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The Wounded Warrior

Well, I went back for my first kendo practice post-operation. I was cleared to do kata but not to put on bogu quite yet. So, my sempai Chris picked me up a bit after six and we headed out for practice.

Had a good showing for the beginner practice. Beside Eitel-sensei, we had two nidans, an ikkyu and a couple of others who'd been there for a while along with five people not in either bogu or even the keikogi or hakama. Sensei had my buddy Chris lead the warm-ups and Chris emphasized to the new people especially that the warm ups weren't just for warming up the muscles. It was an opportunity to work on making each and every swing with the shinai as perfect as they could make it. I think he was really trying to get them to think that practice started the second they walked on the floor of the dojo, not when warm-ups were over. It's important to get in the proper mind-set as soon as possible and use the warm-ups to develop good techniques and habits. Sloppy warm-ups tend to lead to sloppy kendo.

For the most part, I stayed on the stage and worked on Kata's one through three. I have to have katas one through seven for the upcoming nidan test, but I figured I'd start slow and get these down pat first and add to my routine as I go. However, after a bit, they split the beginners up and Sempai Chris was working with the non-bogu people. I went over and worked out with them because Chris was doing footwork drills with them. I figured it would do me good to get some work in and stretch my legs a bit.

Advanced practice started and I returned to the stage (had a good crowd to night - nine advanced students and Sensei. I alternated between working on kata and ghosting along with the practice. I tried out some of the new techniques they were being shown tonight, but it was more like shadow boxing for me. I did big, slow and deliberate moves rather than what I wanted to do but I figured it was much safer for my knee this way.

The last fifteen minutes of class were devoted to kata and I got a chance to practice with my dojo mates. It was a bit strange - on stage I had the katas down cold, but as soon as I got with a partner, things didn't go so well. I think it's because I was trying to match my speed and intensity with my partner and allowed myself to concentrate on that instead of the moves I was supposed to be doing. It's not that my partners weren't good, it's just I was used to practicing at my speed and the change of pace threw me off a bit. I wound up over-thinking the situation instead of just doing what I knew I needed to do. Luckily by the time we had to line up, I had managed to get re-focused and did a nice run through the series.

After practice was over, Chris and I visited with one of the new members, Ken, who started coming to practice the week I had surgery. He's studied with a university team in Michigan so he has some different experiences and techniques than the local group has had. This makes discussing Kendo with him a lot of fun because he's got a lot of good information and a different way of looking at things which forces me to think about some of my philosophy about what is good kendo.

Chris and I dissected the practice on the way home and now more than ever I can't wait to get back to practice. However, until the Physical Therapist clears me, I'm going to be a good patient, no matter how badly I don't want to be.



( 5 howls — Howl with the Pack )
Jun. 8th, 2010 10:52 am (UTC)
Three nidans (me, Ken, Peter), two shodans (Mike, Megan) and some kyus.
Jun. 8th, 2010 10:54 am (UTC)
Re: Actually....
Oh, that's ugly. If it can't pull my name then I won't use that method. Yahoo OpenId fail.
Jun. 9th, 2010 12:31 am (UTC)
Re: Actually....
Actually not.

Two nidans - You and Ken for beginner practice. The others didn't show up until advanced. *grin*

But, yes, we had a good solid turn-out for advanced practice, Sempai.
Jun. 8th, 2010 11:33 am (UTC)
slow and steady wins the race...

Jun. 9th, 2010 12:32 am (UTC)
I'm trying . . I'm trying

But it was tough. I so wanted to be out there and I had to keep reminding myself "not yet".
( 5 howls — Howl with the Pack )

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