This summary is for the morning session in Almere.
Class got off to a slow start. People came in a bit too late, so we only got things on the road by 0925. In the end, turnup was not bad with eight guys in bogu and about a dozen beginners without armor. We started with the usual warming-up, after which we quickly went into seiretsu. While Loyer-sensei took the utmost beginners aside, the novices joined the more advanced group for kihon practice. The guys in bogu acted as motodachi, while the novices practiced oki-men and oki-kote-men.
Then, waza practice! We started with basic kirikaeshi, men and kote-men drills, then quickly moving onto more advanced materials: double hiki-men, hiki-kote-men and hiki-men-kote-do. As Kris and Hillen explained, the object is to push the envelope on our grasp of distance and footwork. In these drills it’s no use to over-think your actions as a lot of it comes down to feeling what you’re doing. You do an exercise, then you very quickly analyse your actions and then go on with another drill. The basics come down to:
- Start in taiatari.
- Your left foot moves backwards while your shinai moves back just enough to get a clear shot.
- You fumikomi when striking and land about a foot behind where you started.
- The second strike is made with fumikomi in the exact same spot.
- The third strike is made in the same spot, with the fumikomi launching you backwards.
As was said, if you overthink this then you’ll just get stuck as I did. I tried to do the exercises in slow motion, but then everything fell apart. Instead, try it at 0.8 or really just 1.0 of the desired speed.
The latter part of practice was spent on reacting to motodachi’s men and kote attacks. For those people joining the NK next week, we did short practice shiai.
Class was closed with some reminders from the teachers.
- Loyer-sensei warned the beginners that they’re hitting with right way too much. This makes for huge movements, instead of properly small movements.
- Hillen and Kris-fukushou repeated the need for tension in a shiai. Stay close, don’t let up! If something goes wrong, don’t care and definitely do not show frustration. If you allow frustration to set in, you will ruin your chances. This also goes for practice in class: if you let yourself get discouraged, it will affect your whole training.