It's probably a good time now to take a few notes on the holiday suburi. I wasn't able to do any my first morning here due to my luggage having been left in Houston by the airline. On the 1st morning of suburi I decided on the following setup.
38 kirikaeshi sets (8 cut)
The haya was to get warmed up right off the bat after stretching, the joguburi was to make sure everything was nice and loose, and shomen for a little 'real' cutting before going into the kirikaeshi exercise. I'm still having trouble with the armwork in kirikaeshi. I'm starting to feel a creeping doubt as to whether my mental picture of what a proper kirikaeshi feels like is actually correct. It is muddled at best. I believe I'm going to have to get some outside help in the matter as without that image to go for it'd be very easy to hammer some bad stuff into the muscles. We'll see. I do however believe I'm not actually getting any worse at doing it, in the sense that I'm still paying attention to left/right balance, and keeping the left hand on the centre line rather than floating. The problem I have is that the more flexible and loose my cutting feels, the more my left hand floats about, I'm not entirely sure how wrong that is. The difficulty I'm having is how widely varied people's kirikaeshi is, so comparing to a 'known good' kirikaeshi isn't easy. I reckon the way to solve this is to start looking for the consistencies in the higher grade's kirikaeshi, in addition to actually asking people about some of my mechanical issues with the exercise.
I've also taken along the oar bokken just for an extra challenge and for the extra visibility it gives to errors in technique (due to the weight all th elittle muscular sorenesses and skin wear get exaggerated). I've of course promptly given my hand a peppering of blisters and sore muscles that make for really good tells. There's a particularly bad one on the left palm, telling me I'm levering the handle too much in the hand, so I've got to get my left hand on the top of the handle rather than to the side of it. It's not -too- bad technique-wise, but unfortunately I have had to stop today (my 3rd session, as I took christmas morning off) at around 300 cuts to let the thing heal up. It's tended to properly so will see how it's going tomorrow, but typically it takes 2-4 days for the skin to toughen back up to a usable state. Really it depends on how much one can avoid direct wear on the exposed layer, and depends on what exercises are involved. Tomorrow may be doable without any yoko-men exercises. We'll see.