In preparation for tonight's class I hope everyone gets this latest news update and will think ahead about how they approach their training.
Training usually follows a similar set pattern:
warm-up > suburi > kihon/kiri-kaeshi > jigeiko
There is reason for this order, because each part supports and informs the next part. You do not undertake strenuous exercise without a proper warm up. Once you have done the warm up suburi will teach you tenouchi. By practicing without someone in front of you you should be able to see distinctly where you are cutting, to the correct height specified. Each and every cut should be made to this height and tenouchi, the tensing/wringing motion made with the hands at the point of impact, should stop your cut at this desired height.
Without suburi practice you do not undertake kihon practice, otherwise when you come to be hitting living human beings you will be treating them like tent pegs and pounding them into the ground. Understanding of tenouchi is essential to prevent inflicting pain on your practice partner and it is important that lessons learned in one exercise are carried forward into the next.
Similarly the skills learned in kihon practice are the exact same skills used in in jigeiko, free practice. Abandoning those areas you have just been practicing to deliver some sort of 'win at all costs' kendo is missing the point. You are only short changing yourself because those skills are not being translated to the real world scenario. Equally nerves and the stresses of free practice can rob you of the abilities you have been exploring. Take time to compose yourself and do good, basic, big cuts with tenouchi and strong kiai and zanshin.
Please try to focus hard on the instructions given tonight. We will be going through a period of consolidation of all the basics to form a good foundation for your future kendo. Please try to come with a ready spirit and willingness to improve, that's all we ask.