Fourth Dan Grading Diary - 3 & 4

I recently moved apartment, and have been very busy with that and work. My keiko time suffered as a result. 

December 1st - 7th

Monday 1st I went for a really nice 5 kilometer run. It was cold, wet and misty. Almost no other runners at that hour (around 9 pm) so it was easy to slip into a rhythm and get absorbed in the running. 

Tuesday 2nd Good practice. I had very good keiko against two 5th dan, I was able to maintain good pressure, and I didn't "lose" by being caught out with silly mistakes. Against my sempai, the first time to practice with him since he passed 5th dan, I was a little bit more stiff. 

He knows my kendo, and I'm always eager to show my improvement with him, which can make me tense. I need to be more positive and confident when playing him, going forward instead of back when he steps in. I tried to lure him with simple seme, step in, step back and attack when he comes forwards, but my footwork wasn't good enough and I leaned rather than stepped back. His high school's specialty is attacking opponents from this position, with two quick steps he was in, and took a great men ippon. 

Lesson? Don't step back, or practice better footwork and be ready to spring forward after stepping back correctly.

Thursday 4th I tried to be more relaxed during kihon. With the aim of being less tense and focusing more on tenouchi. Kihon keiko was good, I just focused on keeping on the balls of my feet, and striking with light arms and heavy tenouchi. I also made sure to hit as soon as the left foot was brought up in hikitsuke. 

For waza practice, it was ok, but I seem to be having problems drawing people in. 

Jigeiko was again ok but not as good as the previous session. I was making my opponents move/react, but not taking the chances. 

Some advice from T-sensei. Men. Focus on men. Men Men Men. Joking!, but not really. 
He was saying to first of all, never stop your feet, don't stop moving and pressing. He graduated from Kokushikan University where they are men specialists. His advice to me was to focus on making my opponent fear or be cautious of my men. If they are afraid of your men, they will raise their hands when you attack, and leave their kote open. 

When cutting kote-men, it should be, in his opinion, Kote MEN. Of course the kote should be strong, but the men should be a thumper. 

Friday 5th I had my company year end party, the resulting hang over was pretty epic. No keiko that weekend. 

December 8th - 14th. 

Tuesday 9th We had our annual dojo cleaning on Sunday the 7th. We usually clear out all the bogu and uniforms, anything that has no name on it is up for grabs. SOMEONE (looking directly at my sempai here!!!) took my Hakama, even though it had my name written on it. So I could only watch practice. It was a good chance to watch my Sensei and Sempai and try to watch for their methods of creating chances.  

Thursday 11th After almost one weeks break from kendo, I was not in a good condition. I huffed and puffed through most of this session. No Good. 

Saturday 13th - Sunday 14th I moved apartment and was far too busy getting my stuff together for kendo. 

A slow two weeks kendo wise, but I was worked off my feet most days. On-wards and upwards!