Journal Entry: Thu Dec 3, 2015, 11:41 AM
The difference between an art that uses imaginary opponents and one that uses real ones is party understanding and partly focus.
Without a real target, lots of confusion and mistakes pop up that are pretty easily fixed if you find a way to get an opponent in there. That said, it requires focus to "see" the invisible enemy, that dude who is about your height and only slightly less skilled. If you put a weapon in the hands of people who spar, it's harder to get them to focus on drilling moves and process.
Technically each move we learn ends with the attacker escaping, but it's very easy to just flow into all the other moves. Which is how I ended up in a battle yesterday when I should've been drilling properly. It's hard to practice dodging for the millionth time when I've just learned how to catch a strike, hip check the opponent and stab him in the gut. And of course, if I lose focus and fight, my opponent realizes that dying is less interesting than moving to parry and striking back.
Free flow sparring may be the most fun thing I've learned. It's killer on my ability to focus though. Also my hands. My heavily bruised hands. The kendo folks get armor but we get... a first aid kit. XD
Guess I'm not a jedi yet.
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