Practice last night was very bittersweet, but mostly sweet. I saw bitter because a few rounds into jigeiko and I had to step out because I felt extremely tired. I sat for a while, catching my breath, hoping to feel better. I didn't. I ended up feeling pretty nauseous so I decided it would be safer to sit out the rest of the time then try and push it. Not sure what caused it but hopefully I'll do better on Wednesday.
I arrived at the dojo early and did some warm-up suburi and stretching while the beginning class was in session. A LOT of katate suburi. I want to really get used to delivering power using my left arm so I don't have to think about it. I can focus my mind on other aspects that I need to work on.
We started off with 4 or 5 rounds of Kirikaeshi last night. First nice and slow, then we picked up the pace and went all out by the end. I think that I'm getting better with being faster. I didn't notice my shoulders tensing up as much last night. The last time we did super-fast Kirikaeshi I could definitely feel the tension in my shoulders. For me it seems like a step in the right direction.
Next we moved onto some basic uchikomi with Men, Kote, Do and really emphasized good clean hits. I felt good with a lot of them, but my follow-through steps are still a little weird. I'm trying to keep my left foot from going in front of my right when I go through, and that is hard to do while also trying to speed past my opponent. More practice.
We continued on with some Kote to Taiatari, and then Kote-Taiatari-Hiki Men, and finally starting at Taiatari we did Hiki Men-Men. I need to remember to step into the Taiatari to receive it. I was doing this for the most part, except a couple of times against Marek because he is way faster than I am and he seemed to hit and then be right there in my face. The next drill went well. I was able to hit Kote, come to Taiatari, and then bounce back with my Hiki Men pretty well. If anything I would say a little more fumikomi when I go back. And always to make sure that my feet are in the right position when I'm in Tsubazeriai.
Hiki Men-Men felt good, too. I really think the advice I got from Billy is helping me a lot on this one. I used to be really slow stepping back and then launching forward again, but last night when I did the drill I was able to spring forward a lot faster. I still need some work, but I think I am on the right track. But, who am I kidding, I could work on this stuff for a lifetime and still find things to fix =).
After these we did Men Debana Kote and a drill where the receiver would hit Kote and the hitter would hit Kote/Men, first to knock down the Kote and then to hit a good Men strike. I didn't get to do much of the Debana drill, since we only did a couple rounds of it, but what I did felt good. Although for myself I would say that I need to bring my hands up a little further for the Kote strike. my fumikomi was basically in place for it, since my opponent was very fast on his strike. I would fumikomi in place, do the Kote strike, and then push through and past him. But yes, need more movement when I do Debana Kote. Little more lift, little more wrist snap.
For the other drill we were supposed to keep the center. Sensei Wendy said to make the opponent afraid of our center and force them to go to the side while we keep the center and hit Men. I wasn't too successful with this. I mean I could do the drill ok, but it felt kinda sloppy to me. Not sure if it was any certain part, or all of it as a whole. It's a good technique, but I will need a lot more practice with it if I hope to use it sometime. Might've just been my shinai speed. I felt really slow while doing the Kote and Men strikes...
All in all, a good practice. We had some birthday Kakarigeiko last night for one of our students (Happy Birthday, Mark!), and that is always fun to watch. Some thoughts:
Men: Don't lean! Wendy pointed out that when I hit Men I was leaning forward a bit and leading with my shoulders. She said that the movement, the power, should come from my center and my hips driving me forward. Also, Mark pointed out earlier that when I hit I was turning my right shoulder into the Men strike, to try and get a little more distance on it. He said this was a dead giveaway and that my shoulders should be square and moving forward together.
Kote: Like I pointed out earlier, I need to be a little bigger with my Debana Kote. Also during normal Kote strikes I need to remember to step towards my opponent's right foot. This will put me in the proper position to hit their Kote. Something that I normally do, but lately I've been forgetting to do it...
Do: I need to commit to the strike more. I was very soft on my Do hits last night, which I don't like. I need to fully commit to it (sutemi).
I talked to Wendy after class and she said that I was looking really good in practice. I just hope to keep doing the best I can.