Well, how exciting! On Saturday we trained hard, as usual, and I was quite tired during gi keiko. It was a little discouraging to face senior after senior and be unable to compete adequately with them, even though they were kind and allowed opportunities to strike. I felt discouraged to feel like I had no way of "getting to them". Thankfully Sempai Amigo gave me some very useful advice. He could see is was wasting energy by striking without commitment. Without commitment, no point could be scored anyway. I took on his advice and tried to be more selective about my strikes when facing the next opponents.
Then came shiai - Red versus White teams as usual. The Red team looks very strong and has many experienced Kendoka. White team has a great variety of young, old, inexperienced, etc. - it was time to face off.
Perhaps the two biggest surprises of the day came from me and Adam. I faced the fantastic sempai Leo again. In my mind I was determined to perform well. I quickly exchanged my large handled heavy shinai for my new, light, small handled AAAA shinai. It is really nice and has "fight" engraved on the bamboo. [Sensei Marleen had told me she really liked the word.] I hoped it would bring me luck... and it did! I managed to score a men cut to poor Leo [he must have been going easy on me] using a technique I picked up during gi keiko. I struck in counter attack and it worked! I was so shocked that I couldn't even breathe from when the flags went up until after I bowed out. So exciting!
Then I felt bad for Leo, but he was so cool afterwards, coming over and congratulating me, promising to 'get me' next time. Our club has such wonderful humble characters in it.
After me came Adam and one of our club champs - George! Adam has been training so diligently and with such excellence it maybe should be no surprise that he managed to score a point and defeat George! He did it in 6 seconds. Everyone was surprised by our victories. We were proud to help our team get to a six to one victory.
It was great for us too. Some encouragement that eventually we can be good like our talented sempai... if we keep training hard and listening to all the advice.
Thank you for all the help, team!