Disclaimer and Stuff

Firstly I would like to say that all of the material contained within this blog is of my own opinion and any inaccuracies in technical content or other's personal quotations are completely my own.

Secondly I would like to thank everyone in advance where I have used photos of you or photos you have taken. I have quite a library of digital photos and virtually no record of who took them so I hope you will take this general thanks as adequate gratitude. If there are any photos of you or taken by you that you would like removed please let me know.

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7th dan iaido grading due in

Friday, 24 December 2010

Iaido Training Session 38 and some thoughts from 2010

Ah, some peace and quiet at last on Christmas Eve for me to catch up with some budo stuff. Last Wednesday was the last training session before the non-existant dojo break for Xmas and there was only a few of us down so it was a pleasant session.

I am working with Cezary to help develop his Okuden Tachiwaza which is going slowly and steadily. I started off using just the bokuto to continue to give my arm a rest but then felt a bit compelled to use my shinken again. I found that I had got used to the bokuto's length and had to have a few double takes at doing noto. Doing Okuden Tachiwaza doesn't have much in the way of horizontal nukitsuke or ochiburi so it wasn't too hard on my arm but I have decided to give in to just using the bokuto for the next few weeks. I will see how I feel at the Kangeiko on the 8th Jan...

I wanted to add something here, to say something to all the people who have given me feedback and advice from this blog since it's beginning. I have read everything you have written or said very carefully and while I sometimes cannot completely incorporate the feedback you have kindly provided, it has in some way influenced what I am doing and how I train in the future.

One of the quite common bits of feedback I have received (and this has been from about 3 people) is the surprise that I have put so much emphasis on physical technical correctness. I have written very little about feeling, mental state or emotional content and to this I should respond honestly. The extremely pendantic level of detail I am applying to my training is only part of the training itself that I am undergoing. Let me explain point by point:
  1. Firstly, no matter how I or anyone else justifies doing a more mental or "spiritual" approach to their training, it is the raw and visible technical correctness which will gain most attention on the day of the grading. No matter how alert, aware or intense ones' approach on the day, if they muck up technically, I strongly and assertively believe that they will fail their grading. I don't want to fail and so I am spending a lot of time and concentration on "perfecting" the physical side of the art given the time that I have allocated to training since 5th dan.
  2. One of my own personal objectives for my 6th dan is to drastically reduce and eradicate technical incorrectness. While I realise that technical development continues until death, I want the achievement of my 6th dan to put me in a place where I can work on other stuff rather than sheer technical correctness. Whatever one thinks, there is another side to physical training other than just getting it right (e.g. depth and fluidity of performance) and I want to use this training objective to get to that place.
  3. I do focus on other parts of the martial arts training however these are incredibly difficult to regurgitate into speech or type. The feeling I get when I do a taikai or an embu, the rush of excitement that I feel when I accelerate into Koranto, the natural pauses that occur in a form which seem to be dictated by something outside of oneself - these are all things which are very personal and though primarily this blog is for my own benefit, I am not yet ready to record these things. By analysing them and describing them I am probably misinterpreting them and would be doing them no justice by writing about them at the moment. I find it easier to talk about feeling and the training behind this when doing Jodo, for me Iaido is just a bit too personal to reveal at the moment.
  4. Spreadsheets and Iaido - WTF?!? Well, one uses the resources that are available to them at the time. Perhaps warriors of old took themselves into the mountains and trained for a year living on berries and nuts. I am not likely to be doing this anytime soon. What I do have at my disposal is a professional experience in statistical analysis and some knowledge and experience in coaching and learning styles. By doing this kind of analysis, provided the input data is accurate enough, I can focus my training on those things that really need it rather than "throcking" or focussing on something which actually is adequate for my level.
I will finish this section by quoting something which I will talk about again in the future. This relates to the broader areas of my training including those which will develop my character and my emotional bearing. I will not reveal them in any detail now but all the training that I am writing about is only one of three arms to my 6th dan preparation. Let's call this Project Delta (as it is a kind of triangle of development) for a laff and I can then refer to it again later. Certain things must take place though before I talk about them so there's no point prompting me on them, suffice to say, personally training myself is only one of the three bits of development.

Anyway, the main point of this emotional review is to say thank you to everyone who has given me any feedback on this blog, whether it's some advice or just a point of praise - every single bit of this feedback prompts me to carry on doing this.

30mins to Xmas day, I'm off. Have a good Xmas and I look forward to training with you in 2011.