A sobering review

2013-05-18 21:45:00

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"I don't think you understand what this thing is for." he said, gesturing with his shinai.

It didn't hurt as much as Zicarlo-sempai's stab to the stomach, but it stung a bit anyway. Only a little though and I'm putting aside the emotional aspect, to analyze the technical message behind it. Instead of sulking, it makes me want to train three or four times each week! Were I not a family man, I'd sign up with Museido right away for more practice.

But let's backpaddle a bit to the beginning. 

Today's class in Amstelveen was great, with a big turnup and an all-star cast. Our usual crew was expanded with a few high placed teachers and students from Museido and Fumetsu. A chance for us all to learn something new!

Class followed the usual structure: kata, warming up, kihon, jigeiko. To prepare for my upcoming ikkyu exam I practiced kata with Zicarlo and Hans, learning the fifth kata along the way. I'm actually pretty happy with how that went, though there wasn't much tension between us. That's something to work on. 

Kihon practice went alright, though I let myself coast through it too much. I often let my body run on autopilot instead of paying attention and being fully aware of what's going on. That's not right. And yes, my chisai techniques are still awful. Given my lack of stamina I'm happy to say I did not take the short break that was offered between kihon and jigeiko, but instead jumped into a little shinsa practice with Zicarlo. "Every week a little stronger" as I keep telling myself in mokuso.

Seeing how the chance rarely occurs, I lined up with Mark Herbold-sensei for my second jigeiko. I first met him a few weeks ago at the CT where he impressed me with his teaching style and personality. After Tsuyuguchi-sensei's admonishment ("You should hit!") I'd picked up my pacing considerably, so I tried my best with Mark. In my mind I was not backing down and I was giving it multiple shots in a row. Compared to a few weeks ago I thought I was doing better. Maybe I was, meaning that I was pretty darn bad a few weeks ago ;)

After class I went to pay my respects and to get some feedback from Mark. You already know how he opened: "I don't think you understand what this thing is for." he said, gesturing with his shinai. Direct. No sugar coating. But definitely not the only thing he said, because he took quite some time to explain. 

That was the big take-away from today: be ready to jump and kill from the get-go, don't start building your energy after you've already engaged your opponent.

It was a sobering experience, which is something I need from time to time to remind me that I really am a rank beginner. But I'm going to use it to motivate myself. And yes, I'm still going to take the exam next week, simply to get an appraisal of my current level. It'll be a learning experience, however it turns out.

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