a MMB! Kendo Blog: I Am Back and Alive

MMB! Kendo Blog

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

忍耐 + 掌握人生
I Am Back and Alive

If it was not for fulfilling the training plan I have set myself last weekend, I would not have gone into so much trouble in negotiating my way to the dojo. Now I can see how goal-setting has influenced my decision. To be successful, you first need to set yourself a goal and a plan.

Anyway, the trouble I had to face tonight was transportation. The faithful Mitsubishi Magna wagon has finally decided to retire after serving our family for 10 years, and we will need to buy a new car to replace the Magna.

Meanwhile, it was a nightmare for me to go to training when my older brother also needed the only car in the family to go and watch the State of Origin decider with his friends in Newtown. To try to fit into his plan, I left work early today, changed my clothes, packed my bogu bag, eat a quick 10 minutes dinner, then rode my brother's car to the dojo. I arrived at the dojo at 7pm tonight.

Andrew van Hamond and I practiced kata ipponme to nanahonme about 10 rounds before the whole class went through the kata once together and parted for the kendo session.

Btw, we had two visitors from the USS Kitty Hawk naval ship tonight. Gregory, the Hawaiian guy who joined the Monday night Pyrmont and UNSW training, came again. I found out later that he is currently nidan and used to train 7 days a week while he was back in Hawaii. He moved to Japan earlier this year and was training 3-4 times a week. At the moment, he is working as an aircraft electrician on USS Kitty Hawk.

Joining Gregory was Abraham. He started kendo a few months ago and currently hold yonkyu. He works as a intelligence officer on the naval ship.

Itakura sensei led the class tonight. We did 3 rounds of kirikaeshi, 3 rounds of 3 kihon-men, 3 rounds of 3 kihon-kote, and 3 rounds of 3 kihon-kote-men, and then jigeiko.

Tonight was another good night at training. My stamina was high and my mind was focused. I was able to do nice kendo tonight.

First, I had jigeiko with Onodera sensei. I finally got the feeling back on how to control kensen and apply seme. Jigeiko was so much fun again, I really enjoyed it.

I then went to queue for Gregory again. There were 3 people before me, so it took a while, but when it was my turn, I had so much fun out there. I was not hesitating, and was played confidently. I think I have played some nice kendo tonight.

Gregory possessed very beautiful and snappy men cut. His nidan waza - kote-men - was also very fluent. His shinai swing was definitely faster than me. I tried to keep my cuts small and my kensen straight in the centre so to give him a hard time to display his snappy men cut on me. We were both actively searching for each other's weaknesses and fully committing to every cut. That was so much fun. Now that my stamina was back, this jigeiko had become a really exciting mind game. We both made some beautiful cuts on each other. Gregory scored some powerful men-cut while I did some nice, snappy debana-kote.

We went on to play ippon-shobu. However, before anyone scored, Doug called the end of jigeiko session and introduced the ippon-shiai-geiko where two players would fight for the ultimate ippon while everyone else made a circle around the two shiai-sha. Winner would stay to fight the next challenger.

First two up were Gregory and Andrew Tan. It was good to see that Andrew's stamina has come back up now. He was still doing the text-book perfect cut which I wish I had. After a few rounds of ippon-shobu and shiai-sha coming in and out of the court, I stepped forward to challenge Kai.

I really enjoyed the moment out there. Having so many people watching made me excited to show my best kendo to everyone. In the end, the match ended in hikiwake.

We took a group photo at the end to celebrate the visit of our two USS Kitty Hawk friends. A group of us took the visitors to the Willoughby Hotel to have a drink and chat, and watched the final stages of the State of Origin decider. Blues won a deciding 32-10. I am not a rugby fan, but I have to say 'GO NSW'!

I got home at 11pm tonight.


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