Saturday, February 23, 2008

Stupid, Stupid, Stupid

So, I'm in Tokyo now. Well, living in Chiba, but it's fairly close to Tokyo: it takes about 45 minutes for me to commute to work in the city. I finally made contact with H-Sensei* and found out when and where they're practicing, so on Monday of this week I went to the dojo (in an elementary school gym) and had my first practice in about 3 weeks.

They practice quite hard there, so it was tough for me to keep up. It's basically free practice, but Sensei wanders around and gives pointers when she sees something worth commenting on. So unlike a lot of practices that I've been to and what I've gotten used to, it's pretty steady for 2 hours. There's no time to stand around and rest while Sensei explains some point. Of course, if you're really tired, you can stop and rest, but ...

At the end of class, they do a group practice where they go through the 11 Shoden forms together, and then the 12 Seitei forms. By the end of it, I was pretty tired!

I didn't notice any after-effects, except that my forearms were pretty tired. The "stopping muscle" in particular - you know, the one outside your elbow, the only one you actually develop doing iaido! - was pretty sore.

I went to practice again on Thursday. It was quite cold, and I was late, so I didn't warm up much at all. My very first nukitsuke on Mae, I twinged something in my stopping muscle. It hurt, but I didn't think too much of it. I continued the technique and did the O-chiburi and Twang! Something was definitely wrong now. I did a few more techniques, but I couldn't stop the sword at all. It was almost flying out of my hand, so I decided to call it quits. I felt pretty stupid for injuring myself like that: by overdoing it and then by not warming up.

So I'm taking a few days off to see if it gets better on its own. I don't think it's anything serious, but I think it would be dumb to push it any more than I already have.

The only other interesting(?) thing is that there was a young-ish guy there who was doing the MJER koryu techniques as fast as he possibly could. He would whip his sword out of the saya (scraping it loudly in the process) then flail around, cut-chop-chop-cut, no zanshin, then a fast noto, even on shoden. It was very strange. Imagine a room full of people waltzing, and there is one guy moshing by himself in the middle. I kept wondering why H-Sensei didn't say anything to him. I also wondered where he learned his techniques. I figured maybe he bought a book or a video, and then decided on his own that "faster is better". Or perhaps there are teachers out there who are teaching it that way. (Shrug)

*Maybe I'm being paranoid, but recently I've realized that a lot of people I don't know read this blog, so I'm starting to think maybe I should dispense with names, since not everything I say is entirely positive. Sigh. Anybody know how I can password-protect a blog?