Thursday, January 15, 2009

Back In Action

There seems to be a tradition that after a long break, you have to document your return on the blog. So, this is my turn.

After a two and half month wait, I've finally resumed my kendo training.
The absence is easily explained, a move to a new country and not packing any equipment!
I had planned to have my new bogu waiting for me on my arrival but alas, things didn't quite work out as I planned. In fact, it turned up 2 months late.

So what does one do during this time? Firstly, suburi. I tried to do it everyday but realistically I only managed twice a week and even less after the weather turned sour. The second thing I worked on was tenouchi. I managed to work on this nearly everyday, whether just loosening the wrists, or actually hitting the couch cushions. Apart from the occasional run, this constituted the only physical training I managed to do.

Many sensei say that when you can't physically train, you should do mitori-geiko (watching practice). The problem is that I find this incredibly frustrating, so apart from the odd dojo visit and a trip down to Steveston to watch the local grading, my exposure to actually watching any kendo was pretty much limited to downloading videos of the All Japans.

You would think that the arrival of my bogu on New Year's Eve would present me with my chance to resume my training that Monday?
Well, Mother Nature had other ideas and I would have to wait another couple of days before finally get my way.

So what happened on that fateful Thursday night?
To be honest, other than being thrilled to be training again, things weren't that different to SKC's Wednesday night trainings. My timing was a mess, My left leg strength was completely missing and after 2 hours, my stamina was non-existent, but all in all, things went a lot better than I had expected.
I returned the following night for my second session and again my timing was a mess but I did manage to get a bit more power to my back leg. However at the end of the 2.5 hour session I was completely wrecked.

The weekend was a bit of a struggle due to a fair amount of muscle soreness (I blame the cold weather, not the lack of stretching hehe), however I did manage to get myself to the Monday night session and I found things were starting to feel a bit more natural. I felt my kiai and seme were stronger, I was able to control my maai and timing a bit better and even the stamina was improving. All positive signs.

There is still a long way to go before I'll be back to where I want to be, and with North America's biggest taikai just around the corner, there is a lot of work in front of me but the most important thing is that I'm finally back in action.