Sunday – day off.
Time flies! Today we went to Kyoto to enjoy some more of Japan. We’ve hiked to the top of the Inari mountain, fending off numerous spiders and other deadly creatures instead of other tourists by choosing the least populated and definitely the most adventurous and picturesque path with numerous forgotten stone steps.
It will be a memory worth talking about in a pub some years later, I’m sure! We’ve also seen and tasted some more of the city before arriving late to get some rest before the challenges of the upcoming week.
I haven’t slept enough, so the news of the Monday training being longer did not make me as happy as it should. The dojo was crowded, as, apart from our standard group of five, there were some kendo people and two newcomers decided to try their hand at stabbing people – Nathan, the American, for his second ever martial art experience, and Conrad sensei, a semi-fancy (not my term!) person in budo, but a newbie in the art of the bayonet. Seeing the difference between someone that has tons of experience with weapon training and someone whose weapon of choice is Playstation (sorry, Nate!) was indeed fascinating.
After the initial practice of basics, two visiting sensei (definitely super-fancy people) came to supervise and voice their approval (or disapproval, but we’ve managed to get the former, yay!) One of them was Sato sensei, whom I’ve already met at the UK seminar, the other sensei, Konno sensei, is the one that most probably will come to Poland to stay for some months and teach jukendo there. Therefore, I had to muster my strength, no matter how little I had at that moment, to show that I can do something that resembles a correct strike. Some little changes that were introduced were really great, as they improved my jukendo instantly – up to the point when I was astounded it really worked. Huh. I’ve also decided to employ the strategy of acting the part. Whenever we did something I knew I suck at, I tried to be not only as correct as I’m able to (sometimes I’m not able at all), but also keen, focused, and fierce. I think it worked, as delicious Japanese sweets followed. I have a soft spot for these bean ones.
The American disease is spreading, taking new victims, so the training was again lighter – a relief after the previous day. I’m constantly trying to employ all the advice I get (and I get a lot, believe me), fixing both, the old and constantly appearing new flaws.
Basics does not mean boredom, too, as there is always a possibility to do something better, faster, more precise, and that’s our focus right now. We did some new exercises too, and knocked ourselves out with more kata. God, the forms are really difficult, as they have subtle timing that, when done right, looks flawlessly purposeful – a thing that a lot of kata in other budo lack.
*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.*