Big turnout for class tonight. I thought maybe it was a testament to my amazing teaching ability and charisma, but it turns out that most of the regular Tuesday classes are cancelled because in November and December it's hard to use the various school gyms as they are taken for end-of-year school festivities.
So with ten people on the floor we took our time; slow warmups and basics for over an hour, and then some simple kata work.
Theme for tonight started with the knees and how much they need to bend in order to keep the hips level and centered. As the practice progressed we sort of wandered about touching up minor points, and I had one of the minor epiphanies that doesn't really help but makes it much more fun to keep trying: relax when you draw. Totally and completely obvious of course, but when I do the one out of ten thousand just-right draw I am always totally mellow, almost not even caring. I'm not thinking about it, I'm not looking at my sword or my feet or anything in particular; just looking ahead and at the moment I need to draw, the sword is silently and smoothly out, without over cutting and with no exaggeration. Feels good, and so I'm trying to actively pursue that practical nonchalant-ness so that I can summon it at will. Non-trivial unfortunately.
On a specific note, I am working on keeping my left arm closer to my body; not flaring the left elbow and rotating the left hand to turn the sword over as I draw, but more of a corkscrew kind of twist so that the position of the hand (in X and Z space) doesn't change (only moving along Y; front to back.) This keeps the koiguchi more pointed at the point of impact, and tends to keep my from chunking the cut; comes out more smoothly and directly. Also stops me from opening too widely to my left, exposing my right arm to removal by an astute enemy.

After I got home, Ted was crushed and went to sleep, and then Jen showed up fresh from her tour in Kyoto so the Kuroda Hotel was in full swing. Jen takes off for Gunma and more research but she'll be back this weekend.

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