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Showing posts from August, 2014

Tachi Uchi No Kurai

I mentioned in a previous post that I enjoy Iaido, but can't put why into words yet. Apparently there is a word for that and it is alexithymia.

Once per month, my club does "Tachi Uchi No Kurai". We worked on the Koryū set on Sunday, which has 10 kata as part of it. The 10 are named as follows:

1. Ippon-me Deai
2. Nihon-me Tsukekomi
3. Sanbon-me Ukenagashi
4. Yonhon-me Ukekomi
5. Gohon-me Tsukikage
6. Ropon-me Suigetsutō
7. Nanahon-me Zetsumyōken
8. Hachihon-me Dokumyōken
9. Kyuhon-me Shinmyōken
10. Juppon-me Uchikomi

Tachi Uchi No Kurai is partner practice done with a Bokuto (wooden sword).

During Ukenagashi I was working with one of our new members, and he blocked somewhat correctly then moved his sword for some reason and I nailed him in the head due to the tension of my sword against the tension of his block, which suddenly disappeared. I think he learned what not to do when blocking.

We worked on 1 through 3. Here is a video that shows the set. It may not be exactly the way we do…

I'm not perfect, but I'm working on it... sort of.

Simple Plan's song "Perfect" is one that continues to speak to me on multiple levels.

I try to improve myself daily.

I meet people who judge me for various reasons. Mostly, I believe they are waging their own war inside and I just met them at the wrong time.

People who have severely wronged me, I forgive. Not immediately, but over time. Time doesn't lessen what they did, but allows me to experience things that lets me view situations in new light and bring about the understanding that their issues were probably more with themselves though my own reactions didn't help whatever the situation was either. I once dated a boy who cheated on me, tried to turn everyone I knew against me, then decided he would try to kill himself if I wouldn't go back to him. I called the police. I was 15 and at the time I swore he did all of that to punish me for breaking up with him after I met his other girlfriend. These days I realize he had his own crazy stuff going on inside that w…

I want to eat my cake!

I'm glad I was able to rearrange some things in life to make more room for Iaido. At class they went through techniques to strengthen my wrists, which will help me wield my sword better. There's the side-to-side movement, the up-and-down movement (regular), the up-and-down movement (back), and the one-handed cut. There may have been more, but my brain only allows so much in during the 8-9pm window after a long day of work.

This was to help me improve my Ippon-me Mae technique as I have been focusing too much on the cut and not on the draw when the cut is really supposed to be a small wrist movement instead of a giant swing of the arm. I should get the sword unsheathed, then flick the wrist in warning rather than attempt to harm the attacker right off, and then come down on the centerline and cut them severely.

My sword made noise several times! The problem I am having seems to be that when I can do a cut that makes noise, I can't stop at the right target and vice versa. Some…

My First Time Teaching

So, unbeknownst to three of us, class was cancelled on Sunday. I was the most senior student present and the newer students wanted to practice anyway and voted that I lead them through kata. With that came a mix of honour and terror. I'm a no rank... I shouldn't be teaching anything. One of them talked me into it given that I've been practicing the art for a year now.

I led them through etiquette slowly as it's one of those areas I struggle with despite how simple it should be.

We didn't do an extensive amount of work on Ippon-me Mae or Nihon-me Ushiro as they felt they knew those the best. We lingered on Sanbon-me Ukenagashi, Yonhon-me Tsuka-ate, and Gohon-me Kesagiri. I tried to explain the scenarios as best as I could. I didn't know the grading points well enough to be able to critique them.

We spent the most time on the standing kata as one of them had sore knees. We did each standing kata about 5 times. I forgot the name of the eighth kata (Happon-me Ganmen-a…

A fool and his money...

Today's proverb is, "A fool and his money are soon parted."

This proverb implies that foolish people spend money carelessly. I disagree. What may seem careless to one, is not to another. Some people are more simple than others. The things they like may be collecting DVDs and comic books, so if a windfall happens to them, they are likely to spend the money on furthering their collections and maybe some on repaying debt. One doesn't have to understand why a person might place great enjoyment in such things. Spending money on something you enjoy isn't a waste. In my opinion, spending money on things you don't enjoy is a waste. If one is in the habit of going to social events simply because it would look bad if they didn't go, and they have a bad time, doesn't that imply they are a fool? Each of us has a finite number of hours to live. We don't know our number, only that our time will eventually run out. Why foolishly waste time judging others instead …

A bad workman...

Today's proverb is, "A bad workman blames his tools."

I don't fully agree with this. There is merit to it as some people just look for excuses to avoid doing something. There are valid reasons to having the right tool though.

Take process mapping, for example. Yes, one can process map by hand or use paper-based methods involving sticky notes (I've seen it), but at some point it becomes rather cumbersome to maintain and a realization that the paper could become damaged and a lot of work could be lost, occurs. Sticky notes fall off. Plus, it's hard to share a very large paper copy with others without them having to come to a specific site to see it. Putting it into a computer-based tool like Visio becomes a necessity. Not all versions of Visio are created equal. Some versions one may spend inordinate amounts of time trying to get something to work, where a newer version lets you document the process in seconds because they constantly improve the tool.

Yes, you can…

Tameshigiri - Summer 2014

In preparation for tameshigiri, Green Sensei rolled and soaked straw mats overnight.



The water helps make the mats feel more like a human body, which is important as Tameshigiri is test cutting. Tameshigiri is where we see how close our technique is to being applicable should we need to whip out our swords and cut something.

Last year, I simply did 2 or 3 cuts. This year, I tested out several specific cuts.

I tested out the horizontal cut that is employed in Ippon-me Mae. This one was done well according to Green Sensei.

The rest of my cuts had issues. I appear to have trouble with following through in my cuts, so my blade would hack into the mats rather than slice nicely. If you're hacking with a katana, you're not doing it right.

I tested out the first cut from Gohon-me Kesagiri, and it was a fail. I wasn't close enough to make proper contact.

I did a centerline cut and the sword got stuck in the mats. I was about to attempt to pull the blade out the way we do for Kyuhon-me So…

Birth

I feel like I have a special connection to Lauryn Hill's song "To Zion".

My mom was told to abort me for health reasons. She had previously had a heart attack and the doctor didn't think her heart could withstand a pregnancy. My mom stubbornly refused. Having a little girl was important to her and she was adamant that I was a girl though it was too early to know such a thing. Thanks for being stubborn mom; it literally saved my life.

I was an 80s baby. I grew up in a time when it was nothing to send your kid to buy your smokes and penny candies cost 1 cent, back when the penny still existed before they started taxing them. We rarely played inside the house or needed gadgets to amuse ourselves. Hide-and-seek, truth-or-dare, and random shenanigans like skinny dipping were common forms of entertainment. Sure we played video games like space invaders, pole position, and frogger, but mostly we preferred to hang out in nature. At least before Nintendo and Mario came along.

Pe…