The Cold Fire...
Not much to report on last Wednesday's practice to be honest so I will focus on our National Taikai which took place last Saturday for Iaido and Sunday for Jodo. The theme for this blog entry is what you gain out of losing and I can certainly say that it is significant at this point.
This year gave the 5th dans the opportunity to do one koryu for their individual's and then follow up with no.2 and no.6. Throughout the early part of the competition I varied my koryu to get the feel of what was working but then settled on Oroshi as things started to get serious. In the end I finalled with Harry and knew that this was going to be difficult. I knew that Harry could be very smooth so I aimed for sharpness and tried to make the forms look like a real fight. Everything seemed to go smoothly and then...I lost 3-0.
I was a bit surprised as I came off as was Harry and we asked if either of us did anything wrong. Nothing seemed to come to light.
As we went into the team event again I lost a flag once and was a bit perplexed. The forms felt quite vigorous. I started to suspect that this vigour was getting the better of me and maybe was too fast for some judges' taste. In the final we were up against our same dojo with Harry as the last player as was I. We were even when Harry and I went on and I thought about how to get this shiai.
I cooled, I calmed...I did the kata. It went smoothly again. I don't think I went any slower to be honest. I won 2-1 (I wasn't surprised to drop that one flag).
There was something different though and I think I have sensed it in doing Jodo Kage before, a certain coolness and quietness to the performance which gives it a fire of its own. Maybe it's tame, maybe it's something else. It seemed to work and felt very nice.
First day back home after the event so might write more on this later.