Saturday, February 25, 2006

Still Definitely not Ego-Free

So in the martial arts, you're supposed to be working on erasing your ego; especially in iaido, your "imaginary opponent" is yourself, and it's symbolically your ego that you're killing over and over. Right? Right?

Well, I still have quite a lot of ego to kill, I'm afraid. I went to a practice at a new place last night. It was pretty good, but the sensei in charge didn't really look at my techniques much. Instead he delegated his wife to give me some pointers, and I have to shamefully confess that I was kind of ticked off by that. I think it was because she wasn't really much higher-ranked than me ... but in the end, she gave me some good hints.

I don't know why I felt that way. I guess I was disappointed that the main teacher couldn't be bothered to give me any instruction. Boy, am I ever getting spoiled!

After going through Seitei Iai (everybody still calls it that) I was in turn assigned to teach the only other foreigner there, a local ALT who has been doing iai for a couple years, I guess. I don't know how he felt about getting corrections from "the new guy" but he was pretty cool about it. He has many of the same problems that most beginners have, so I gave him such help as I could.

I have noticed that Japanese beginners and Western beginners seem to have different kinds of problems. I wonder if watching all those chambara movies on TV really does have some impact on Japanese people when they start iaido... On the other hand, Westerners are usually really stiff-legged and tense in their upper-body. I wonder where that comes from?

Anyway, I guess I'll be able to have 3 or 4 practices a week now; and I. Sensei does jodo too, apparently, so maybe I can get back into jodo a little bit. I haven't done any jo in months.

In the meantime, I am looking forward to moving to Oita. Imai Sensei lives in Oita, Iwami Sensei lives an hour and a half away, so I might be able to do some Niten; there are good Jikiden Sensei in the town I'll be living in, and Fukuoka (Namitome Sensei and Tominaga Sensei) are also about an hour away. This could be very, very cool... The Jikiden sensei is a young eight-dan by the name of Azuma Sensei; there was an article about him in Kendo Nippon a few months back. I haven't tried translating it yet, but someone told me that he is mostly self-taught. (How is that possible?) He apparently has some obscure Jikiden scrolls or books or something ... I'll be interested to follow up that thread if/when I meet him.

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10:55 PM  

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