Kata Aftermath

Last Saturday I began my kata lessons of the kihon wazas. Although I struggled a lot with suriage waza and uchiotoshi waza, I may have impressed my teacher because we covered all 9 wazas within the hour. He observed that I’m a quick learner. I told him I just studied real hard for it (which I did, all week long).

He then assigned me to study the next 7 katas of the Nihon Kendo no Kata for next Saturday.

In truth, my mind is already reeling in moderate panic. I try to remain calm and allow myself some time during the day just going over the movements, reading about the principles behind each kata, understanding how seme works  and all that and basically, just memorizing the sequence step–by–step. But there’s just too much to take in and with so little time!

For instance, the night before, I went to see a kendoka’s gig and before he performed on stage (according to him, I am the first and only kendoka who had ever seen him perform in all his musical career), we were able to talk a bit about kendo and blues. He tells me that I already have that 90% of what I need to do kendo well, and that I just need to find that 10% to complete it. Whatever it was he meant by that is somewhat lost to me, but I just decided to trust his word for it. Whatever that 10% is, I’m gonna find it and I’m gonna make my kendo better than ever! I am grateful for his encouragements and imparted wisdom. I wish I could keiko with him again real soon because he’s a really good teacher!

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“Keiten Aijin” (Revere God, Love Mankind)

Anyway, I tried to remember everything he had told me the night before and apply it in Saturday’s practice. I’m afraid when you lack enough sleep and had already spent 30% of your energy an hour before, you’re not at your optimum best anymore. That was the crappiest kendo I’ve done in the last 2 months, I think.  But at least I finally get the footwork thing — this “it’s all in the hips, the koshi, the hikagami tension, the hara, the tanden” talk. I just need plenty more practice to really accustom my body to it.

After keiko, we celebrated my birthday with delicious sushi that a friend had very kindly bought for me in my stead. Sitting there on the artificial lawn gobbling up sushi with fellow dojomates was to me the perfect way to celebrate my birthday! I was so happy! I then received the most awesome gift ever in all my kendo training (a gift from my coach who called me “the club’s most dedicated member” *cough* I nearly choked) — it was a very simple but stupendous tenugui with Saigo Takamori’s motto on it! I thought it was just perfect for me!

It is now my motto too!

 

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