Thursday, January 13, 2011 - Session Sixteen (First Jigeiko!!!)

Oh man, am I ever pumped! It has been about four weeks (not going to bother fact checking with a calendar) since the last session. YMCA had been closed for a few weeks due to various holiday related factors, and I had to skip last week so my roommate (Eli) and I could celebrate Ukrainian Catholic Christmas at this tiny church downtown. I was nervous because, although I have been getting in more suburi at home, there has not been as much home practice as there should have been. I will need to work on that. Sadly, Maestas Sensei was not able to attend practice tonight. I need to text him and make sure everything is all right. But it was still an awesome session. I was not the only one tonight!

Several days ago, someone messaged me on the Kendo World forums to let me know that they would be coming around. I let them know where we practice, what time we meet, and all that. Just knowing that someone would be coming to class had me more excited than normal. Once I arrived I met him - and the friend that he brought along - and learned that he had practiced Kendo for about four years and he wanted to get back in. Which made him showing that much more awesome. It seems that we had also been in the same communications class at Front Range, so we discussed starting up a Kendo club there. I have wanted to start one but I did not think anyone else at the school would be interested. Setting that aside, Justin Senpai showed up! He was the first person to teach me anything about Kendo at all back when I first visited the Yamakage Dojo and got started. He took charge and led the practice for the evening, and he really put us through our paces.

We began with some men suburi, kote suburi, and haya suburi while Justin Senpai taught the beginner the basics. I grabbed the closet key from the front and brought out Bob, the dummy we practice on sometimes, and we ran through some men drills and some kote-men drills. After awhile Justin Senpai approached me and asked whether I had ever done jigeiko before. I told him that I had not and he then volunteered to the be the first. Amaury (the person who had messaged me) sat at the side and observed so that he could critique me afterward. Jigeiko was ... different. I went into it with the expectation that Justin Senpai would pound me into oblivion buuuuuut it did not really go down like that. Instead he gave me plenty of opportunities for men and kote, and I hesitated and hesitated and hesitated often. The moments when he attacked were pretty much amazing and left me feeling something close to inspired. It was rad. The consensus in the end was that I was not nearly aggressive enough. It brings me back to some thoughts I had a few months ago and it is something that I will endeavor to improve upon. Other than that, we drilled out kirikaeshi and more strikes until we all felt exhausted. Justin Senpai did not seem exhausted at all, and he commented about missing the feeling, so I certainly appreciate that he took the time to instruct us during the session.

I feel like I learned a lot tonight, but in my usual slow fashion. Kendo seems to be all about satori (not the best comparison) for me. Most instruction tends to not get absorbed as quickly as I would like to be and so my overall progress feels slow and stunted. But then I have little moments where one minute detail suddenly clicks and ends up cemented. Right now those little moments are few and far between. But if that is how I learn then that is how I must progress. I am more than happy as long as some progress is being made after all! But I think the best part to the night was the group. It felt really great to have more people around and (while I appreciate the one-on-one personal instruction I have been receiving) it really felt like a group, which makes sense because it was a group. Maybe I am not explaining it well but I think other Kendoka will understand what I mean.

I cannot move my legs. Love it.

1 comment:

  1. I remember my first jigeiko session. I think that I attacked maybe once, twice even. And I've noticed since then that a LOT of people do that in their first jigeiko. It's one thing to hit a static target. It's a completely different thing to try to put into real practice what you've been learning with a partner that is moving and trying to attack you at the same time! But it's SO great when you get that one nice Men, or Kote, or Do :-)