Hi everyone, with the grading closing in fast upon us i wanted this week to talk a little about training intensity and some different points about our progression the way i see them. I hope you all enjoy.
Time spent training
It is important to find time to train, in all things we do the old maxim 'practice makes perfect' will always hold true, we would never trust a doctor to operate if we were to discover they had never practiced their craft in a ny way shape or form. Our training should eventually become a part of our life, because what we do has no conceivable end, so Iaijutsu is a lifelong study, you may as well enjoy it. Once a sensei said 'i always train everyday for one hour, unless i cannot find the time.... Then instead i train for two instead.'
Time in the class
With the time spent training comes also the need to train under supervision, the two should not be mutually exclusive, it is only with somebody who knows the journey you are on that you can sometimes find the answer to what you are doing and why, or where you may be training in mistakes that could become larger hurdles in your training at a later point down the line. Remember there is no substitute for time spent within the dojo.
Intensity whilst training
The intensity we put into our training is to me a very interesting concept, some people will always want to push as hard and as quick as they can, always striving for stronger quicker cuts, for some they may wish always to train at a far slower pace, feeling every motion as it comes and passes. My belief about training intensity is that you should modulate this as much as possible, there are some techniques that change in nature purely because of the feel and intensity that they are executed. So we need to develop strong technique, but likewise we need to feel the technique also, only through regularly altering our intensity will our waza come to life.
Being too hard on ourselves
There is always a tendency for people training in everything to be too hard on ourselves. I have said before about the ups and downs of our training, this is natural, it is the same within all that we do, it is in the troughs where we can become disenchanted, this can (if left unchecked) become a massive problem, we all need to be realistic about where we are, but that being said we need to see where we have come from. We must remember that the person stood in front who can make that cut or deflection look natural and unforced may have practiced the particular technique 1000's or maybe even 10's of 1000's of times before, the key is to remember they were in the same place as you are also.
Beining too easy on ourselves
Being too hard on ourselves also has an evil twin!! Being too easy on ourselves can be equally as destructive to our ego and negatively affect our training, with the plateaus and troughs discussed in the previous paragraph, there can be a desire to go easy when we are at a plateau, this can create complacency within the individual. We need to always keep in mind that the martial art we train was a very practical thing, its creation was purely from practical brutal necessity, complacency could quite simply 'Get you killed.' We need to always be alert, always be ready for a change in situation and circumstances, this is all a natural core part of Metsuke no Enzen and Zanshin.
Developing within the group
And finally developing within the group, we are very lucky in that we have a healthy group of individuals who all want to push one another forward, when we train as a group we develop different skills from the solo practice, diplomacy is every bit as much a part of Iai as is drawing the sword and vanquishing your opponent. It is the life giving and the life taking sword. Once the sword has left the saya it is too late for diplomacy, there is only one of three solutions at that point. But alos when we work as a group, there is another pair of eyes to help improve technique and promote a positive intensity within our training.
As always i will end with a massive thank you to everyone who is or has been a positive contributor to the club and for making it the club we know and love today, remember that intensity will always help us improve, it is a tool to help us all grow as beginner Iaidoka...
Have a great weekend and see you all tomorrow!!