What can I say but "ouch"! I sit and write this just after i got from my first bogu experience - training tonite as the Hornsby Club.
Man, Oh Man - am i sore - covered in blue dye too and bruises everywhere - right elbow, right ribs and left ass :-) I feel like Mike Tyson's boxing bag - well battered!
Where do I start....i arrive at Hornsby tonite and find that its me and another guy both in bogu for the first time - glad someone else is there who is also "fresh meat" :-)
We line up for seiza and when it comes to don the men, I actually manage to tie my tenegui but need Doug's help with my men - at least its tied up now correctly!
My first impressions? Very awkward and feeling like i'm a rank beginner again!!!! Boy does this feel uncomfortable - limited vision, more weight on my head and its so weird holding a shinai wearing kote! Not to mentioned now being half deaf.....
Anyway....we start of with kiri kaeshi and its bad - very awkward and my cuts of just crap - small cuts rather than large ones and its pretty distressing when I get men cuts for the first time (not something you get taught in beginners - how to receive men cuts). I'm finding that the flaps of my new men are also still very stiff and keep restricting my shoulders and lifting off arms - really need to break it in!!!!!
As for technique that I refined over the last 6 months or so.....it flew out the door!!!! I was trying to get used to this new unfamiliar environment that everything was crap - mis-directed cuts, no tenouchi and my kiai was bad - too much throat and no enough diaphram!!!
We then covered some basics - kihon men, kote, do follow by nihon waza - kote men and finally sundan waza - kote, men, do. It was *really* strange having to receive cuts and move back - again something not learnt in the beginners class!!! After this we covered suriage waza and oji waza - again all new stuff for me!
After that it was onto ji-geiko...and boy, was this a challenge!!! I had no idea what to do so i just tried kote and men cuts and actually landed a few!!! Copped cuts everywhere and even went arse over with my men and tenegui flying off and getting a serving from Doug about denying other people - I thought that was a bit harsh..anyway it allowed me to catch my breathe! I was absolutely knackered - with a capital K - I mean big time...i need to improve my fitness! I was so tired in the last j-geiko I could hardly lift my arms and my breathe was laboured!!!! Talk about bloody hard work!!!!
It came as a huge relief to take off my bogo at the end of training!
Some key points I learnt:
Miai - very important to keep distance otherwise i could wear a shinai in the throat :-)
Kiai - more diaphram than throat - not fun sounding like Kermit the frog...all croaky!
Aggression - Need to be aggressive and land cuts and follow through....not to worry about defence but just attack.
Footwork - Fortwork is critical, especially since you need to turn your whole body instead of your head.....which leads to...
Posture - drive forward with the hips and keep a straight posture or you could wear one on the back of the men....easier to launch attacks as well with good posture.
Overall, it was a great training session - a huge lift in intensity but a really new, weird environment to train in. I'm now covered in bruises and will no doubt be sore for the next few days. It will be a huge struggle to make Willoughby training tomorrow. Saturday looks more likely.
Again, really need to work on my fitness - damn hard to play Kendo when your out of breathe and your muscles are burning and its a struggle to get your shinai to chudan no kamae.....i can see now why so many people quit Kendo at this stage....
Anways....i shall keep going and aim to improve my kendo and fitness at the same time!
Until next time....