Saturday was naginata training. With the senior student out for three months as she recovers from knee surgery, a whole lot of her responcibility as senpai falls on my shoulders. I try hard, but I can't help but feel that I'm not getting across the same wealth of knowledge to the students that I recieved from my more senior students - many of whom are gone now. Sensei has been not at her best for a while now, as is to be expected I suppose, but it means that I need to try even harder to help the students.
It's a very fine line. I want them all to improve as much as they can, but I don't want to discourage them by harping on every minor flaw in their techniques all the time. I want them to be the best that they can be, because it would reflect that I as a senpai am the best that I can be.
Sensei and the head student will both be away next week, so I have to take the class. Which will be scary and odd, but also a great opportunity for me to say things as I see them, without worrying that I'm stepping directly on the toes of my superiors. On the other hand, it also puts a whole lot of pressure on me to get things right - I can't ask anyone for help.
Sensei is also making noises about sending me to Japan to grade this year. The problem is that there is no way for me to afford it, especially since I burned my parental go-over-seas-free card last year. She has suggested that I ask submystical if it would be possible for me to crash at his place, but that would feel like an impossible imposition on my behalf. Not to mention that I'm getting towards one of the more hellish parts of the PhD, and getting time off will be tricky at best. I'd much rather wait until I've submitted so that I can not have it hanging over my head, but also so I have a chance to save some money (what with not being a student anymore and all).
Don't misunderstand - I want to go for my sho-dan grading. I've been ikyu for something like four and a half years now - I should have graded at least three years ago. I don't mind not being graded, except that there are certain duties I am not supposed to perform unless I am of a dan grade. And with a couple of dan-graded naginata students at the school there will be an easier time of it for the students below me. I'm just not sure that it is really feasible for me right now.
After class, sensei asked me to organise the catering for the Nittaidai visit on the 15th of March. Yikes. I know some places, though, and I'm pretty sure they that do the catering thing - hopefully my biggest problem will be the transportation of sushi for 12-14 people.
Yesterday was the Osaka-Melbourne Sister City Twilight Festival in Treasury Gardens. The demo was a little rough around the edges, with a few minor mistakes here and there, but it was a lot more of a relaxed atmosphere than say at the Japan Festival. I terrified on-lookers with my mighty kiai, as is my duty. I had fun, and answered a whole lot of questions afterwards from curious people in the crowd. In fact, nuwishas_tail and I were mobbed by Indonesians (I think) who were astounded by our weapons and giggled with glee to have photos taken with us.
While I defeated one of the students in shiai, I was in turn defeated by a very small but enthusiastic young bushi - though he could not yet walk, he slew me mightily with my own weapon! I believe nuwishas_tail has photos of my ignoble defeat.
I also saw a few cosplayers. It was a bit odd to see them, but as bishi_wannabe pointed out, there are very few occasions where they can do the cosplay thing in Melbourne.
A big thanks to the many people who came along to watch.
Cross-posted to bushido_babes.