Probably one of our last trainings in the Kasugai dojo. Therefore, we’ve used the time well. After a brief revision of the basics, which is always great and useful, as I discover various different problems each time I do the thrusts, we’ve practiced some more advanced patterns with a focus on being a good and thoughtful motodachi.
More tankendo followed, in a very similar manner – the basics and then the paired exercises. Traditionally, we have finished with jukendo kata, which is slowly but steadily improving. I might look like I actually know what I should be doing. That doesn’t mean I AM doing it, though. Still stuck with ‘okay, buuut…’ from sensei.
Another day of office kata. We usually watch the videos and discuss how the forms should look like, what to focus on, and what mistakes are best avoided, and then proceed to grabbing the actual sticks and stabbing each other… though, in most cases, mercifully stopping centimetres short of the vulnerable parts of the body (notice the word ‘most’, please). Today it was time for not only juken or tanken kata, but also for the one when the mokuju meets the tanken. This is the biggest issue with the kata – remembering all the forms is far from being easy. Especially if you have to switch sides (and weapons) constantly! At the end of the training we’ve managed to struggle through all tanken and all juken vs tanken kata with only minor hesitations and not-so-discreet clues (gedan! gedan!). We’ve also avoided causing major damage to the room, although the ceiling lamp and all the chairs had to be removed, and the All Japan prizes and medals strategically placed outside of the range.
During the evening I’ve decided to do some extra rooftop jukendo, mostly working on my common faults and moving smoothly and precisely in kata (infinite circle of three steps forward, gedan, five steps backward – without losing the posture and feet placement).
New day – new dojo. Finally a bigger space to practice tankendo kata in. I’m still highly confused which one follows which (am I the one pushing or do I wait for the attack to come?), but as soon as I start right, it flows rather smoothly. Being the smallest one in the group doesn’t help, but as I cannot impress anyone with the posture, I decide to do it with fierceness.
The training traditionally begun with jukendo basics – there are still small issues to fix, especially on the receiving side. Then tankendo, which confuses my brain, as it still stuck with: if I go backwards, I push with the left foot. Wrong! I sometimes feel like I belong more to the stretching class next doors. At the same time though, I really started to crave and love mokuju. An infatuation is slowly getting stronger, along with the desire to be better, every day.
Unexpected day off. Sleeping. Eating. Air conditioning. Harry Potter In Japanese.
*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.*