忍耐 + 掌握人生
Learning By Teaching
We started off with suburi practice. I was very pleased to see that their footwork has improved. They all remembered those little points I brought up on Wednesday night.
We then did some kihon-men pair-up exercises. Again, it was generally very well done. I only need to occassionally remind them to make sure them to use sliding footwork, especially the right foot.
We then moved on to practice the full kihon-men routine - from setting up the distance, to cutting and passing through. In this exercise, the focus was on the hand-foot coordination. The points I tried to emphasise to the beginners were:
- issoku-ito-no-maai, or one-step one-cut;
- fumikomi and cut should land at the same time.
To make sure the beginners execute issoku-ito-no-maai, instead of shuffling the feet or taking multiple small steps before launching into a cut, I asked them to move into distance first. When they were in the position to cut the target in one step, I asked them to lift the shinai up and hold for half a second before making the cut.
The reason I asked them to lift the shinai up first and hold for half a second was because their shinai swing was generally not fast enough to catch up with the foot. The foot tended to land earlier than the cut, which made the attack looked uncoordinated.
With the shinai already up and ready to swing down, it was much easier to get the shinai to land at the same time when the right foot stamped on the floor. This allowed me to show the beginners the ideas about timing and relationship between the cut and right foot.
Fumikomi was the kind of thing that was hard to explain and could only get better by repeatingly trialling and practicing until the right feelings come. So I let everyone practice by themselves and experiment with fumikomi for about 5 minutes.
After that, we made one line again and practice kihon-kote-men. This time, one of the more advanced beginners would put on the kote and experienced being a motodachi, learning how to open the kote and receive kote cuts from other beginners. I think it was a good idea to let the more experienced beginners to receive kote cuts, as they could then understand why the sensei always tell them not to use excessive blunt force to cut. Bruised wrist and forearm were definitely not something that any of us would like to get from beginners in bogu.
In the last 30 minutes, the beginner class was splitted up into pairs and practiced kiri-kaeshi.
I have made a small breakthrough in getting the 4-year-old's interest towards the end of the training session. I found that he liked to hit the actual targets on bogu. If he gets to hit and run around, that would be even better. So in the full kihon-kote-men exercise where real dummies were used (i.e. one beginner with kote protector on, and myself in full bogu), I could see he got very excited. It was so nice and sort of relieved for me to see that he was happy and enjoying the exercise at the end. Man, I have to say you need a PhD to teach a 4-year-old kid.
Anyway, below is a photo of people in my bowling lane taken at the Sydney Kendo Club's Disco Bowling event last night.
Back Row: (L-R) Mark Szewczyk, John Hsu, Onodera sensei, Donny Chien, Karl Szewczyk
Front Row: Me!