This week I've been sick. It's been a rollercoaster for the last few days; better at times, worse at others, but I've been able to make practice on Monday and Wednesday night and I'm glad I was able to do it. It definitely helped me feel better and also accomplished as I was still able to give everything I had at the time. I had to cut down on some drills, do a little less than I normally do, and take a couple of breaks for water due to my dry/sore throat, but I made it. One of the good things about practicing while under the weather, though, is that I felt relaxed. Really relaxed, so even though I had less energy than normal I was able to keep up with everything going on because of it. I have a bad habit of tensing up but this has helped me to relax and just let me body flow with the drills.
Last night was a good night. Even though I was tired I felt like I could have gone for another practice. Or at least half of one. We started with Kirikaeshi, as we normally do, and then moved into Men strikes. We were instructed to pressure forward with our kensen and our front foot and the strike at the last second. I really like this way of striking, and I've been trying to remember to drive the left hand forward, as Billy pointed out one day. "Passing the microphone," as he put it. Next we worked on Kote and closing the distance. Not only closing the distance but using taiatari to take our partner's position and knock them out of place and off-balance.
Next we worked on Hiki Waza for a while, first with Men-Taiatari-Hiki Men and then Kote to taiatari and then either Men or Hiki Men, depending on the distance. I felt kinda slow with the second one, and I also feel funny just knocking people out of place. I guess it's something I'll have to get used to, though, as it can be very valuable to be able to disrupt people and move them out of center so I can strike. But one good thing is that I'm feeling a bit better with Hiki Waza, like I'm actually making some improvements. I was told during jigeiko by one of m partners that I was able to consistently strike him because right about the time he relaxed and thought I wouldn't hit him, I would do Hiki Men and catch him off-guard.
We did a few Ai-Men drills before jumping in waza-geiko. I tried to again focus on driving my left hand forward and keeping the center as I struck in Ai-Men, and was able to catch most people or at least neutralize their strike. For my waza-geiko time I concentrated on Kote-Men, as I have been doing for the past month or so. I think soon I will try moving into something like Kote-Men-Men or Kote-Kote-Men so I can start expanding on my footwork.
We had a long session of jigeiko last night, and I was able to fight most all of the Yudansha twice throughout the time. I had some good matches, too, and I really worked on keeping my kamae intact while they tried to take me out of center and also on pressuring in on them. A few people did comment on that, especially one of my buddies that said he could really feel me pressuring in on him when we were matched up. I've also been trying to mix up my waza and not do the same things over and over. I want to find new ways to strike Men, like the Yoko-Men drills we have been working on lately, or new ways to strike Kote-Men or pressuring in before striking or pressuring in to make them move where I want and then countering. There's definitely a lot to think about during these times. I also tried to keep my stance a bit shorter and closer, because I think I have been letting it get too wide and that is what was causing my hips to become sore and hurt. We'll see, hopefully I'll get a chance to talk to Sensei about it soon.
A few thoughts:
Billy - Watch my distance when fighting people in Jodan/Nito. I want to stay at MY distance, not give into theirs, and I also don't want to get in too close before I strike.
Ando Sensei - Ando Sensei said that I have a beautiful kamae and to continue to develop that. But he also has pointed out that I am still hesitating during jigeiko. I just need to "Close my eyes and hit Men."