Well. Last night was an interesting one. The last few weeks have been very jigeiko heavy. This is a good thing, as one has to be able to produce their kendo dynamically and in realtime. The downside of this is is that when you've been out of the dojo for two years the kendo that comes out can be pretty shoddy. So fortunately tonight we had an entire evening of kihon, which I felt was just what my kendo needed at this moment, ie: lots of focus on the basics.
Satoshi has returned and was sensei for us last nigt. We did the usual suburi warm up, followed by men, kote, and the three hiki waza across the dojo floor. We then did these cuts in armour paired up rotating. During this time the cuts felt very good, in a place where just doing more of this will improve the cuts and grind the right things into muscle memory rather than enforce habits. That is until I'm aware of the next set of things to work on. For the moment though, I'd be very happy do be doing this quality of cutting while in realtime fighting. We'll see how long until thats the case.
We also did a slowed down (uncompressed) kirikaeshi, which felt for me again just what I wanted my kirikaeshi to be. The problem of course arises when I'm doing it at full speed, at which point my arms become completely wooden and robotic (shut up... there could be a wooden robot out there somewhere). I'm not sure why this is. I think this will take some thought and experimenting to solve.
The rest of the lesson was: kirikaeshi, followed by the three hiki waza. For what felt like an hour but was probably more realistically 30-40 mins. Very long slow buildup of fatigue (which I'm sure was part of the point). This was a great exercise for paring down unneccesary movement, and those long repetetive exercises tend to be a great wat to bring out some imperfections in hand and footwork. For me this meant losing a very large chunk of skin from my left foot, which crippled my footwork for the last 20mins of practice, as I was limited to my left heel touching the ground after that point (this is A Bad Thing). So after hobbling out of the dojo in the end I'm hoping that my dressing of it today will do the job and allow me to practice tomorrow. My gut feeling is that I've got shoddy hiki footwork, and I'm using my left foot as a brake to stop my entire body's momentum too quickly rather than taking the correct sized backwards steps. We'll see. Besides robo-kirikaeshi though, arms felt relaxed and cuts felt very left wristy which is great.
All in all a good practice.