Fourth Dan Grading Diary - 5

End of year keiko saw a jump in performance!

December 15th - 19th

Monday 15th Following my move in weekend, I took a night off after work. No Run. 

Tuesday 16th Good condition, well rested. I had decided to focus on only very simple kendo. 
During uchikomi I concentrated on making sure my left foot was drawn up, and that I was cutting into the centre and going through the middle.  

I took that style to jigeiko where I was much more effective than in recent weeks. Pressing forward and striking men (or kote-men) as soon as my opponent moved. It wasn't always a valid strike, but more often than not it felt like I was taking the centre and putting pressure on the opponent to cut in my time. 

Fellow 3rd dan, Ko-san. Nice practice, I felt very in the zone. He still initiates more attacks more attacks than me. I was able to score some nice ai men, but I need to take the initiative, and have more SEN. 

6th Dan H. Sensei. I took the focus from my last practice and really tried to push and create real chances. I need to be braver and try more Shikake-waza, but I had some nice reaction debanna kote.

5th Dan T. Sempai. His style is much more shiai based so I was drawn into that kind of kendo. I became stiff and lost the feeling of "control" that I had in previous keiko. I tried to be too tricky and he just picked me off with superior tricks :) He noticed my tell, that right before cutting my hands tense, and my kensen moves. I need to relax, which will make it easier to snap off cuts. 

Thursday 18th This ended up being my last practice of the year! I had planned on going to another, but I didn't get the time. 

This was another good practice. Maybe the end of the year was making my performance improve? Maybe I was trying harder because I knew my keiko time was going to be limited, or maybe I was relaxed because of my upcoming holidays?? Who knows!

I really enjoyed kihon and unchikomi practice. I was relaxed and kept my hands loose all practice. Had a great keiko with one of my oldest friends in Japan. He scored a great tsuki on me after really unsettling my kamae, fantastic set up!

He made me raise my hands once, then came and took kote, followed that with a men, and finally a lovely tsuki which would have been a great ippon. Cut open in three great moves. 

He gave me great advice following the keiko. Secret advice.