Last week and yesterday class was led by Jouke-sempai, who was in the Netherlands for last weekend’s EKC. Where we usually practice upwards of six techniques a night in 2x(2×5) bouts, he now had us repeating the same technique in a 2x(5min) setup. Instead of doing one technique five times twice, we now keep going back and forth until “Yame!” is called.
This dramatically lowered the amount of different things we got to try, but there are two huge benefits:
- Muscle memory
- The time to reflect
During kihon practice we focused on men (both oki and hayai), hayai kote and kote-men and finally hiki waza. The following points were made:
- When receiving a kote strike, do not simply turn the shinai to the left. Instead raise your shinai as if deflecting a strike to men. This opens up your kote in a much more credible sense.
- This is why we practiced hayai kote in two ways. First we pressure and simply go for kote. Then we pressure for men and when motodachi opens we strike kote.
Tsuyuguchi-sensei spent a lot of his time explaining hiki waza to me. Most of it was in Japanese (probably because I had given the impression that I speak it) so I missed big parts of it. However, the essence of what he tried to convey is this:
- Keep your hands low and lock the tsuba.
- Tsubazeriai is all about the hips, push from the hips.
- Put strong pressure against your opponent and push away.
- Did I say it’s about the hips? Because you need to work from the hips!
- Where you strike depends on the reaction of your opponent, on where his hands and shinai go to.
I really appreciate the effort he put into explaining these things to me! It’s the first time we’ve really spoken, so I went up to him after class to thank him again. Point #3 is a bit confusing for me personally, because I have often been told not to put any pressure in tsubazeriai. Not until you actually push off for your strike.