Thursday, May 19, 2011 - Session Twenty-Nine

Another good evening. Amaury Senpai started a new job recently and was exhausted or something like that so he did not attend practice tonight. He also forgot to let me know (we carpool) so I did not leave until around 18:50 or thereabouts. But I pretty much got to the YMCA on time. I caught Sensei sitting on the (eeew suede) gym couch and then we got started. Once again I was the only student in class so we focused on my posture when in kamae and Maestas Sensei introduced me to seigan-no-kamae for the first time. Quite a bit more difficult than I expected! Sensei also ran me through my swings a few times so we could strengthen the basics a bit more. I made a little progress there but pushing and pulling the shinai through my swing is still a bit lost on my body, and I am still mostly raising it up and then simply slashing down. During the footwork portion I tried turning out my feet a little bit to see whether or not it would help with my suri-ashi but that (like so much else) was a bit more difficult than I had expected. I have mentioned before that my knees turn inward and I guess that is due to underdeveloped muscles in my inner thighs. Turning my feet outward aligns my knees forward and prevents my feet from drifting inward whenever I step or slide forward and backward. But it also changes the muscle groups being used. So I think I just need to knuckle down and call up that physical therapist and get started on developing those muscles. I also really need to focus on what Sensei says about starting out slow and big with my swings. I think I instinctively feel like I have more control when I swing quickly, but that is just a personal illusion. I lose control when I attempt a slow and controlled swing because I do not have the muscle strength (strength is not quite the word I am wanting to use) tension to keep it controlled. Which means that even my fast swings are still uncontrolled.

Afterward we spent the last thirty minutes or so sitting on the floor and talking about Kendo in general. Sensei gave me some real good pointers on zanshin and then he basically spoke about Iaido for awhile and different mentalities in Kendo and told stories and things like that. It was real great and not just because I have had this headache all day long and was maybe not as up to swinging and screaming as I normally would have been. I like any opportunity to be social with the people from the Yamakage Dojo and not just because those people make up about on third of my social time in this area. It is also because I like Kendo people! Good times, good times.


  1. We focus a lot on full, big swings in practice, and then focus it down to smaller and smaller strikes. You're right, if you don't have the proper form and technique and strength from the big swings, your small swings will suffer greatly. Good that you are learning these lessons so early on!

  2. Thanks! We will see what all my little lessons have earned me when I visit the Chicago Kendo Dojo in a few days. I feel like I am about to take a dip in the Big Kid's Pool! All I am bringing with me are: Big Swings, Big Kiai, Big Spirit, and Good Manners.

  3. Oh yeah. And Green Hair. I am also bringing Green Hair with me. o.O