Sunday, November 07, 2004


This post is going to be my own personal Ran-Ai: trying to create some sort of unity out of formless chaos. More than likely, though, it's going to remain a random collection of my unrelated thoughts.

First, I forgot to mention in my last post that Furukawa Sensei and Arai Sensei did the ZNKR Jodo demonstration at the "half time" of the Kendo Championships on Wednesday. I was sitting way up in the rafters, but with the help of my super-zoom lens, I managed to grab a few shaky pictures. They didn't turn out so well, but that's what happens when you try to do manual focus and you're not wearing your glasses.

The next day, I went to the Kashiwa city Iaido practice. They are a group that practices in a local Elementary School gymnasium, and they seemed a little bit cool when I first approached them for permission to train. Thursday was my first practice, and I was told to warm up and go ahead into ZNKR Iai. As I did Mae a few times, I realized that everybody was watching me. They were sizing me up! Suddenly, it was like I was doing a grading or a shiai and I started to get very nervous. I don't know whether it was nerves, or the fact that I haven't done Iaido in over two months, but my legs were shaking after the first few waza. It was quite ridiculous.

But anyway, they seemed fairly impressed that I knew the techniques at least and seemed to have a pretty good idea of what I was doing. I can only imagine that they must have seen some weird foreigners come through the doors before, with weird ideas about what iaido is... That's probably why their reception was initially so cool, because they seemed to warm up to me a little bit after that.

I received a few pointers for things I was doing wrong. I already knew some of these points, but was doing them wrong anyway. For .... ooooh, earthquake! (Sorry. Back to what I was saying...)
For example, on mae, I wasn't returning the koiguchi to the center line during furikaburi. As you slide forward, you must firmly pull the koiguchi back to the center so that the left hand rises straight up the center line to grab the tsuka overhead. (We all know this, but are we doing it properly?)

During the opening etiquette, after placing the sword on the floor for the to-rei, it is wrong the move the left hand first. Therefore, if you want to adjust the sageo, apparently you are supposed to pull the right hand back first, and only then lift the left hand to adjust the sageo. Details, details. (I don't know if this is official ZNKR policy, or just at this dojo.)

As for Jodo, I was impressed to see that all the junior students in the dojo (i.e., everyone under 6th dan) keeps a detailed jodo notebook with sketches, quotes and pointers from each lesson. I must start doing this, too... I have a few small points that I'm going to forget if I don't record them soon.

Apparently, that earthquake was a 5.8 (for those of you keeping track).


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