Wednesday, June 10, 2015


I am not very good at kumitachi.

Kumitachi, for those who do not know, are paired waza for two swordsmen in which each role, uchitachi and shitachi have defined actions which each of them execute.  In a very really sense it is like a choreographed dance which in theory is supposed to look spontaneous.  The primary purpose of kumitachi  is teaching timing and distance, not just to teach another set of application.

And I am not very good at them.

I become frustrated. I become distracted.  I hardly ever execute on them the way that I should.  And this frustrates me.

Driving home last night from our most recent execution of kumitachi, I tried to think of the reason why.  And it came to me that I have issues (I have no other word) with practicing against another opponent.  This was a new thought for me, so I tried to dig in a little deeper to see what I came up with.

What looked back at me in the mirror was that I continue to overly worry about an accidental injury and that working with others makes feel like I risk being criticized by others.

The first issue, injury, is a long running item in my life.  I know I have a tendency to be over-the-top at times, and sometimes this plays out in accidental injury (to myself or others).  As a result, I tend to constantly be thinking not only of the technique but the potential for avoiding injury.  A distracted swordsman is never that good.

As to the second issue, this confuses me a bit.  I do not work at all with a critical group - in fact, they are as or more supportive as the group that practices Highland Athletics.  Yet there is this nagging fear of my errors constantly being blatant and revealed.

The reality is that kumitachi is not going away.  And I desperately need the practice because of the lessons of timing and distance (true in life as well as in iai).  The problem is figuring out how to address my frustrations and fears in a way that simply allows me to practice draws, cuts and blocks.

Or as a friend said one, "You think too much.  Just throw".

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