Nothing interesting is happening. Pt2

Well, last night, I went to keiko in Ohnohara-sho (onohara elemnetary school)
It was a beautiful cool evening. Seriously, like being back home, A soft warmish breeze and no humidity, the whole day and been cold and wet with a light rain. Very nostalgic!

So, anyway, keiko!
30 mins warm up - i actually felt more pain from the last warm up than the last keiko, Its soo good to stretch everything out, and these guys only practice once a week (i think) so they really have a long warm up. We did lots of suburi too, which is great too!

After that we had 30 mins of Kihon keiko. Lovely says I. last time i was there, I was dead in about 5 mins. I couldnt finish the jigeiko portion i was just dead. But yesterday, we had Irish weather, so I was able to open the tanks and really push myself.

DISCLAIMER : This was my night. And I was totally in the zone from the start. Ive had enough sessions over here where i have been worse than I ever was ever in ireland, so im allowed to brag about my one good session.

We did
3 x kirikaeshi
3 x 5 men uchi, "dai furikaburi" and chiisai. From isokuitto
2 x 5 debanna kote starting from toma, stepping in and cutting. I did really well at this, as i said ive been practicing it in Keiko.
2 x nuki do. Using a very small up swing and pushing the left hand up the tsuka. I was able to get a good few of these, which surprised me. My do before i left Ireland completely fell apart, and I have barely practiced it here except the odd "osae do/gyaku do" I wasnt stepping forward to the right but I was using the tips Geoff Salmon posted on Cut straight out in front with your arms extended. Easy.
1 x Kaeshi do. again, havent dont this in ages. But I was able to stay still, catch the incoming men cut and make the do cut quickly, and then move to the right.
2 x tsuki. I got a bit carried away at this stage! My tsuki was maybe a bit to much! they were all on target though! and I have a nice collection of new bruises and scrapes to go with it!
2 x tskui - suriage/kaeshi/harai men This is something Toru thought me back in the day!! I always try to do it to lee but with no joy! It worked ok tonight, when the tsuki comes in, make a sharp harai and cut men. I kept going backwards though, which isnt good. Sometimes i went back before making the men cut.

the sensei then did another exercise which i found to be really really interesting. On any other night, I would have made a mess of it, but like I said, I was in the zone.
The motodachi attacks with tsuki. The kakarite stays in chundan and simply uses the shape of the shinai to deflect the tsuki. Then cut men when the opening is there.

I got this straight away. While some people were trying to move forwards and cut men as the tsuki came in, I realised that the idea is to stay on the spot. Dont move forwards or push your hands forwards, just keep centre, maybe with a little extra pressure to make sure the opponents shinai gets deflected. As they get closer your shinai is safely deflecting theirs, so you can just lift up and cut men, from here, move forwards and go through, or make static zanshin. (again, something Geoff Salmon said to us at a seminar came back to me. When he makes suriage men, he just "cuts men" letting teh shinai keep the center, and deflecting the opponents shinai without trying to make an arc, or sweeping motion.) This bit of advice really made this technique work for me. I got the chance to practice it against the sensei, who was very happy "Sou Sou Sou, John san, Ie desu! jyouzu!"

Again, forgive me, but it was my night.

After that we did jigeiko, I did 4 one with two guys who are roughly the same level as me. They were fairly even jigeiko with some good cuts coming my way. Japanese kendoka have the belief that i dont have to just attack. this i believe comes from years of kakarigeiko. Even kendoka who are twice my age are able to whip me around in this way. One that that keeps happening is I get caught as I turn., I know this is because of my bad footwork,  and that i am not going through fast enough or far enough. I usually dont have this problem back home, with time, and making sure to always keep it in mind this will improve.  Many people dont even wait till i turn, they just seem to like hitting me on teh shoulder or on teh back of the head!
Japanese kendoka also have great mowari and hiki waza, something which has long be a bad point for me. Hopefully when i go for keiko in the HS i can try practice this more.

Following this I did two keiko with the top two guys there. First a 6th dan and second a 7th dan. My keiko with Suzuki sensei last week brought back my fighting spirit, and I was able to use it well in these fights.

Both sensei had very strong Kamae keeping center and very solid. I used the advice given to me in Yanai senseis dojo about keeping my kamae straighter, as well as some tips from Gabor Sensei about using different movements of the kensen. (of course both of these sensei were far above me in skill) but they gave me openings and let me have cuts when I made good attacks, and If i may say so i got some nice ippon during the jigeiko. I also recieved my fair share, especially of debanna men. I try to end each keiko with a string of ai men, before i get asked for ippon shobu.

Against the 6th dan in ippon shobu, I got a nice katsugi - kote-men, i was very happy with it, as it just came out of the blue. the sensei was really happy with it.

In the next keiko against the 7th dan, I knew it was the last one, so I was giving it everything, and he was encouraging me to do so. We did ippon shobu at the end, and i was really trying to get that point. It had the feeling or a real shobu, very tense, neither giving an inch. We came together for ai men, but neither got the ippon, (Ive been teaching my self to not step back in these situations with my shinai lowered, and to use proper footwork) As we stepped back, i saw the sensei lower his shinai to the right, I kept kamae, and from toma stepped in to about isokuitto no maai, the sensei started to move forwards and bring his shinai up, and without thinking, I cut men. Ippon. I was deeeelireh!

During both keiko, I felt so focused, and concentrated. I really have to try to make the effort to recreate that kind of feeling in all my keiko.

I really pushed my self for this keiko, and i think i will be able to push my self more from here on. I really enjoyed being able to compete on the same level as the Japanese, rather than huffing and puffing in 30-34 degree 100% humidity as normal.

Forgive me if this comes across as arrogant!

Also, Despite my cooking space limitations, I am still a considering myself a culinary WIZARD.

Teriyaki Chicken with Onion, moyashi carrot and green pepper. Over Rice. BOOM