Usual beginning to class – rei, warm ups, and suburi. My haya-suburi is improving, but still not as fast as everyone else. I’m pushing mysellf, but I’m not giving up technique for speed. Speed will come, technique comes first. We did the men lunge again – more sore muscles for me again tomorrow I predict.
In the beginner group, our sensei was trying to catch up the new beginner to where I was last week, so we again focused on basic strikes using okuri-ashi. Truthfully, I’m a little disappointed that a new guy started last class – I felt like I was making good progress. I’m a quick study, I like to move at my own pace, and I don’t want anyone to hold me back. I know I should be supportive of everyone’s own journey and be willing to help my fellow beginner along. I also know that without new beginners, the dojo won’t be able to stay in business – we are a non-profit, the teachers are volunteers – the club needs all the income it can to stay alive, but if I’m not going to be honest with myself and with anyone who reads this I’m doing a disservice by not portraying my true feelings. This is all part of the Kendo journey – mental, not just physical.
Getting back to practice, I had a small “eureka” moment concerning my do strikes. Since Day 2 I’ve been practicing do and I haven’t seem to make any breakthroughs or improvements. I’ve always struck do too high, or mostly too low, and when I did strike correctly, it felt more by shear luck or accident than actual skill. I discovered with help from my sensei that it was a combination of stride length and hand positioning. The feet were an easy fix, I just needed to take a larger step. The hands took a little bit more work.
Essentially the left hand should maintain a line up and down on center. When you raise the shinai the left hand stays center and even though the do cut is a diagonal cut, the left hand stays center as you come down. The way the shinai moves off center is due to a small guidance from the right hand and turn of the left wrist. I was using too much power in my right hand causing my right elbow to jut out. I’ve discovered that the right hand should barely, every so gently, subtly suggest a divergence from center. This makes it a lot easier to keep zanshin and pass through as well.
Class finished in the usual manner.
More practice is needed. I will think upon these points.