but he kept his chu-shin so I was not able to move in and attack. Both of our movements were rather clean at that time. No wasted movements or slash and bash.
We were in issoku-ito-no-ma-ai for quite some time, well, maybe it's not really that long. It's probably 20 seconds only but it seemed quite long out there on the shiai-jo. Jackson made a move forward and all I remembered was that I slightly pressed his shinai away and launched a men-cut, which just landed on Jackson's men. I wasn't sure if the cut was powerful enough to be considered an ippon at that time, but was awarded an ippon from the shinpan. However, from what Andrew Tan and Yoshiki told me afterwards, they thought it was a good men-cut too. Yoshiki said that I did a one-step one-cut which was really good. I was also happy to hear from Andrew about Fukuda Sensei's reaction when I landed that men-cut. =D
When the match restarted, Jackson geared up his attacking frequency. He showered men and hiki-men cuts on me, which really disrupted the holding of my kamae. I tried to block and deflect Jackson's shinai away and only attacked when I felt prepared to do so. However, thinking about it now, I think I was too defensive and should have taken that opportunity to try different oji waza. I felt that Jackson had the upper-hand and I was simply reacting and defending Jackson's attacks. I realised that I was too defensive half-way through the match and tried to be more prepared to attack. I tried a couple of debana-kote while Jackson went for men. A couple of my cuts landed on Jackson's kote but they were not convincing enough to earn an ippon. And so, the match ended that way.
The highlight of the Dan Team competition was the match between Takeshi and Kirby. Wow, that match was a real eye-popper. Jodan vs Chudan at their best. There was so much speed and explosive power. Their movements were so agile. Takeshi took the first point with his lightning fast hiki-kote cut. Kirby then drew the match not long after with a beautifully executed men-debana-katate-kote.
My most privileged moment came when Payne Sensei asked if I would like to shinpan the team matches. I cannot describe how excited I was to be offered this rare opportunity to shinpan the matches between my Sensei and my Senpai. I really could not believe my luck. Of course I took the offer up with great enthusiasm.
Payne Sensei was the chief shinpan, while Doug and I were the two assistant shinpans. The matches were of really high standard so I had a really good shinpaning experience. I felt so honoured to be part of this exciting Sensei shiai-geiko. Thank you Payne Sensei for giving me this opportunity. Thank you to all the Sensei who came to Willoughby training today. I wonder if anyone took any photos of those matches.