IMG_1457.JPG, originally uploaded by renfield.

Much cooking and eating of meat was done at the traditional Kuroda Feast. Didn't even bother with gyoza, as the new Weber grill was in fine form all evening long, providing a never-ending stream of beef, pork, and chicken. Little Maya and Daisuke ate so much BBQ they passed out on the couch!
In the early afternoon, we assembled a posse and made short work of several targets in the yard. Random passers-by were much amused and confused by the white boys swinging swords, but the neighbors must be used to my antics by now.
As folks started pouring in, we fired up the grill and put out the chili (black and white), guac, salsa, veggies, grandma's hand-bottled umeshu (plum wine) and child-proofed the loft by spreading out the futon and lettin' 'em go nuts. Millie, Amy, Conan, Kairi, and Daisuke had an amusing time as the parentals inhaled food at an alarming rate. Ah, the gluttony!

More photos

move as one

Today in class we did a couple of reasonably interesting things. First, with basics we did variations on basic cuts to get the feel of cutting from the hips. From a regular right-foot forward stance, bring the sword up, and then keeping the feet in place open the left knee, open the hips, and drop while extending the arms. Right hip moves forward, left hip back, and the key is to not use arm strength, but just let the hips turn, extend the arms, and drop in place, so the resulting cut is more of a pull cut, ending in a nice sideways (hanmi) stance.
From there, step the left foot forward, raise the arms and sword again, and then stepping forward with the right foot cut straight out. This time, as the left foot steps forward, the left hip and shoulder square up so that the bellybutton faces directly forward. As the right foot steps, the right and left hips move in, forward, and the again the arms merely extend, the power coming from the hips driving forward, not turning sideways.
Repeating these two cuts really gives a good feel for mawaru (turning) versus ireru (entering or putting in/forward.)
Then we did a couple of kata. On suigetsu, we focused on the height of the blade at different times, and driving the thrust with the hips not the upper body. For Inchuyo, it's all about the movement of the hips and right arm. The right arm never stops moving, clear the saya, deflect as the body moves right, then continue sweeping around the head as the hips reverse and enter forward left. Keeping the motion slow but smooth is much better than two fast but separate left-right movements with a clear break between them.


Nothing is sweeter than the innocent denial of a lover.

the yard

the yard, originally uploaded by renfield.


IMG_1448.JPG, originally uploaded by renfield.

Gosoke gave me this amazing tsuba.
Not entirely sure what I'm supposed to do with it though. I know it's quite valuable, too nice to actually use, but I certainly can't sell it!