Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Two Paths, Same Destination

This whole week Sinclair Sensei and his family, as well as a few dojo members, are gone on vacation so it's been left to the yudansha to help run the show while they're away.  I've been tasked with leading and teaching the intermediate classes.  This is something I'm used to and do often, but when I'm left to myself with no clear lesson plan it's always a challenge.  I have to take a look at the students and where they're at in their development, and try to put together a class that is appropriate for them.  Also trying to introduce the basics of new ideas, but not overwhelming them, is interesting.  If anyone has led a class, I'm sure they know what I mean.  Being that I'm only shodan, I definitely have a lifetime worth of kendo knowledge and technique left to learn, but I do the best with what I have and what I've been taught. 

Ando Sensei took over teaching our main class last night, and he led a very good, and exhausting, practice.  I've always marveled at the way that he and Sinclair Sensei have two entirely different ways of teaching, but they are both conveying the same information.  For example, the way they explain a small men strike is vastly different from each other, but I can see that the mechanics of both of them are exactly the same in practice.  I wonder if this is what others experience from sensei at their dojo.  It reminds me of how people learn in different ways.  Some learn by reading, some by doing.  Some by repetition, etc.  But no matter the different ways of learning they are all learning the same thing.  This might not be a big, profound idea to a lot of people, but it's always good for me to see the two different teaching styles working together to drive us all to the same goal.

I hurt myself about a week ago, bruised my heel on a wrong step, so I've been taking it pretty easy recently with training and when given the time I've been working on my kaeshi dou strike.  I realized that the main reason I'm so bad at it is my timing is way off.  I not only block/counter too late, but I make two motions instead of just one smooth movement from the block into the counter.  So, to save my foot and let it heal, I've been practicing just the block and strike itself with very little body movement.  This one simple point to focus on has done wonders for my kaeshi dou, and I'm able to strike quickly and more on target than I ever have been able to with this technique.  Once everything is back to 100% with my body I'll start doing full-fledged kaeshi dou drills and see if I can incorporate the strike I've been working on with the body movement.  It also doesn't hurt that Ando Sensei broke down the movement for us to the very, very basics last night, and I hope to use that later on, as well.

Not too much to write about this go-round, but it's been a slow process trying to recover from that one wrong step.  Let this be a lesson to always push forward and never hesitate at the last second!

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