Thursday, June 30, 2011

June 2011: Ken Zen Kan Dojo

Back again in Heidelberg for the course on Whole Transcriptome Data Analysis. Another great time at the EMBL training facility. The course was very demanding this year. A lot of questions and a lot of information to be provided to students. The organization was perfect and I managed to run the course also thanks to the help of one of my students, Matteo, that was extremely helpful to supervise the exercises and providing support to the course participants.
I have finished the course few hours ago and now I am at the airport waiting for the boarding. Also this year I could not miss the possibility to visit the Heidelberg kendo Club. This was my third visit and I was very happy to meet Volker sensey and all the other persons I met previously. During these three days in Heidelberg we had an incredible nice and hot weather. I would say that Yesterday, when I went to the dojo, was really too hot, aprox. 35°C.
The training started at 20:15 with a brief run, some stretching a basic suburi. After we put the men and we started the training. I was happy because Volker gave me the opportunity to record the training using my videocamera. Because the lesson was in German I had to make all my attention to understand the Volker’s explanation of the exercises. This was very helpful since I managed to catch some interesting tips that I have always missed till today. The training, that is summarized in the videos below.

The training was mainly focused on practising attach and counter attach techniques cleanly and with the right posture. Specifically I realized that in the men (attach), debana men (counter attach) I was doing a big mistake when performing the debana men. I realized that I was raising the tip of the shinai during the attach of the opponent and this make me loose time in realizing the debana men. I realized that simply stretching my arms in direction of opponent he will be at the right distance for debana men before he manages to finalize his men. Another counter attach that is quite well suitable for me is debana kote in men/debana kote kion. During the kion, kakaritè, the one that has to do debana kote upon attach of men, is making a little seme moving the tip of the shinai ahead but lowering its level, this make the opponent thinking that he can strike men, and suddenly the kote is at the right position for debana kote. I am normally very frustrated by debana kote, because although I am able to make debana kote with a reasonable timing the shinai always touch the tsuba instead of the kote. Now following the indications of Volker sensei I managed finally to strike a reasonable debana kote.
The last 15 minutes were dedicated to jigeiko and I had a very nice time. After we had a little party for a birth day of one of the student and because many of the students succeeded in passing the grading exam the week-end before.
After a refreshing shower Volker offer me a lift to Bismark platz were I finished the evening with few beers together with one of my friends that was also present at EMBL for another meeting.