*This is part of an ongoing series of posts by Jukendo World translator and guest author, Klara, who has only recently started jukendo and is undertaking a 3 month visit to Japan to further her training with her partner, Lukasz.*
2017-07-20 – Thursday, Day 2 in Japan, 1st training
58Kg, 30% bodyfat
The initial question that springs up to my mind: how does one even breathe in such weather? The initial training was more about the general set up (way of doing things) and getting to know the way, the dojo, the floor (training on matts, as we do for kendo in Poland due to several reasons, doesn’t pay off when you suddenly have to stomp on the wooden one, trust me) The gear (mainly the kata and tare with magic loop) is fantastic and fits much better which results in more general freedom – and in my case in too much freedom of movement, probably. Sensei is as nice as always, as we already got to know him in our home city, though I can see that he notices every single mistake – yet for now he decides not to torture us with critique. One correction at a time, though, it is.
Warm up was done on the sensei’s driveway, stabbing thingies that were made for stabbing, not live people – a wise decision considering the sub-zero level I represent. Though the concept is roughly similar, the amount of correction (=attention) we get means that it is not as easy as it seemed few months ago. I’m all right with that! Plus – enormous jet lag! Two days without sleeping and with lots of new things to get used to.
Naginata in the evening in the Prefectural Martial Arts Center. A fancy, fancy building with more fancy people amongst which I don’t really fit with my, again, zero knowledge of the long stick. This stick is extra confusing, as it is looong and you change kamae as you move, from side to front and side again, from left to right. Your hands slide on the stick. My hands are prone to either being permanently stuck or sliding aaaall the way, both totally incorrect. They have a striking dummy in the corner, his name is kenji. I got told “Go Kill Kenji some more!” The dummy has a bogu set that is superior to most that one can find in Poland…
2017-07-21 – 2nd training
58Kg, 29.2% bodyfat
More initial work on form in the driveway, focusing on tightness and sharpness. Overextending any of the two hands I possess is bad and hurts like hell, that’s why it is my point to work on and, hopefully, improve. “The moving hips” are a contagious issue that every beginner should battle – hand goes straight and fast onto its place, not somewhere else. Also, jukendo has a fierce footwork with a focus on: I’m gonna kill you and I’ll do it quick. Accelerating while moving means, simply, charging somebody with a stick. Ha! Sounds easy (as everything) and is absolutely hard to perform without forgetting the absolute basics of the thrust. I seem to be slowly getting the hang of the commands. Kamae and Naore need much work to be at least passable, but we definitely have an idea how they should look. Yay! This one was long, with a lunch break, until 4pm or so. We found our way back home via train by ourselves as Simon and Ewa had Shodou and left early, which is kinda both a surprise and a reward in itself.
2017-07-22 – 3rd training
57.9Kg, 29.9% bodyfat
The posture was my focus, I should not lean, even if I feel like I’m straight. Therefore I am to lean forwards which means I AM actually straight. I have to trick my body into assuming straightness. Wicked. The left arm doesn’t overextend that much anymore (it hurts, though, because I was hyperextending the elbow so much before– don’t try that at home) More exercises in footwork, this time – kicking with the right leg big toe (so the foot has to be turned inside 75 degrees, not stuck at 90, as I tend to stand automatically) plus fumikomi. Lots of quick little steps and quick loud stomping. Considering the fact that I’ve only learnt how to do the damn thing, it must be seen as a huge progress that I’m able to get a nice sound sometimes plus I’m not overly jumping or stuck in one place. My toes go up though, so they need some work on staying nearer the floor. Other things go up as well, especially the shoulders. The right shoulder has to be relaxed as it only has to bring the hand to the nipple level, tight alongside the mokuju. Easy to say, though.
2017-07-23 – Day Off
57.9Kg, 29.2% bodyfat
Sunday means DAY OFF, so we got to Osu Kannon for some sightseeing, but mostly for being shocked by this absolutely unique country and its people. Then in the evening went to the Nagoya German Beer festival.