9 Months in Review

May 12, 2010

Having never been good at maintaining regular entries into a blog of any type, it comes as no surprise to me that it’s been about 9 months since I last posted anything. Needless to say my long promised summary of what I learned at the SDK 2009 seminar is long overdue but sadly, will not be posted at this time. If you’re really curious then feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to scrounge up my brief notes.

Overall in this last year I’ve noticed some areas where I’ve improved, others where I’ve actually regressed, and others where I’ve remained the same. I’ve experienced some slight improvement in my taikai performance and no longer get nervous just before a match. This might be because I’m now approaching it thinking, “alright, just do my best and I’ll see how far I go.” Unfortunately this has also reinforced a bad habit of mine: hesitating too much. More often than not, I end up waiting just a little too long trying to find an opening and end up missing it entirely. This usually results in either a point scored on me or my Sensei telling me I hesitate too much and that I could do better. Back in the dojo, my kamae has gotten somewhat better although I still need to improve my tenouchi and leg power. The latter however has not been given as much attention as I would like due to some odd inflammation just under the ball of my left big toe. The one area where I wish I could have made some progress but in fact have done the opposite is iaido. I haven’t nearly been able to practice as often as I need and/or would like and as video from a recent demo for my dojo’s tournament shows (one that I was asked the night before to participate in), there’s far too much that needs correcting to go into here.

With the possibility of testing for sandan this November, I definitely need to practice harder and focus on key areas. Certain key points I need to definitely focus on are my timing, kamae, and seme. I plan on speaking with my Sensei in more detail about how to prepare for the shinsa and any advice my Sempai can give but in the mean time, more suburi and more keiko.


2009 SDK Seminar Reflections: Long Overdue

August 2, 2009

Back in May I attended the 2009 Sei Do Kai Iaido and Jodo seminar and promised to share my thoughts and things I learned over those three days. I now find myself in August and still have failed to do so. In short I will say that it was definitely a worth while experience and I wish I could have trained for longer. I learned so much from the sensei’s over those three days, so much that I couldn’t possibly hope to contain it all in my head so I will share the more important of notes soon when I have more time to write a more detailed post.

2009 SDK Iaido/Jodo Seminar

May 13, 2009

Tomorrow I depart for Guelph to attend the annual SDK Iaido/Jodo seminar. I’ll try to take as many pictures as I can (budo and non-budo related) and hopefully my poor brain will retain most of what is said. I’ll be bringing a little journal so I can record my thoughts from each day since I won’t have access to a computer. Hopefully I won’t be too sore when I get back but then again, I’ve been threatened with being dragged to have dinner with the visiting sensei since my friend, who talked me into going, translates for them each year she goes. Now let’s just hope the border patrol won’t give us too much grief for our iaito!

East Coast Iaido Seminar and Shinsa 2009

March 18, 2009

Originally written on February 2, 2009.

So this pas Sunday was the East Coast Iaido Seminar and Shinsa and for those of you who don’t know, I started practicing iaido last summer and this was my first time testing.  Iaido is a Japanese sword martial art that focuses on drawing the sword from the scabbard, cutting down a certain number of opponents, and returning the sword to the scabbard.  Currently, I am just practicing the Seitei Gata, a set of 12 forms that were made by the All Japan Kendo Federation to help propagate iaido and is a standard by which people can be tested for rank.  They were also created from several different traditional sword schools and as a result, each form is very subtly different in terms of their reasoning behind certain movements.  But I digress.

The day began at 5 AM and I was on the road at 6, getting to the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute around 8.  After getting changed and settled in the gym, the seminar began by dividing everyone based on their current rank.  For me, since I didn’t have any, I was all the way at the far end.  Due to space constraints and the large number of people, two groups took turns practicing the forms and this went up to lunch and continued after we ate until mid-afternoon.  By then we began to get set up for the shinsa and I got my number (based on age and current rank if held).

Thankfully I had a low number so I was able to go in the second round.  I finished my forms without any serious mistakes but was still very nervous.  I found out a little later that I was selected to go a second time to try for 1st kyu.  I was able to maintain my composure but while doing ganmenatte, I ended up sliding my saya down my hakama!  I didn’t panic but I’m sure my heart skipped a beat and my eyes had to have noticeably gotten wider.  In any event, I finished the cuts but when it came down to doing noto, I had to take a little extra time to pull the saya out far enough to pop it out of my hakama.  From there everything went without a hitch but when I finished and stepped out of the gym I was really frustrated with myself.  I took a small comfort in hearing someone else did the same thing but theirs got stuck.

The rest of the evening was a bit of a blur as I watched the remaining people take their test and after waiting anxiously after packing up, the results were posted on the wall.  I found my name and saw that I was given the rank of 2nd kyu.  I was relieved that I made it at least that far and that my mistake hadn’t cost me too dearly but I would still like to know if I hadn’t made that mistake would I have gotten 1st kyu?  I’ll try to figure that out later but I’m just happy I didn’t completely fail.  Time to get back to training the basics.