A stern lecture: we need to up our game!

2012-01-29 10:51:00

Yesterday's kendo practice was both great and a letdown at the same time. 

It was absolutely awesome to have so many kendoka turn up! No less than twenty people were present, divided 10:10 between people with and without bogu. And the practice that we did was wonderful, with many techniques I'd never done before! But I was also confronted heavily with a lacking in my stamina. 

During class I gave up no less than three times ( =_=;)

With the first, my arms just couldn't keep up with the pace. During the second I felt exhausted. During the third I felt like a tube of toothpaste, squeezed completely empty. It's no excuse and it's not a consolation either, but I wasn't the only one. Which led to a rather stern (and deservedly so!) lecture at the end of class. Sensei and fukushou were rather displeased with the lack of endurance shown during class. Especially during something as early and basic as warmup!

It's rather shameful that so many of us have these issues. Would you imagine how awful it'd make the Renshinjuku Almere dojo look during seminars or national events, if our students show fatigue so quickly?! It's come to the point that we're going to use bootcamp style warming up: if anyone drops out during an exercise, the whole group will need to redo the whole exercise. Kris-fukushou repeatedly refered to his speech from last week: our whole team needs to work towards a higher level! We shouldn't be happy puttering about at our current entry-level kendo!

Now. i'm not going to let this put a damper on my mood or my perseverance. On the contrary! Martijn and I started running practice and Sander and I have decided that we need to push eachother. We need to friggin' keep going! FIGHT! For such a philosophical martial art, kendo really is damn demanding on your physique.

With that aside... Waza practice had us doing all manner of stuff that's new and advanced to me! Hiki-men, hiki-men-kote, hiki-men-kote-do, all of which taught me that my initial steps/stomps backwards are too large. After my first strike I'm already out of range, so I can't make any follow-ups. The followed strings of kote, kote-men, kote-men-do and hiki-men back and forth across the gym. Jigeiko was a big letdown for me. I took on Nick, followed by Martijn and that was that. I couldn't go on anymore.

At the end of class there was one small extra that made me feel better though! Ton-sensei asked me how I thought I was doing, to which I replied that I'm not going to be proud of myself as my stamina is horrible and because I'm still making the same mistakes I was in my first month of kendo a year ago. Sensei indicated that he was actually quite pleased with my progress in bogu. For someone on his third week in armor I was apparently adjusting quite well. Nice to hear :)

Speaking of working towards a new level: I've volunteered to teach Aaron-sempai how to do shinai maintenance. At roughly eleven years he may be my junior by a factor two, but at kendo he is my senior. He's been doing it longer than I have and I can honestly say that I admire him for the potential he shows! He's got good fighting spirit, right now it's just his age that gets in his way. By teaching him the basics of maintenance I hope to help him along just a little bit. 

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