Saturday's kendo class was a great one, though it was pretty out of the ordinary.
For starters, aside from Ton-sensei there were only four of us in bogu. Martijn, Jeroen, Felix and Aaron were all out of armor due to minor injuries, so that left us with a rather small group of folks actively fighting. While my small group was doing more advanced practice, Martijn and Jeroen took charge of the large group of newbies. There were three folks who'd never been with us before, to check it out. And there's one or two guys who've been tagging along for a few weeks.
So, what did we do? No footwork practice! After warmup we went straight into kirikaeshi, followed by kihon and waza practice. Most notably: men uchi, fast men uchi, fast kote, fast kote-men, harai men, harai kote, harai kote-men and maki waza. Each of these we did for 4x3 repetitions. The last fifteen to twenty minutes of class were spent on jigeiko, where I definitely felt that I was too tense in my arms. How? Because I couldn't stand through more than two geiko and had to be dragged through the third.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm very grateful for guys as Nick, Charel and Hudaifa who egg me on in a fight. When I pussy out, they tell me to keep going. "Attack just once more! Keep going! I'll let you go once you've scored a point!" Things like that ( ^_^)
The most important thing I'm taking away from this class is something I also realized after taking part in the NK: kendo is a dialogue. I should not just rush in and try to whack at targets. Wait it out. "Talk" to my opponent, so we can decide who gets to score which point. Ton-sensei specifically berated me for rushing in. And Charel-sempai suggested that I simply work towards the ikkyu grading: "It doesn't matter who attacks more, or even who wins! As long as you make good strikes and show good technique, then you'll make progress.".
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As I mentioned earlier today, I've designed a bunch of clothes for the Renshinjuku Kendo dojo. I originally started work on these designs sometime in january and gave it a fresh start with renewed vigour after designing the Renshinjuku Almere logo. My original goal was to have some RSJ-branded sports gear for my running practice, but after finishing the first designs I decided to set up a shop for all RSJ members. I've been dealing with Spreadshirt for a few years now and I've always been very happy with their work, so logically the shop's run by them.
For each design, there are four versions: one for Amstelveen, one for Almere, split into ladies' and gentlemen's fit. The full range of clothes consists of...
Shown above are the sports shirt (white) and the normal t-shirt (grey).
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This morning I received an email from Heeren-sensei, the founder of our kendo dojo. A few weeks back I'd sent him the vector files I'd made for the Amstelveen and Almere dojo logos. After discussing the matter for weeks and months I designed the Almere logo, based on the Amstelveen original and after a few rounds with Heeren-sensei, Ton-sensei nd Peter and Zicarlo sempai we'd come to a design to everybody's liking.
Now... That email contained a sample of badges that Heeren-sensei is having sourced from Pakistan, based on the vector files I put together. I'd lie if I said I wasn't at least a little proud (^_^;) IMNSHO, the badges look awesome! If I can I'll order at least three badges: one for my gi, one for my next gi and one for a sweater.
Oddly, I seem to have forgotten to post photos of the clothing I've designed. I'll do that RSN. I've had some great compliments from students and teachers alike :) Bob and Nick were so darn happy last saturday, strutting their stuff in the dressing room. I have to admit, those vests really are soooo soft <3
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Over the past few days my mood had been getting increasingly bad. I was on edge, tired and just not relaxing. I think that a lot of that can be attributed to my recent interest in CC:TA. In my earlier blog post I wrote the game was addictive and it is: it'd become too easy to just waste a whole evening staring at that screen. "Let's raid a camp or two. Okay, I'm through my CP, so let's do base maintenance. Okay, now what? 45 minutes before I can anything else. Okay, let's read the forum and do some diplomacy!" And so on. All the reasons why I never got into WoW.
Then, last night I was this -> <- close to skipping kendo practice again, because of my foul mood. And as I sat there, watching the CC:TA screen, already five minutes late for leaving, I decided to quit the game. I'll set up my base so my alliance mates can raid it and then I'm out. Fsck that, I've got plenty of better things to do.It's a fun game, but nothing more than that.
Marli helped me greatly! "Do I need to push you to go?" And so she did. She quickly helped me pack all my gear and sent me on my way to Amstelveen. Gotta love that girl! ( ^_^)
Luckily I was only a few minutes late and I was just in time to join in with the warming up. After that followed kihon, followed by geiko and more geiko. The group was smaller than usual, but there were many high-level kendoka, including three from the dutch national team! I bowed out from the second round of geiko (the last twenty minutes of class) as I was feeling exhausted and was afraid I wouldn't make it back home.
Pointers I received from several of my sempai:
Thanks to Chung-sempai I now also know what a mouse feels like, when toyed with by a cat. During geiko, with every strike of mine, she darted aside and retaliated with two quick strikes and a giggle. I couldn't help but smile, while getting my ass handed to me.
Also, I don't think we've ever introduced ourselves so I don't know his name. One of the young guys who started in bogu only three weeks ago. He clocked me on my elbow with his tsuba. Twice. Hard. Man that hurt! ( ^_^) Arm's fine today, no worries.
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My performance in Saturday's class was a disgrace. I can tell that I've been slacking off the past two weeks. I haven't run on a daily basis and I've skipped kendo for a week as well. All of that showed: not half an hour in class did I bow out and join the beginners' group. I couldn't push myself onward. Or is it "didn't" instead of "couldn't"? It could very well be ( =_=)
Right. Aside from my shitty performance, the biggest thing to note is that my timing on ki-ken-tai-ichi is off. Waaay off. My foot work is way ahead of my cutting. Ton-sensei specifically told me to practice this at home very frequently.
On the good side of things: Bob and Nick were so damn happy with their Renshinjuku clothes! You may recall that I started designing some clothes in January. Those garments have gone through a number of itterations and now they look great! A few people have ordered sets of shirts and sweaters from the Spreadshirt store and so far everyone's happy :)
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Last time I went to the Amstelveen dojo, I had an anxiety attack (only a slight one) after being thoroughly exhausted by the training. At the time it wasn't safe for me to drive myself home, so I was lucky to have Martijn with me. That one event has thrown up a barrier for me to go to Amstelveen alone.
Last week I had an excuse not to attend training in the form of my Standby Duty for $CLIENT. This week I was happy to have Peter-sempai come along, so he could be my proverbial savior if things went wrong again. But unfortunately Peter had to call off because of work, so now I am left to face my anxieties.
I do not want my anxieties to stop me from practicing kendo in Amstelveen. But I would lie if I said I wasn't a bit nervous about going tonight. I'm alone, with no alternative driver to take me home.
as I said: I don't want my anxiety to interfere with my training! I'm going tonight, come what may! I'll just have to be smart about it! If I feel that I've overexerted myself, I will stop for the night. And as always I am prepared for problems! I have enou fluids with me, I have dextrose and a snack with me, I always carry a bag for hyperventilation. I'm just as prepared as I could ever be! Nothing to stop me!
Thus ends the pep talk. :)
I went. It went fine. I was a bit tired at the end, but some dextrose helped out. I trained with the beginners' group and served as motodachi for harai-kote practice. Gave me a good chance to practice my posture and kamae. Roelof-sensei remarked that I was way too tense. He also showed me the proper technique for receiving blows in kirikaeshi.
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All content, with exception of "borrowed" blogpost images, or unless otherwise indicated, is copyright of Thomas Sluyter. The character Kilala the cat-demon is copyright of Rumiko Takahashi and used here without permission.