忍耐 + 掌握人生
Kendo with the King's
Saturday, 21 July @ Willoughby & East Roseville
I had a full-on continuous six hours of kendo training. Yes, continuous - that means, no break. That was crazy. And I ended up in an excruciating, enduring intense muscle soreness in my quadriceps the next 3 days.
This was how it happened...
Every year in August, there is a state team competition called the Founders Cup. This year, my club has been very enthusiastic about competing in this event, and there were more members wanting to compete in the team event than the available 5 team spots. So, for the first time in memory, a Selection Program has been put in place in the club to evaluate and select members to represent the club to compete. It is marvelous to see the enthusiasm, and having a training program to train together will really build up the team spirit.
I put my name down to the Selection Program to trial for the team. The Selection Program, led by Itakura Sensei, runs for 3 weeks. I attended my first Selection training last Saturday.
9am - 10am
This first Saturday session was non-committed - that means attendance to this training would not count towards the final scoring system. So there were only four people turned up - Dave Banbury, Luke and me. Itakura Sensei led the training.
We ran around the two big sporting fields adjacent to the dojo for 20 minutes. After catching our breaths, we did 5 minutes of steps, 2 sets of 30 full squats. Then we picked up our shinai, and did 15 minutes of suburi until it was 10am.
10am - 12noon
Payne Sensei could not make it to training today. So Itakura Sensei led the training again. There, we did a lot of uchikomi practice, with the final 45 mins on jigeiko. The intensity was high throughout the training session, so it was very enjoyable, though I was quite tired by the end of that session.
12noon - 1:15pm
I practiced kata 1-7 and kodachi 1-3 with Michael Henstock for our 3 Dan grading preparation, while Sano Sensei watched on to give us invaluable feedbacks.
1:30pm - 3pm
Itakura Sensei led the eight people who turned up to the 1.5 hrs special squad training in East Roseville. Here is a rough idea of what we did:
- 6 full sets of kirikaeshi (along the full length of the hall)
- 2 sets of continuous men-taitari-men (along the full length of the hall)
- 2 sets of renzoku-men (along the full length of the hall)
- 2 sets of renzoku-kote (along the full length of the hall)
- Twice 2 sets of 5x kihon-men (with the emphasis on realistic situation)
- Twice 2 sets of 5x kihon-kote
- Twice 2 sets of 5x kihon-do
- Twice 2 sets of 5x kote-men
- Twice tsubazarei waza
- Kaeshi waza
- Men-taisuru waza
- Kote-taisuru waza
- many many sets of uchikomi geiko
During the afternoon training session, Daisuke Taira showed me a really cool and effective tsubazarei waza that you often see in fast Japanese high school kendo competition videos, where they come cutting your men from one side, and at tsubazarei, they magically step behind you with their lightning footwork, unstabling you with their hip turn and hand-punching movement, and when you try to balance yourself by extending your arms, they execute their hiki-men or hiki-do on you. All done so quickly and fast, like a magician.
It is so hard to write out in words on how to execute this totally slick moves without pictures or seeing it for yourself. But if you have seen or experience what I have described, I am sure you know what I am talking about. Yes, that funky move. Anyway, Daisuke has showed me and taught me the moves. It is quite difficult to get everything done well, coordinated and quickly. Now, I will just have to practice doing it.
Anyway, that 6 hours resulted in 3 days long of intense muscle soreness in my quadriceps. I couldn't walk downstairs without agony, going from standing to sitting was pure excruciating. My quads were utterly exhausted. Through recommendation, I went to the pharmacy on Monday to get some aspirin for pain relief. The soreness finally dulled on Tuesday and I was completely ready again for the squad training onslaught on Wednesday night.
Wednesday, 25 July @ Willoughby
There were 8 people turned up to the 6:30pm - 7:30pm fitness training. Afterwards, I practiced the 10 kata with Toshio for the next 30 minutes. From 8pm - 9pm, Itakura Sensei led the uchikomi practice.
Good news, I didn't have any muscle soreness after that training. It was great to go through the storm and now enjoyed the serenity.
Friday, 27 July @ The King's School
That morning, I taught a group of nine Year 8 boarding school students and their mentor/teacher for the first time. The class was scheduled at 7:15am. So I got out of bed at 5:40am, eager to meet my new kendo buddies for the first time.
The preparation leading up to the class was smooth. I put a shinai order to Japan on Monday afternoon, and 3 days later on the Thursday afternoon the box of shinai arrived - perfectly in time for the boys to take their first lesson.
So in the first lesson, I taught the boys the basics of how to hold the shinai, chudan-no-kamae, kihon-men, tachi-rei and sonkyo. As my students were a group of 13-14 y.o. (besides their mentoring teacher), I have to design how to teach in a way that will get their maximum interest. And I figured, the less I speak, and more by letting them doing the movements, the more enjoyable it would be for them.
Also, I let them pair-up, and correct each other, which can improve their understanding of what is correct by observing their beginner model executing the movement. To be able to tell the friends what is incorrect will result in greater chance of themselves doing the technique correctly. And I think it is important to develop this skills when they do self-practice at their own time.
Not that the boys had this problem (they were quite smart and observant ), but I was sitting here thinking about how to teach beginners to avoid the "flaring left elbow" and "too much right arm" problem during a men strike. I have a good solution to that. If a beginner is having the "flaring left elbow" problem, ask them to do suburi with their left hand only. After a few left-hand only katate-men suburi, they should be able to realise the correct left arm/elbow position in a men strike.
Saturday, 28 July @ Willoughby & East Roseville
The training structure was similar to the previous Saturday, with a full-on program from 9am to 3pm. However, this time, I had been able to recharge my energy with Kassandra's "Sai-Mai-Lo" - a super yummy refreshing chinese dessert, with sago, melon, lychee in it. Ah, so yummy!