忍耐 + 掌握人生
Kendo and Some Thoughts
Gyokuryuki High School Kendo Tournament
Remember I bought the latest Kendo Nippon magazine which contain a DVD of the best footage in the Gyokuryuki High School Kendo Tournament. I have been watching this DVD a lot, and have been greatly inspired by the amount of energy and the intensity of the matches. Gyokuryuki is a team tournament with a very special match rule. Each team has 5 players as usual, but it is not necessary senpo vs senpo, jiho vs jiho, etc. In Gyokuryuki, the winner of the match stays on until he / she loses a match. So it is possible to have a senpo beating everyone in the other team, and that senpo's 4 teammates can just sit back and watch. This tournament really tests the kenshi's ability to the extreme by daring the shiai-sha to keep winning. And that's the beauty of this competition. There were actually a guy and a girl (both senpo) who did just that to the extreme. They each beat more than 15 players one after the other in one streak. That's 1 person vs 3 teams! That's Fighting Spirit!
Anyway, I have been paying particular attention to how these Japanese high school kids execute their beautiful debana-kote cuts, espcially the zanshin afterwards. I also observed how they approach each other in tsubazerai.
I love their quick and sharpness of their de-kote, and how they expresses their zanshin so beautifully after the cuts. I think learning how to cut requires one set of skills. Knowing how to display zanshin convincingly yet elegantly requires another set of skills. Zanshin is an area I would really like to improve. Convincing zanshin = Displaying self-confidence.
Last Week Training
I have been able to imitate the debana-kote I saw in the DVD in various jigeiko during last week's training, especially the one against Doug on Tuesday night at Hornsby.
Thursday training at UNSW was a killer. After some 6 rounds of jigeiko, 10 rounds of uchikomi-geiko and 10 rounds of ai-kakari-geiko, we went straight into jigeiko. Goodness. The continuous uchikomi-geiko and kakari-geiko really took toll on my body. It really showed how much I need to improve my stamina and endurance greatly before my Japan trip. Yesterday, I did about 300 haya-suburi at home in the hope to ramp up the haya-suburi in one go to 500 by the time I leave for Japan.
On a different subject, I had my cardiologist appointment on Friday and did the echocardiogram. The echo test was an interesting process. It's so weird to look at my heart pumping on the screen.
After looking at the echo results, the cardiologist declared that my heart is clear of any problems. He said I have an 'Athlete's heart', just like what my friend who has extensive knowledge in the sports medicine area has suggested. The cardiologist said the low bpm is very normal for athletes, and would be more worrying if my bpm wasn't low after exercising so much for so many years. He used the term 'efficient' to describe the functioning of my heart, which was very nice to hear.
It's funny that when I told him I do Kendo, the cardiologist got really excited and even asked me where he can learn it. He said he has done Tai Chi, but want to find another martial arts that is more exciting. He asked me how I started Kendo, and I told him I got inspired by the cartoon Musashi No Ken when I was a kid. Anyway, it will be good if the cardiologist will actually start learning Kendo.
New Zealand Trip - On and Off
After my Saturday morning physio clinic observational training finished at 12noon, I drove to the Sydney Kendo Club to say hello to fellow kendoka. Yoshiki and Yoshiyuki were having this idea of going to New Zealand for the Rembuden Kendo Taikai to be held in October and asked me if I would like to go too. At first, I thought I wouldn't be able to go because, to me, October = Japan. I thought I would be in Japan and would not be able to go to New Zealand even if I want to. However, Yoshiki reminded me that I will still be in Oz in the first week of October, so after a few hours of consideration, I said I would go with them too.
Yoshiki and me even did a thorough research in the afternoon on that same Saturday, and gathered the flight details of the best-value tickets. I rang Yoshi on Sunday morning to inform him about the flight plans. It was looking really good and I was really excited to go to New Zealand for the first time.
Everything happened so quickly it's like a drama.
The drama kept unfolding in an interesting way. A few hours after I rang Yoshi on Sunday, Yoshi rang back and said he couldn't take leave off work on Friday and Monday around that Taikai weekend, so he couldn't go to New Zealand.
Yeah, it's a real pity that work prevented Yoshi from going to New Zealand. It would be so good if the plan went ahead.
The upside is, I can save at least $600 to contribute to my Japan trip. To travel to New Zealand, it will cost around $500 to get a return ticket.
I had a birthday party at Brooklyn, which is near the Hawkesbury River yesterday. The weather was beautiful, the food was plenty and delicious. Everything was great. The problem for me with good food is that I tend to lose my self-control and almost over-eats everytime. No exception for yesterday. So I ended up gaining a whooping one kilo. I was on the cross-trainer this morning for 50mins trying my best to lose some of those weight. Luckily the Andre Agassi vs Roger Federer US Open Finals kept me going hard all the way.
Btw, I found my right hand and forearm were red and slightly swollen in a couple of spots during the home-bound trip from Brooklyn. I thought they might just be mosquito bites. However, those spots are getting worse and worse, and now I am typing with a very swollen right thumb and right forearm. Those swollen spots are not itchy and have little white dots in the biten areas, which makes me think that I might have been biten by a spider. My colleague said that the insect poison can spread and can get worse if not attended properly. So I think I may go to the RNS Hospital after work today and have a check just to be on the safe side.