This is my third day in Seattle, I have not seen very much of the town since I am too busy with the Conference. Also this morning we had quite interesting talks and the afternoon tutorial was useful although not so well organized. Also today I left the meeting at 4.00 PM and at the Hotel I had a little nap before the arrival of Jeff Marsten (7th Dan), the sensei of the Sno-King Kendo Club. The Sno-King Kendo Club is located in the north part of Seattle and we strugled a little to get there due to the heavy traffic. Jeff sensei if a very direct and clear person I liked his very direct way of speaking. When we arrived to the dojo all the members introduced themselves to me and before the start of the training Jeff sensei told to the students that I was coming from Italy and I was enthusiastic to cross the shinai with them.
After the Rei we started the warm up and the suburi. The participants were very variegated there were students with/without bogu and children with/without bogu. In total we were about 30 people. We finished suburi with three rounds of 50 chōyaku men. After men tsuke we started various rounds of kirikaeshi followed by big men, small kote-men and iki-waza techniques. After we had free jigeiko. In Sno-King Kendo Club people from sandan mainly act as motodachi during the free jigeiko and I also started with them. I did not expected to be so popular, in the sense that I was continuously having persons asking to practice with me and jigeiko after jigeiko it was getting more and more difficult. The student quality level is quite high and the vast majority is YOUNG! Never the less I tried my best. Specifically I tried to apply the pressure to the opponent, one of the points raised by Doug sensei at Seattle Kendo Kai club. One think I realized from the keiko I did was that this time the fighting distance was good, I cannot be not sure that it was due on my "pressure" or simply by the fact that they can manage to make a good stroke even from longer distance. The critical issue I found in my behaviour was the lack of control of the opponent at the end of the attach. After an attach I was loosing attention and the opponent frequently managed to apply multiple iki techniques. I have to work on this point. An other issue is the fact that I focus everything in a single attach as instead the Sno-King kendokas always tried to apply multiple techniques. I have to admit that this is actually an issue for me since if I apply multiple techniques I loose precision and posture. Fortunately at a certain point people stop to ask for keiko and I could managed to take off the men and slowly bring back the breath to normality. It was hard, challenging but also wonderful!
I like the training very very much, but, as I highlighted at the end of the training, I was also very happy that it was finished! After , we went out for dinner and it was the first time I tried a Korean Barbecue, it was a delicious dinner with a lot of beer and nice talk about kendo and other general topics. Great night! Jeff sensei was also so kind to bring me back to the Hotel. It is clear that also this night I had no problem in finding my way to the arms of Morfeo.