I visited a friend in Peterborough, Ontario this weekend. Peterborough is a lovely city with an unfortunate lack of employment. It’s located in the Land of Lakes or Kawarthas in Ontario.
From 9 am to Noon, we practiced Iaido. This is double the length of my usual practice time, so I am a bit sore today. Apparently, part of my soreness is likely related to having an incorrect, a.k.a. “Death Grip” on the tsuka (handle). My friend showed me how to fix it and it’s similar to how one grips a steering wheel on a car. This should make my muscles less fatigued, stop my right hand from sliding, and improve my cutting technique.
I did a lot of work on Juppon-me Shihogiri. I need to ensure I am hitting low enough on the hand strike while keeping my heel on the ground, that my heels have the correct placement for the stab (my right heel is the issue), step with the left foot to make the first cut, stop pausing so much in between each movement as it’s supposed to flow, and I think I’m okay with the final cut.
I’ve identified why I often do noto improperly. Doing noto properly makes the blade run across my breast. I know I won’t have a cutting edge for about 15 years from now, but I’m sure my blade shouldn’t be there ever. My friend suggested I try the shinden version of noto instead. I’ll have to check with my sensei to see if that would be acceptable.
We also worked on Ju Ippon-me Sougiri, which is probably my favourite kata of the setei set. Cut one to the face, two from shoulder to solar plexus, three from ribs to belly button, four slice left to right across the hip/lower abdominals area, and five a center cut from head to obi.
I’ve been using my arm muscles too much while cutting and it’s more about using the obliques and whatever muscles are at the side ribs. I’m rather bony there, so I’m doubtful that I have muscles there currently, but my friend assures me they are there. He said it’s also about using your quadriceps.
We also worked on Ju Nihon-me Nukiuchi. The main thing for this one is to ensure you get yourself out of the way of your attacker, then don’t waste time before cutting them down. I have to remember to step forward at the end since this is one of the few where we step back at the beginning.
We also worked on Ippon-me Mae because everything is Mae. I’m not sure I fully understand how everything is Mae, but I have no doubt that one day I will. My friend corrected my technique to ensure that I will actually be cutting the person as before I would likely miss. I have to remember to push my right hip forward, which makes the sword tip reach out farther without screwing up my balance.
We did some Nihon-me Ushiro also. The points from Ippon-me Mae apply, but I also need to take less sword out as I’m pivoting and I’m afraid I forget the last bit.
After Iaido, we hit the pub for some grub, which was great because after the 3 hours, I was starving! It was great seeing the people I met at the Guelph seminar again!!!
Hopefully, I can apply all my learnings to my technique going forward.
I want to thank Wilson Sensei for letting me drop-in and practice with the club 🙂