Thursday, 24 June 2010
I have discovered (not the first person, I’m sure) one of the best methods of training and improving Seiteigata – teach it to beginners. I spent a good half of the lesson just trying to instil a bit more understanding of Seitei to our lower grades including a member of the Monday-night beginners’ class.
By carefully explaining both the rationale and the methodology I found it can really remind you how and what to do. It sometimes feels like a wakening up after having spent so much time improving “performance” and somehow putting to the back of your mind what the basic movements are.
I handed over to Harry about half way through and set my sights on tackling one of the most challenging kata for me – Sunegakoi! This kata which for those whose memory of Okuden might fail them is similar to Toraissoku but requires one to move groin-scrapingly close to the floor to block the shin before swiftly forwards and delivering the coup-de-grace.
This is, for someone as lanky as me, quite difficult. I find that getting my toes under quickly enough to be the first stumbling block and then remaining balanced as the leg moves back to be the next. Then, just when I think that that’s the easy bit done with, I have to move an overly long sword into a blocking position that seems to defy the laws of biology. The moving in and cutting is the easy bit but the fact that one should remain at the same height more or less for the duration of the kata is of course quite a struggle.
Anyway I asked my teacher for some help and looked at how he moved the image I have memorised seems reasonable enough, I think I just need to get my legs strengthened up (surprise surprise). Actually not surprising is the fact that I used to be able to do this with relative ease and it is only through lack of practice and perhaps a widening of the waistline that is causing the problems I am now facing. In my personal opinion this kata warrants a lot of practice on my part as I feel it is the one in seated Okuden that I have most problem with purely from a flexibility and strength perspective.
At the end of this session our teacher commanded us through the Seitei, Shoden and Chuden which I found quite invigorating. I think I need to get the endorphins running some time to get my iaido really working.