I am back in Chicago, only three months after my last coming. It was great, I was invited by a group fro the Northwestern Cancer Center to a full week of brain storming and discussion on their projects to find common elements of work. I had five days of intensive work but, as usual, I managed to practice kendo at the Choyokan and at the Chicago Kendo Club. I had two very useful nights. At the Choyokan I had keiko with Hudi sensei both playing chudan and jodan no kamae. I got from him very useful tips. He highlighted that my left hand was not correctly gripping the shinai, the lower part of the hand was not perpendicular to the body, thus my left elbow was opening and the posture was not correct, this was actually quite evident in the jodan no kamae. Hudi sensei told me that that error could cause problems to my wrist. Sakamoto sensei instead told me that when I am in jodan no kamae, sometimes I step back and that is a big error since I loose the strenght of the position. He told me tha with Jodan no kamae, I cannot show to opponent any weakness and I have always to behave like a tiger.
I put in my pocket these useful suggestions and I have immediately applied them when I went to practice to the Chicago Kendo Club. It was particularly nice night because the sun of my friends, which is 5 years old, and he is my godson came to see the training. He is fashinated by kendo and he followed quite a long part of the training with deep attention. Furthermore, it was a very nice night because I knew that various person of the dojo pass their exam at the taikai organized by the Choyokan dojo the week before and my friend Andy got the yondan. I was very happy for him because I know that is a quite difficult step that I will try to pass next year.
I was very glad to practice kendo no kata for 30 minutes with Andy that provided me very good suggestions for the practice. It is funny to note that I practice most of kendo no kata this year in my trips to Singapore and Chicago with respect to my dojo.
I manage to have jigeiko with Takana and Condon sensei. I immediately try to apply the suggestions of Hudi sensei to my jigeiko with Takana sensei. I found very pleasant the jigeiko, I had the feeling that I managed to get a certain connection with Takan sensei and it seems to me that I was not simply trying to make a good strike but I was trying to find the right time for the attach interacting with Takana sensei. I do not know if he had the same feeling but I liked very much the keiko with him. After I had keiko with Condon sensei, that I have to admit I recognized only when I saw his name on the zeken. I have little memory of faces and since he restyled his hairs I did not manage to recognize him immediately. But he recognized me and asked to go to jodan no kamae. I tryied to apply the suggestions of Sakamoto sensei and I took also advantage of the suggestions I got on June by Condon sensei on the kote from jodan. Furthermore, my sensei in Torino gave me some suggestions on the attach from long distance with the kote and in the last few months I managed to push more with the back right foot. Putting everything together I was quite satisfied of my behaviour during the keiko. As the years pass I am always more convinced that the opportunity I have to practice in different dojo all over the world is an invaluable opportunity to improve my kendo. Due to my work and family duties I cannot participate to many seminars but the keikos around the world are for sure very very useful to me.
I can say that the interaction with many kendo people all over the world is invaluable for me to improve not only in the technique but also as man in this complex world.
I have not to forget that after keiko I had a very pleasant night with all the people of the Chicago Kendo Club enjoying Chicago beer and Kendo stories!