Today we’ve welcomed a guest to our training, Simon’s sister, Claudia. I always admire all the people who really want to try something new – even if it involves wearing heavy clothes (and armour) and stabbing people in awful humidity that turns everything damp and stinky. As she was working with Terada sensei, we’ve rehearsed all the basics, and I’ve been working hard on the points that I had corrected the previous day. Although this might sound truly lame – that I have so many problems with such a basic thing as kamae or thrust, for me it’s a proof of my attempts at getting better and better. I fix one small element that influenced (negatively) something else, so I have to relearn certain moves from scratch. I’m not stuck with repeating same mistakes over and over, to the point where I really cannot fix them, as they become the only possible way.
Training everyday under a hachidan hanshi is a blessing, as he doesn’t allow me to repeat my mistakes. What would normally take me several months to notice is spotted right away. After a short break, we did some tankendo, the basics and then some practice with men on – for the first time, if we are talking about tankendo. I will never become a huge fan of the short stick, I assure you.
Another training with Claudia, who did amazing today! Jukendo is really beginner-friendly, even for those, who haven’t done budo – or maybe even easier, as you don’t have to overcome any bad habits then. After few trainings you are safe to practice with others and do all the basic exercises – and after a month or so of intensive work you can go straight into shiai. This is amazing, as you are not stuck in the corner waving a stick around, trying to get the moves right. The thrusting movement is quite intuitive, you don’t feel ashamed to scream (screaming while cutting feels a bit weird, but with thrusting it comes naturally – somehow), it does not hurt as soon as you learn how to receive properly (and even if you don’t do that, the more advanced people are, the lighter their thrusts feel). So – it’s fun and worth spreading all over the world!
Today we did basic exercises, lots of harai, coming into distance and controlling the center. We’ve rehearsed our kata for both sides, uchikata and shikata, and then donned our men and practiced something useful for shiai – attacking the opponent who plays aggressively or defensively, but without scoring the points himself (unless we were really open). I had to figure out what does and what doesn’t work, how to react to certain moves, faints, and hints – and it’s really hard, as I don’t have that much fighting experience, so I’m building it up from scratch. I really want to repeat this, as it taught me so much and will prove extremely useful in the future.
No training today meant some cultural stuff. We woke up early in the morning to go to the local fish market – and it was a brilliant move, as we had the rare opportunity to try freshly cut 70-kilo tuna from one of the fishmongers. Delicious! And I’m not the biggest fan of fish, so that means a lot.
Then we proceeded to another of Nagoya’s delicacies, read bean paste toast, and finished the day wandering around Osu Kannon temples and shops, unashamedly purchasing some pretty Japanese-y goods. The cultural experience did not end at that point, however, as there was another festival happening nearby, this time a dancing one. Fun fun fun!
*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.*