An early arrival at the dojo on this evening allowed me to spend a bit of time doing embu practice. My typical sequence at the moment is two kata from each koryu set and then either the odd or the even numbers of the seitei. If I can do this as "one movement" without anything being too bad then I am pretty pleased with myself - it certainly takes a lot of concentration.
As the others arrived and I started the class I could think of nothing more mind numbing that just allowing people to do free practice (= 50% standing around thinking about stuff) or everyone doing seitei 1-12. Instead I thought I would keep people's concentration a bit alive by starting with 1 and then going to 12, back to 2, then 11, then 3, then 10 etc. This seemed to make the thing feel a bit less like "7 kata down, 5 to go..." kind of practice.
As we went into free training I decided to work on the first three okuden suwari waza. The first two offer some specific difficulties for me. Kasumi is a bugger to do with a long sword (although I am the proud owner of the "kotsu" or bones of the form) and Sunegakoi is a bugger to do with long legs especially as you should end up at the same height at the point of the block as if you had one knee down.
I then spent some time working on Shihogiri and its myriads of kaewaza. I find this form so interesting in the pressures that the exponent is supposed to deal with, I really think that getting this one sorted would really move ones understanding of iai to another level. Ahh well, still quite a way to go...
Anyway, I then decided to spend some time helping Raj Jeer, one of our new visitors from the Midlands and with a Jikiden original background. He is always working so hard on his seitei and I saw him go through it a few times and asked him if he knew any koryu. On the basis that he didn't I thought I would put all that Oshita-sensei-translating time to some use and taught him the first 6 Omori ryu kata. I found this very enjoyable actually to have to spend some mental bandwidth remembering exactly what I was supposed to do. Raj picked it up well.
I would like to close on a mention of warming up. I have now put myself in the habit of spending about 20 minutes on warming up and stretching if I arrive early enough at each section. I try to do this systematically and stretch further than I would have to do in actually doing a kata. I am hoping that this will build up some core strength, improve flexibility, reduce wear and tear a bit and it definately makes me work better and for longer. I simply don't feel so fatigued towards the end of a class or the next day. I heartily recommend it.
Right I'm off to march up mountains in Wales...