01-08-2017 – 11th training
Yay, a new month of stabbing begins now. Though maybe I shouldn’t be that optimistic, as it means we’ve been here long enough for the trainings to start to be even more exhausting. There are some aspects of jukendo that are particularly frustrating i.e. the limited number of targets and their closeness to one another, the freakishly big wooden stick that stands in your way to the aforementioned targets, and the rules of the game, where when you attack with commitment, you are going to get stabbed anyway – if you’re good, it will just be off target.
So today I’ve learned how to run straight into the stick and how helpless you can feel facing a hachidan hanshi that knows your weaknesses perfectly well. Therefore, my left arm stopped existing for a while.
Shiai in Nippon Budokan, Tokyo.
No training did not mean day off this time, as we packed our gear and went to Tokyo to cheer on Ewa’s shiai and meet fancy fancy people. The capital of Japan met us with a bit of drizzle and chill, rather welcome after the hot humidity of Nagoya. Nippon Budokan is a place that cannot be described in any other words as impressive – especially considering the fact that it was the first ever martial art competition I’ve seen in my life. Hundreds and hundreds of young men (with the addition of some woman, but only a small percentage) were emerging from military trucks, about to face each other in under 25 team men competition.
The girls fought individual, as female jukendo is just starting to grow more popular. I’m quite sure that in several years a team of white girls would be able to compete on equal terms (aka: kick ass!). We’ve been collecting some material for Jukendo World – photos and recordings of the shiai plus, obviously, we have been cheering on Ewa, who was absolutely amazing and truly impressive, winning two of her matches and losing the last in which she scored first, so it still counts as awesome. We’ve also been introduced to the fancy jukendo people by Terada Sensei, who looked proud with his new stabby collectibles from Poland.
04-08-2017 – 12th training
A light training, due to our state of general tiredness after a whole day of observing, recording, and cheering (plus carrying all the stuff). We did some basics, and I’ve been corrected on my posture yet again. I seem to turn sideways a tad too much, hence the bruises on my left hand. Moreover, as I’ve already mentioned, very single part of my body seems detached from the other ones, so I’ve worked on keeping my hips more open (or in front), which will help my footwork and kamae. Easy to say, hard to do.
After the break, we’ve proceeded to learn the first four forms of kata. Jukendo kata is really really difficult, with all the details that make you look like a fool, not like someone about to kill his opponent. I need to work on my balance more, and kata seems a perfect opportunity, as I have to really think where my body is and how to find the right position to move smoothly and steadily forwards and backwards. Somehow, we’ve managed – with a compulsory: ‘okay, but…’
05-08-2017 – 13th training
As the sensei decided to prepare us for the shodan exam before we leave, we focus mainly on basics and kata. I still can’t find the perfect balance and posture, as a small change in one element (i.e. hips) entails many others. My footwork needs work, as I tend to move my feet closer and closer with each step up to the point where the back foot is behind the front one – which is absolutely wrong, as you may guess.
Fortunately, a lot of sweating is slowly making my men wearable, though it still gets stuck on my kata making my neck a bit sore. This time we did kakarigeiko – continuous attack practice – plus the all time favourite – the charging attack. I’ve managed to do well and to get absolutely lost during these fifteen minutes. Go figure… The practice of kata followed, with a focus on zanshin and looking like we know what we’re doing. Yay.
*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.*