Nothing interesting is happening.

Basicly, ive just been chilling out at home. Studying Japanese and watching a bit more TV.

I met with Nanami in Ikebukuro on Saturday 20th, we had some lunch in burger king (special offer) and had a great time at the Sunshine City Aquarium. Im really excited to go back to Sunshine City! It seems amazing! Me and Nanami got on really well, which was great! I really need to improve my Japanese though, its not fair that we only talk in English!

There was a kendo break for about a week, so I went back on Thursday the 18th. I felt a bit refreshed after the break but i kind of had leg cramps from sitting on this rubbish chair in my apartment all the time!! I only did 3-4 jigeiko on Thursday. On Saturday evening, Nanami was going to a DCU reunion, so I returned to Kamisu to try get to kendo. there was a que of about 100 people for my bus!! I couldnt believe it!! It was quite busy in the morning when i was leaving, but this que was NUTS! no other bus had such a long line!! I got a bus at 6:10, made it back to Kamisu at 7:30, i flew home picked up my bogu and made it to start keiko at about 8:02!!

It was a fairly good session, I went to Suzuki sensei first as he was the last to get ready. I haven't done keiko with him since maybe my first week in Kamisu? He is usually last to get ready as he looks after the kids and talks to some parents, and I think he is helping some people get ready for shinsa?

We did 20 mins of Keiko, and I really felt like it was good. He is quite a strong kenshi with 7th dan, and is quite fast and agressive> the fact that I was in a rush to get to kendo, get changed and get started kind of had me in a different mind set, I wasnt thinking, and I was just "doing", I did a lot more mowari waza, which I havent been doing at all over here. I felt like I had a lot more "mind contact" during this keiko than any others, and that I was having more of a effect  with my seme and pressure. I made a few good attacks and felt pretty good with my overall fighting spirit.

Following that I did Keiko with his son! He is 15, and really really fast! To be honest, I was knackered after my keiko, and feeling the "no warm up" So I kind of took it easy, Tried to just focus on making seme and then watching his reactions as well as trying to do ai men and debanna men. We did ippon shobu and I turned it on then, but he got a beautiful hiki men in the end!

Lastly I went to Konuki sensei, he has been really nice to me since I got here, his kendo is great, and he always has fun when we do keiko, his foot work is amazing, and he loves to just dodge my attacks and do nuki or kaeshi men from any angle. He has been trying to get me to make my attacks less obvious, Its had to know exactly what he is saying, but I think he means that he can see my atacks comming, you know that "seme............(here itcomes)". To be honest, Im kind of lumbering around the place at the moment! Footwork is improving, and im trying to be more explosive.

At the end of the keiko we did a few men cuts, and he was trying to explain something, but I really dont know what he was trying to say.

I was watching some videos of the recent highschool competitions, especially moments when both go for men. and one scores. As you get more experienced at kendo, I suppose you start to see more? And this time, I was kind of able to notice who "started" the cut (while before I just would have looked for who was fastest or who hit first, if you know what I mean) I noticed that on a very basic level, the two would be at toma, and usually the one that took that first step in would be the one to score, it always happens so quickly and i never noticed that before. I guess they are taking that step with the intention of it leading to debanna men. They step in, slight pause sometimes, and go straight for men. Most of the attacks like this result in the person taking the initiative scoring the point.

I know for a fact that when I step in ,9 times out of 10, I stop. Because I dont have the confidnace in my seme or attacks, or the experience to see the opening. Ive been trying to counter this by attacking more, but not by just attacking wildly with no purpose.

When Emanuel Sensei was over in Dublin just before I left, he did this practice where we just did ai men, 6 times, quickly, turning fast and imidiatly going again. then change, no rei ,just go, do it fast and get exhausted. I realy felt something during this keiko, the tiredness brought out a focus and single mindedness, and I was even able to get the men against someone the height of Jason, ive tried to keep that idea in my head when I go for men or debanna men.

Ive realised over the past few months that there are times when stepping in with purpose, and with the sole/soul? intention of cutting a certain target, often leads to debanna (some of the kote I got at the INC were like this). Where as before I would step in, look, and then, its too late.

So this is what I have been trying to do. And from watching those videos it seems to be how these guys score those ippon!!

So back to my keiko with the Sensei. I think he was saying the same thing. That I need to step in with more purpose, rather than stepping in, stepping back, and then being caught as I step back in again. (and maybe even stepping in with pressure, tame, and then explode when the opponent moves?) He kept making a gesture with his hands, kind of showing me how one persons shinai would actaully be on top? depending on how you attack. And he also as I made the first step into distance, he would step back, I chased him with two quick steps and went for men, but he shook his head and stopped me. Maybe he was trying to show me how I should step in, tame, and if the opponent steps back, keep the pressure and wait for him to step forwards and then attack??

Blegh I dont know!! Its so hard to understand!! I have to improve my Japanesesesesesese!

If anyone has any ideas on any of the above, please let me know!
I know its a bit al over the place, but I find it hard to put down on paper/screen!