I've now set what I think must be some kind of record, not a kendo one per se, but most cars seen on fire on the way to kendo practice. Last week on Tuesday on the way home, I noticed a smoldering red hunk of metal in the middle of the highway that I barely dodged. Of course 2 miles down the road was a tiberon with the hood on fire. Last night on the way to Indy, there was what looked like a dodge caravan, or what was left of one, still on fire, blocking traffic heading north (thank goodness no delays for me in the southbound lanes). I sometimes wonder if the kendo gods are trying to tell me something, then I remember how horrible drivers are in Indiana, and especially on I69, and dismiss it as business as usual.
Practice in indy (1/26): Warmup, kirikaeshi with bokuto (this one scared me a bit, as it seemed a bit strange and i've never done contact hitting/receiving with bokuto before), tai atari practice, then we put on men and did: kirikaeshi, men uchi, sashi men, basic seme practice with sashi men (everyone was taught an osaeru type seme to practice). Additionaly we did an exercise where motodachi gives up center to kakarite and then trys to hit ai men. Then jigeiko.
This practice as usual, I notice a bit of language barrier with sensei. I often know what concept he is trying to describe in Japanese, but he often does his best to explain it entirely in English without using Japanese terms. As is often the case in kendo, some of the subtlety of concept is lost when it is explained in english. I have encountered many Japanese sensei that try to 'sanitize' kendo of Japanese language terms, but at this stage in my kendo development I believe both students and teachers would be better off just learning/teaching concepts such as 'sutemi', 'kime', 'kigurai', 'shisei', etc. Terms such as these need paragraphs in English to describe, yet there is a single word in Japanese that one can use to get your point across. During the ai-men exercise sensei was trying to explain motodachi's role as well, and I have a bit of a feeling it fell on deaf ears. The main problem is that whoever was supposed to give up the center and then try to strike ai men, would try to 'win'. This made it impossible for kakarite to take center and for them to swing centered. Being a good motodachi is likely the hardest thing anyone can do in kendo. Its more difficult and draining than any other practice I have done. The point here that sensei tried to make is that motodachi's job is to receive. If they win, or try to win, it is meaningless. A motodachi is there to provide resistance to kakarite, but ultimately the motodachi's goal should not be to try and win and bully their attacker, but to make them succeed in the most spectacular way, to challenge them to push their kendo the the next level and to bring out their best kendo and help make it sparkle. I started my kendo as the pursuit of doing one beautiful men in my lifetime, but perhaps I have missed the point. I wonder now if instead it should be to bring myself to the level where I can, thru being a good motodachi, both cause and receive one beautiful men in my life......
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