Nowadays, we do lots of shiai practice – as this is the field I lack the most in, that’s really good. I have to repeat it to myself, as I’m trying to build up my jigeiko confidence. My lack of experience equals me usually thinking too low of myself, where actually I am able hold my ground, and not be totally smashed to a pulp. It doesn’t mean, though, that I can score any points on most people – that will be beyond my reach for a long time.
Hence, we’re doing lots of basics, but also many exercises that are targeted at moving much more, retreating and attacking again, retaining balanced posture and strong kamae. Plus, Claudia’s skills are really amazing, considering that she’s been training only for a few days. I’m truly joyous to see jukendo spreading amongst people. With its certain simplicity and the amount of fun it entails, it is highly contagious and I can’t wait until we’re back in Poland to help spread it even further. Yay!
The dojo on the second floor in the Kasugai gymnasium, also dubbed ‘window dojo’, as it has a row of semi-automatic huge windows which give some air and a lot of sunlight (which is sometimes problematic, as it tends to blind one person, especially during kata – then funny things happen – but I still like it!). Terada sensei sometimes gives us the opportunity to lead the warm-up and basic exercises, which, I suppose, should prepare us for being all alone in the wide world of budo. Although it will definitely be exciting to help other people find their jukendo way, I must admit it is scary to shed the watchful eye of the best sensei ever.
We did some shiai practice too, mostly concentrating on attacking, using the openings and creating them. I’m still pretty awful with following my ideas, doesn’t matter whether they’re right or wrong. However, I had a small breakthrough with blocking – the idea is that kamae should be solid and protecting the kata, so the bulk of defending can be done by very subtle movements of the front wrist. It actually works, as I’ve tested today. I am pretty sure that it will come handy quite soon. One exercise that I particularly liked was based on recovering from being struck and going back straight into attack. It requires good balance and posture, judgement of distance, speed in going forwards and backwards – my legs were pretty much dead after it.
Today we’ve trained in Chita, which I have come to really like. This is the place where I usually fight well and have fun doing that! We had the luck that, apart from Terada sensei, we were joined by Hisatsune sensei and one of Terada sensei’s students. As with every training, this one begun with basics plus lots of harai waza, then we smoothly moved onto oji waza, counterattacks, adding more and more movement. Kakarigeiko followed, with the partner blocking the strikes, so I had to think what I’m doing.
During ippon shobu – the one point quick fight – all I can do is charge, so charge I did. Jigeiko was definitely fun, as it wasn’t too long for both people to blow off steam and kill time standing and doing almost nothing. I’ve also managed to notice, for the first time, the reactions of my opponents to certain of my moves – I’ve noticed that the guy I fought with today opened his shita a bit when I pressed his omote –I wasn’t good enough to use such an opportunity, but I saw it, and I’m really proud. This was also the first time somebody pushed me around the dojo with such ease, but without much strength or even a shade of malice – I guess he just thought it will be good to teach me how to react. I’ve managed to stand my ground, not lose kamae completely, and recover quickly enough to attack. That surprised even the owner of the dojo, an amazing 90-year old sensei. I guess he had seen numerous budo students at various stages of development, so his praise meant a lot for me. Although I did not get away without a few ‘ok, but-s’ too 🙂
*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.*