snowing!, originally uploaded by renfield.

Damn, that's alot of snow!

kumitachi ouchie

Been practicing the old Mugairyu habiki-no-kata -- the old kenjutsu kumitachi . Huge quantities of fun; straight and simple, with edge-on-shinoji blocks and deflections. Busted two bokken in a week, and will likely go through many more as most folks don't seem to understand the concept of control.
A couple of examples: in the second kata, shidachi attacks first, uchidachi counters with uke-kaishi; a deflection and quick counter which shidachi immediately parries and finishes. Shidachi sets the pace by attacking first -- he comes in fast and hard, I counter the same. And that's exactly what I did. Every time he'd come in faster than the last, hoping to get in quick enough to counter my counter, but every time I would just use his speed to deflect and counter, and ended up sticking my sword a centimeter from his forehead every time. I kept telling him that I would match his pace, so if he wanted to finish the kata he needs to slow down to a speed we can both handle. I don't think the message got through.
In the first kata, the simplest, uchidachi attacks, shidachi blocks and counters. I came in slow and steady with an easy full swing, but uchidachi panicked, jumped the gun on timing, came in way to tight and early and instead of blocking my sword he ended up blocking my right wrist, cracking it just on the corner bone and shooting needles of pain up my whole arm. Like the nice instructor guy that I am, instead of burying my sword in his forehead I smiled and said "no problem!" and took a little break to whimper in pain in the bathroom for a couple of minutes.

kagami biraki

kagami biraki, originally uploaded by renfield.

Did some cutting in the morning with Elvis so that he could break in his new sword, and then Hiroko and I got kimono'd up and went to Ginza. We checked out the Kaga Exhibition at Matsuya Department Store, bought some munchies and sake, and looked at the cool pottery. Then we headed over to the dojo and ate mochi and goofed off with Niina-gosoke and folks to celebrate kagami biraki. Literally, it means "mirror opening". Mirror refers to the roundness of the kagamimochi that you put out for new year, and since "cutting" has bad connotations, you say "open".