Saturday, July 25, 2009

Kiyama-Sensei basically said to quit worrying about anything in the kata except making the cut incredibly powerful. His cuts are absolutely incredible. On the street he's a little, kindly old Japanese grandfather. At 85 years old, and maybe 5 ft tall, in a floppy hat and casual shirt, he doesn't seem powerful or unusual. He is though. I'm still working on the complete physical integration that he has, but a couple more little pieces came through for me this year. He calls it "heso powa-", literally, belly button power. He ties everything together with koshi and drives that through the blade's kissaki. It's really incredible, and it's going to take some time to get right. When I try it, I often end up tensing the wrong things, and my head will bob up and down as the unstablized powere I'm generating finds an exit through something other than the sword. I think it did it right a couple of times while I was there, but it's going to take some work to see if I've really got it.

Of course, once I get this down, then it has to be integrated into my practice without disturbing all of the other things I've worked on, like timing, spacing, pacing, movement, and other stuff I'll regret forgetting.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Budo and Old Friends

I went to Japan for a week to see my friends. I did some incredible jodo with Matsuda Shihan, and judo with old friends (and we all felt old in the heat), and iaido with Kiyama Sensei. It was wonderful. Each time I get a little more. This time I understood a bit about what Kiyama Sensei is pointing me at. I'm not sure I'm looking at the moon he's pointing me to, but I think I may have stopped focusing on his finger finally. I didn't catch on the to lesson in the dojo though. It was on a Saturday morning at his house, watching old budo videos and commenting back and forth. I think I finally got what he's been trying to tell me for years. Now I just have to translate it from understanding to expression.