March 30th, 2010

Kendo

Nothing like a little pain

. . . to help work out a not-so-great day at work.

I may have groused recently about the job being a little slow? Remind me never to do that again. I thought I only had about three paragraphs to update in the User's Manual for my project (this release is a lot of back-end stuff that the user's won't notice except for the fact stuff runs a LOT faster.)

However . . .

I found out late Friday that "Oh, we also made changes to X and oh, you've been testing so you might not have seen these changes either."

I now have six SECTIONS to rewrite in the User's Manual. By COB tomorrow, since we release Wed Evening.

And, I just got the release notes from the developers today.

I can't blame them completely, I've been lazy since it looked like it wasn't going to really affect me. Still, a bit of a heads up might have been nice. I put in 10 hours today on that document and I'll probably put in another 10 tomorrow and maybe a couple of hours of rewrites on Wed before we shove it out the door.

*Yikes*

So, given all this, I definitely appreciated Kendo tonight.

Of course, first thing out of the gate, I hurt myself again. There's something not quite right with my left knee/calf and when I do a step back maneuver, it feels like someone just jabbed a big knitting needle into the upper calf. I even spent an extra twenty minutes stretching tonight and still dinged myself.

But, I went ahead and hopped into the practice. We did a lot of basic techniques with the beginner class. Even though my attendance has been spotty since I started back, I can feel my muscle memory coming back. The sensei was impressing on the beginners about their "kiai", how it showed their spirit and their determination. So, when it was my next turn to go, I fell back into Sergeant-mode, took a deep breath and held my one kiai all the way through the four passes with my partner. Thought I was going to pass out, but all that calling cadence in the Army and choir/band training I had in HS came back so I was good and loud. I did notice the beginner's volume picked up a bit after that. *grin*

We took a short break before the start of advanced practice because it's starting to get seriously warm in the community center where we practice. Even with the fans on and windows open, it didn't take much to bring up a sweat. I got in to full armor and made it through the first few sets of our practice, but after a bit, I had to lose the men (helmet) because it was just too hot for me. Conditioning has got to become more of a priority for me.

Sensei has been pushing oji waza here lately. He had us work on basic strikes, but after two or three passes, the receiver was allowed to try and react to the attack, while the attacker was supposed to ignore their attempt at a counter and still focus on delivering a perfect strike. What he was having us work on was identifying our opponent's timing. Most people settle into a rhythm and it's up to us to identify their pattern(s) and use it against them. This is definitely well over shodan-level kendo, but it's good because it's forcing me to think beyond my current level and anticipate my promotion test later this year.

Eitel-Sensei is pretty confident I'm going to be ready to test either in August at our clubs tournament or at one in October. I'm not convinced yet about August, but if I can get myself back into shape, I'll certainly give it a try if he thinks I'm ready and the other nidans in the club help get my katas down pat.

My friend Chris, who's my sempai, has a great blog about tonight's practice. I had to withdraw toward the last 30 minutes of practice due to my calf, but he was trying to show them a rokudan (6th dan) level technique. It's very similar to something we've practiced, but it's not just "deflect your opponent's attack and strike", it's "control your opponent's attack and strike". It combines controlling the opponent's weapon, space, and spirit all at once. The hachidan (8th dan) take this concept even further and have what is considered a "bubble" around them and they stop their opponent's attack at a distance, never giving them the opportunity to strike.

Sensei had the class start practicing the technique, but he got called way when someone came in an reported his car had been hit in the parking lot outside. Not sure who was involved, but there's a youth group that meets in the building next door to the community center and I suspect either a young driver, or someone picking someone up misjudged the parking space next to his. He's got a pretty dented door in his car now. But, as he said, no one got hurt and they did come and let him know instead of disappearing into the night.

Came home, took my extra strength stuff (still miss those 800mg Motrin the Army used to issue for everything. "Got a hangnail? Take two Motrin and return to duty. Got a broken arm? Take two Motrin and go back to duty." According to the PA's in the Army, Motrin cures all issues. (Except for some of those things you bring back from downtown. Then it's two Motrin and a shot of penicillin. *grin*)

All right, I'm babbling now. Time to get to bed so I can be Tech Writer Man in the morning.