A journey in Jukendo – Klara – Days 5-7

2017-07-24 – 4th training

57.8Kg, 28.6% bodyfat

Slowly getting accustomed to boarding the train and going to Kasugai every morning. Or maybe I am lying to myself and the critical moment is still ahead. My body is doing some weird shit, as every single part started to move on its own without any control. More footwork, more charging, hopefully less leaning, but it is still a mystery for me to find the exact posture with which I should strike. Moreover, I suddenly and surprisingly became the one responsible for the warm up in Japanese. “Hai, dekimasu…”. Is there a Japanese version of “head and shoulders, knees, and toes” somewhere? I apparently need it, as we do all of those except toes… not yet anyway 🙂

In my honest (and probably overly critical) opinion, everything is falling apart, the form, the footwork, the feeling (lack of it) of distance… We’re not doing anything that advanced, yet I feel like every single joint is moving in a horrible disunion. I’ve also discovered a new way to hurt myself, which is tucking my right elbow in, which, in result, makes my strike not even close to being sharp so my very own arm is bruised by the bogu I wear. Stupid, stupid me. That’s rather funny, as the only bruises I have are the ones I did myself. Nobody else to blame. My leaning issue is attracting a constant stream of ‘OKs’ and ‘NOT OKs’ provided by the sensei and others so hopefully that will get fixed. What’s more, I reassured myself that I hate harai in general, though the problem lies in performance, not in comprehension of how it should be done – as in my kendo. Which, when added to the aforementioned overall lack of body control, means that I feel like my form is totally shitty and certainly wrong. We’ve also been lead to discover that there is various footwork that can be used with harai, so we’ve attempted them all. Stomp-stomp-thrust is my favourite, though my hands and my feet tend to detach if I have to focus on the former or the latter. Also, my voice can be a bit late if I manage to synchronize the other bits.


2017-07-25 – 5th training

57.7Kg, 28.3% bodyfat

Only one word will describe the conditions accurately: sauna. I wish this one would not welcome the tattooed people, yet it does and makes them sweaty and sticky. The age old problems (leaning, elbow, feet) are now in the centre of attention, while the overall form is still felt as shitty. We did some more work on the perception of the right distance – coming in, controlling the centre (NOT by swerving around as I’m doing it, making everyone laugh or roll their eyes), moving, moving, moving (without leaning and losing the balance, obviously). Here’s where my weak point lies – when focusing on getting there and reaching the target, my form (leaning, elbow, shoulder, feet) falls apart. And fumikomi is nonexistent, as it is still a new element that I’ve added to the mix one or two weeks ago. It can be worked on, though, I assume. I rely on others for their judgement and I just remember the bits I definitely need to improve. Kamae (feet not turning 90 degrees, feet spacing – one and a half, knees bent, straight posture, left elbow in front, right elbow NOT tucked in, right shoulder relaxed), strike (tightness, speed, levelness, elbow, elbow, elbow), distance and proper kiai. Hooray!

Rain meant no naginata. I’m sad. But that was Japanese rain, which means, in short, it was horrendous. I can get wet without any water here, thank you, I don’t need one pouring all over me, except in the shower.

2017-07-26 – 6th training

57.4Kg, 28% bodyfat

We have a visiting sensei today. Having someone new and experienced in the dojo made a difference. What I’m rather happy about was less leaning and less elbow tucking, though the feet need much work to get them into the right angle – front straight, back turned in fifteen degrees, not ninety. There were some moments of enlightenment when I knew what to do to strike well. These tended to happen when my right shoulder was relaxed and all the power went from the back leg through the hips. To achieve it, though, my kamae has to be good, especially the feet and knees, as they determine whether or not my balance is all right. Learning does not end at the stabbing side – I become aware how bad of a motodachi I am and I promise to make less mistakes in the future. In jukendo the distance is being decided on by the motodachi, so if it’s too big, the student should not chase the person that is to be stabbed, but perform a good thrust without reaching the target. The motodachi can even run away and yet the balance has to be kept. I believe that my form is still an abomination, though if I focus and prepare it can be improved instantly. Hence, when we’re doing some quick strikes, it’s still not good (to put it lightly). On the plus side, I slowly get the hang of the warm up, at least the basic “head and shoulders” thingy.

*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.*

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