Training was intense today. We started with the body conditioning exercises then moved into idori kata. After this we practised a set of kata that was new for me involving the short sword versus the long sword and then we finished with some intense training moving through the various sets of taijutsu kata at pace.
I enjoy the idori as it has similarities to the suwari waza of aikido and my body responds well to it. I can keep my alignment intact and maintain my centre most of the time. My taijutsu technique is getting sharper and quicker all the time and I've had moments of disappearing into the kata to find myself at the end of it without really remembering the steps. You know, that feeling you get while driving a car and you realise you have just driven the last 10 minutes without being fully conscious of it. This is an indicator to me that my body is internalising the movements.
The short sword kata were challenging Timing is extremely important in these kata as the opponent with the longer blade has the advantage. I only worked on the first one of this set as I had not been exposed to them before and that was enough. It was tough.
As for the sword work in general? Terrible! For some reason, when I pick up a bokken my body alignment goes downhill. It is frustrating to say the least because I feel off balance or not centred and I am struggling to fix it. Of course, sensei notices as well and is constantly reminding me how I'm doing it wrong. To top it off, we train the sword work on Wednesday evenings when my brain is trying to shut down for the day. There are times I really hate that training but I continue to turn up because I know I am progressing at some level.
Now my first, new sword is arriving any day from the Kaicho and I am very excited as this will mean I can train at home and work out this issue I have with sword work. Having a blade custom made is quite humbling it makes it mine in every sense of the word. Another member of the group brought back a cheaper version from Japan and it is quite obvious how the quality differs. It is one thing to see these swords on a website but quite another to see them, hold them and inspect the quality close up.