Thursday, June 16, 2011

Long Time No Post

I'm still here, and I'm still practicing Naginata.  I haven't written anything because the things going through my head lately wouldn't take a whole entry.  They're mostly short, unrelated thoughts like:
  • It's amazing how much my mood lifts when I have a good Naginata practice, or conversely, how much it sinks when I'm planning to practice and discover that I can't.
  • For a while I was getting bored with the sheer repetition of doing engi (forms) a lot, but finding new details to focus on (like maintaining eye contact the entire time) helped me get over it.
  • One of the troubles of practicing with multiple groups of people is that I have multiple teachers who often contradict each other and I'm not quite sure who to listen to.
  • For one practice I was able to use a kashinagi[1] (all-wood naginata, in constrast to the standard bamboo+wood one).  It was really cool because it was heavy enough that I could actually feel what I was doing.  I want to practice with one more often!
  • The students at my base school are starting to use kote (wrist) and sune (shin) armor.  Although I don't have any, so far I've been able to practice with the students just fine without it.  That makes me happy.
  • I've decided to put off ordering bogu (armor) until I learn what schools I'll be at next term.  I might potentially be assigned to different schools, so it'd be a waste to order bogu I might not be able to use in a few months.
  • I am, however, planning on getting fitted for bogu in two weeks.  I'm traveling north to see the World Naginata Championships and figured I'd tack a few more things onto the trip.  I think my schools will probably stay the same, but a fitting won't lose me any money if they don't.
  • A couple weeks ago I saw my first Naginata tournament, between my base school and my visitation school.  It was really interesting.  I didn't even know there was team shiai (sparring) until I saw it!
  • My Naginata club has been bringing up lots of competitions to me.  I'm interested in participating, but my partner isn't ready for it yet.  It's kind of frustrating that competing in engi requires a partner.
  • Someone who studies Naginata in Northern California contacted me, which is nice because that's where I'm planning to move when I leave Japan (probably in about a year).
  • Although I would like to practice Naginata as often as I have the opportunity to do so (usually 4-5 times a week), the reality is that I can manage three times a week before I start feeling burnt out.

[1] かしăȘぎ in hiragana.