Thursday, May 12, 2011 - Session Twenty-Eight

What a good night. Amaury and I went out to the YMCA as usual for the regular practice session. We got into our uniforms and then hung around on the gym couch (whose faux suede material seems unfortunately chosen for a place where sweat is super common) and waited for the cardio class before us to end. Sensei came walking up the hallway with two people already in tow! I had never met them before but I recognized them. Maestas Sensei has talked about Karen from time to time and I guess he finally got her to come back down and get some practice in! She was definitely as tall as he described. Of course, no one ever mentioned the second person. I just assumed (correctly) that she was Karen's child. Anyway, the practice started out light and we began with some men, kote, and do suburi for our warm up routine. We then moved on to the kihon. I still need so much practice on the kihon. I know we wig out on it whenever Amaury and I manage to get together to practice on our own - and I have not given it much attention on the solo front either - so I am going to work that into my new daily regimine.

Once we were done with the kihon - which we practiced for an hour or so - we got into our bogu and ran through some kirikaeshi and some more kihon. Keiko came afterward! It was a round robin match deal that began with Amaury and I paired up as usual. I was owned. Karen then cycled in and then I cycled to face her once she and Amaury were finished. I was owned again. Just when I thought the owning was done, Sensei cycled in to face me. So totally owned again. I got to sit out for a little while and I watched Amaury and Sensei go at it before Karen went in and faced off with Sensei. I wound up in keiko with Karen again and - again - was totally owned. Both she and Sensei were really able to push me around. I was super amazed at how much physical strength Karen had and with how fast she was in the match. I would be able to totally observe all her moves until the final moment when she suddenly disappeared and I felt that familiar crack as a shinai came down on my head. Pretty incredible and I felt totally invigorated in spirit even though my body was beginning to reach its limit. Amaury and I paired off again and I actually got in a few hits that elicited "good" comments from Sensei! Which always, always, always make my night. I also got one or two from Karen as well though the commentary from her which still sticks in my mind is a moment in which she took me aside let me know that my zanshin needs work and that I would have had a few men strikes had I been more focused.

Practice like this really make me want to get back on that horse and hit up the YMCA every day again! And so I am going to do just that! But this time I am going to change my approach a little bit. Rather than running through the same routine every day, I am going to devote each week to a different kata and a different strike, while still including the usual and necessary drills for footwork and such. My footwork has been not-so-good lately, and I think some bad habits have snuck back in because my balance is total crap again. Anyway, now it is time to kick back with an orange soda and play some video games while cuddling with the dogs. I hope things are going well for everyone out there!

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