I just arrived in Chicago, now (13/07/2008). It was a very nice trip. I traveled in business class (Lufthansa) due to overbooking of my flight in the economy class, it was absolutely wonderful! We were on time and none of my luggage was lost!
I am actually waiting for my Chicago's friends coming back from Italy. Since they are coming with an Alitalia flight I was expecting a bit of delay but not 5 hours! I have to wait anyway since I am going to stay at their home during these 4 days in Chicago.
It is my first time in Chicago in July and the weather is nice and worm , quite different from freezing April.
On Tuesday evening I will be again at Chicago Kendo Dojo. I hope to see again Matsumoto Sensei..... As usual I will do my best and I hope I will not suffer to much of jet-lag.
On Tuesday the July the 15th I was again at Chicago Kendo Dojo.
and few other people finishing the cleaning of the Dojo. I introduced myself and after a while Kim reminded about my previous visit at the Dojo. Few minutes after 8:00 PM Matsumoto Sensei entered in the Dojo it was very nice to see him again. He is now 86, with a very bright mind. I think their students are very lucky to have a Sensei with such long experience. We started by practicing for half and hour alone and Matsumoto came around to give some advices. The first time I came to this Dojo I was 1st Kyu and Matsumoto's suggestions were very useful to improve my Kendo. Now, I was proud of my improvement since I got my shodan. However, Matsumoto highlighted some critical points I have to work hard to improve. Specifically, I have to focus on fighting with my full body and not only with my arms.
Subsequently, we started a warm up with basic Suburi and then we started the practice with the complete bogu. Summer in Chicago is very hot and humid. Believe me, it is quite unpleasant when you wear the bogu. We did some Kihon and this time it was much easier since I have improved a bit my Kendo ability. After 20 minutes of Kihon I was completely wet and nearly unable to breath. Immediately after the Kihon we started Jigeiko. It was a real nightmare, I try my best but after the first Jigeiko I need to stop and I took out the men. I knew that it was something that I should not do but I was very near to get unconscious . I took all my remaining strength and I started again. The persons in the Dojo are very good in Kendo and all my attention was needed to give my best in the Jigeiko. However, even if I have rested between the first and second Jigeiko also after the second one I had to stop and take out the men again. After recovering I did an other Jigeiko and as last I had the honor to make again Kakarigeiko with Matsumoto Sensei. I was exhausted, but I tried my best. During Kakarigeiko Matsumoto Sensei gave me some useful advice to improve my Kendo. I was really exhausted, but I knew that if I was not making my best the Kakarigeiko would never end. I still remember my last men, I took out everything from my body and I knew I could not be able to do an other one. Fortunately, Matsumoto Sensei allowed me to stop after this and I could finally rest and recover.
After the practice I thanks everybody for the opportunity to be part of their practice.
I am very happy that I managed to get back to the Chicago Kendo Dojo for a second time and I hope to get back in Chicago in the near future to visit them again.
A collection of videos from Chicago Kendo Dojo