Back in bogu, a great class!

2012-09-12 08:16:00

Last night was my return to the Amstelveen dojo, after missing this season's first class due to standby duties. It really was an awesome class!

After putting myself back into the beginners' group in June, I'd been putting off getting back into bogu. Kendo class in Amstelveen is hard work and after my experiences from last season I was fearing another collapse. So instead I just dawdled in the beginners' section. I actually DID want to get back to real fighting though! So I weaseled around my anxieties!! Knowing beforehand that he would approve, I asked Roelof-sensei if he'd allow me back into bogu. It was also a great help that Mischa-sempai indicated that he thought I was being scared of bogu and that I should get back in :) So I did.

At the beginning of the season, Heeren-sensei informed all Renshinjuku kendoka that he would be demanding a higher level of performance from everyone. This would include an emphasis on proper etiquette, on perseverance and on attendance. It would also involve a more traditional training method which, let me tell you, was very helpful to me last night!

In the previous season, we would line up all kendoka against eachother, making a big line of duos. After each practice we'd all move up one slot, thus facing another partner. What this does is ensure diversity, but it's also pretty harsh: there are zero breathers and you also often pit beginner-against-beginner. The more traditional approach that we used yesterday is the motodachi system: seven of our higher dan-graded members and teachers line up and everyone is divided into small groups being pitted against them. This ensures that everyone only fights high level teachers, that people get the chance for a short breather and that you get plenty of mitori geiko (learning by watching). Without this system I would've dropped 'dead' halfway through class, instead of nearly making it to the end :) Hence I made sure to let Heeren-sensei know that I really enjoyed this schedule.

Practice, and some of the pointers I received, were:

Ten minutes before the end of class, after my last round of kihon with Bert-sempai, I caved. I wasn't breathing properly anymore and knew that if I pushed on I'd collapse. I asked permission from Heeren-sensei to bow out, which he gave. While the rest of class finished their kirikaeshi, I did breathing exercises to both regain my breath and to prevent a panic attack. Everything turned out well and I was feeling good again after dressing.

What a great class! I'm looking forward to Saturday and next Tuesday! tags: , ,

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