I will take any hour in the dojo with my sword in my hand that I can get. I don't care who's leading the class. I'll share the dojo with kendo, which - as I've said before - is like inviting a military onslaught into your living room, along with its sound effects crew. I'll go out of town. I'll go alone. I'll get up at 6 on a Sunday morning even. You can always learn something, and always do. If you aren't learning something, you're not trying hard enough.
I haven't yet met a sensei that I didn't learn from - even Ohmi Sensei who, a great deal of the time, I can't understand. A Japanese accent + echoey room + unpractised ear = confusion. At least I've got past my Cruise Sensei freaks me out issue. He's a nice guy; he just looks stern. He does like to keep things going quickly though, which utterly threw me off during last Saturday's Lunar New Year special class. (At least we got use of the dojo before kendo, who were coming in for their annual New Year's beating.) But, when you're trying to work with a large group of people with a limited amount of time, you pack as much in as you can; which does sometimes mean going quickly.
My sensei did ask me during class tonight, how I'd enjoyed Saturday. I always, like I said, enjoy my time in the dojo; but I can't settle in to my body or the waza when Cruise Sensei has us working so quickly, so I felt thrown off much of the time. I can't perform things very well or precisely when we go that fast.
Shiho-giri, I think, is fast becoming my favourite waza. Maybe it's because it involves so much - three cuts, one strike, piercing, waka, jodan, and four imaginary foes. Someone once said to me, somewhat snootily, that what I was doing was useless, that at least she knew how to get a sword out of someone's hands. And all I could think was, "Rule number one in that game, is that you don't try to get a sword out of someone's hands at all." With shiho-giri you do learn how to at least slow down someone with a sword, and that's by striking their hands/wrists with the flat part of the tsuka of your sword. If it doesn't make them drop the sword completely, it will at least cause them enough pain to slow them down long enough for you to get back to them.
Tonight I did learn something that this video, though fabulous, does not mention about this waza: when you're turning from striking the first opponent's hands and push forward to pierce opponent number two, the force does not come from the arms - it comes from the right hip, which you push with as you're moving forward, throwing the weight of it forward, which moves the rest of you forward.
This video should start where Ogura Sensei is showing the thrusting pierce.