24 Jan 2010

Packed Practise

Yesterday, our relatively small dojo hosted what was the last practise for Honda sensei and his students for their London visit; the turn out was amazing. At first this was quite a sight, more and more kendokas from all around London kept turning up as we went along, but pretty soon I began to realise this was probably not such a good thing afterall. For one there was literally no space to practise. Half the time I was hitting other kendokas that wasn't even my opponent. Also, selfishly, what you want to be doing is practising with Honda and his students on their last keiko! Ok, I suppose I'll always benefit from fighting other people I don't normally get to practise with, but even so! May be another day, today is UCL's turn to have a go at these guys.

21 Jan 2010

New Year's Chores

So I took today off, 5 days of Kendo in a row would be a bit much. UCL Monday, Tora yesterday, skived UCL today ... Tora again tomorrow, and UCL on Friday. No Wakaba this Sat I don't think. But it's a special week as Honda's contingent is in Britain, luckily they're up in Oxford today. I mean I don't normally visit Tora that often in a week either!
Anyhoo, as it's still the first month of the year, there's lots of chores to keep up with. Renewed my BKA membership, thank God they finally caught up with the whole online payment system, otherwise I'd probably still be scrambling for my cheque book which is only used once a year.
Then I booked my flight to Cork, where the Irish Open (IIGT) is being held this year in February. Also registered teams for UCL and rang people up to make them come along. I will also be taking my Nidan there! So, if you're reading this, wish me luck! Had to bloody make a copy of the massive menjo I got for my shodan, request letter of permission blah blah ... such a hassle.
I also have to book the train up to Edinburgh at some point ... we must win it this year! Last chance to be a double winner of the Uni Taikai.
I also downloaded the form for the Ozawa seminar, he passed the message through Neil that I'm expected to be there again. To be fair I don't mind at all, really enjoyed it last year. Bollocks ... so I do have to find that cheque book afterall.
And now I'm wondering where the hell Bastin is ... he's disappeared off the radar! Ooh and can't forget, the registration for the London Cup should be coming up soon. Need to do that as well. Rant over.

20 Jan 2010

Fukyōdai in London

The Japanese contingent from Fukuoka led by Honda Sensei landed in Britain on Monday. They were far too tired to visit us at UCL that night, so I had to pop over to Tora the following day to meet them.
I got to tell you, it's always great seeing friends from afar again. I dropped in late as usual, but just in time for jikeiko; which is all you want really from a session with these guys.
My first keiko I ran straight in for Taro, had a hearty hug and a good fight. The bugger is still shit-fast as always, but you wouldn't expect anything less. Managed a few nice kote, he kept the tsuki on most of my Men cuts so I guess I'll have to work on improving it ... just as I thought it was getting better as well. To be fair though, both Honga and Joe did say it was better, so there must be some truth in it.
Then I lined up for Tanaka, Kubota sempai ... and kept the best for last, Honda Sensei. Since the queue was so long though I only managed a minute in with him, I was a bit tense I guess as I really wanted to impress him and show improvement since I last practised with him, managed to create two opportunities, but missed hit just like that! Rubbish.

Taro gave me some fancy chopsticks, and the main tip for the day was to bring my hind leg in faster after a cut. Hmm ... same thing Nabeyama said back in Bangkok! Then Kubota topped it off with the whole 'relax more to go faster' speech. Great pointers! I'd consider that a pretty successful hour if you ask me.
The pub was good too. After socialising, only the Wakaba senseis were left and I got them discussing my kendo. Katsura sensei's advice was to free more of the 'I am a big motherfucker' spirit and be less afraid to get hit. Right. Back to the drawing board then!

*All photos in this entry were taken from Honga's facebook

4 Jan 2010

The New Year

So the first practise of 2010 was out of the way. It was an unusually hot January Sunday in Bangkok, and it was rather difficult to breathe inside the dojo as there wasn't much ventilation. The practise still went well nonetheless. Some bloke from Mazda visited, reminded me how to hit sashi men the way I used to ... lately I've been focusing on proper big men cuts, it has somehow slipped off my mind.
After an evening of drinking with my old sensei in Pattaya, discussing kendo, I was constantly trying to maintain my centre in all the ji-keiko I did, with good results I must say. However as always, there's still much to work on. Which brings me to our next agenda ...
During the head of the dojo's new year's speech, he suggested we all make kendo resolutions. So I've been thinking about mine. It defnitely has to be something achievable, in terms of difficulty and time. I've come up with these 5:


  1. Pass 2dan shinsa in February
  2. Win all my matches at the Uni Taikai in March, this year in Edinburgh (hopefully the team will place gold)
  3. Make better use of my size with my seme
  4. Straighter kendo, minimise the flair
  5. Improve speed & leg strength
We'll see how it goes ... wish me luck!

1 Jan 2010

Happy 2010!! Best of luck and much success in the new year. True to form, I got plastered. Hope everyone has had an equally good farewell to '09

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