Kendo was interesting tonight.
We haven’t had as many attendees these last few weeks, probably due to the holidays. Last week, barely 9 beginner-to-intermediate level people came, plus 4 or 5 instructors. That made for an intense practice, let me tell you! On the plus side, one of the women who went to this years National tournament complimented my progress, and said that she could take it up a notch when fighting me!
But tonight, we had a good number of intermediates, and only one person too new for bogu. This meant we had a much closer instructor-to-student ratio, and more hands-on instruction. I always appreciate getting tips on what to work on, and am frustrated when I get through a practice without anyone pointing out something to work on. I know I’m not doing it perfect, but need the pointers to improve my technique!
However, being a sensitive fellow, and hating the spotlight, I always get this weird feeling in the pit of my stomach, and my eyes start bugging out, whenever a sensei comes over and gives me pointers. It’s the oddest sensation. I’m happy to be getting instruction, and try to look attentive, with this horrible grinding spinning through my gut. I know they are not picking on me, or being mean, and I don’t know why I get all figgley inside.
But tonight, during warm-ups, I was doing the do strike with some kind of funky form. I’d step forward diagonal, while swinging up, then the sweeping strike downward towards an opponent’s belly, turning the shinai so that the blade would strike the imaginary opponent in front of me. My hands would wind up somewhere out in front of me, outstretched.
Sylvette noticed this, and paused the warm-ups. She came over, and demonstrated the correct form, watched me attempt this, made corrections, explained it some more and answered my questions about hand positioning and the swing. When she was satisfied, she went back to the front, and restarted practice.
And amazingly, I realized I did not feel the least bit awkard, figgley, or stressed during the instruction. Even though the entire class was paused, I did not feel the spotlight bearing down on me, and went right on into practice as if nothing were wrong.
We got right back into the groove of practice, and I tried to apply what I had just learned. I pulled some tips out of a few other sensei, and worked hard.
It was a difficult practice, intense in effort due to the low number of people present, but it was good. I like being completely sore the next day, and my technique improved.