When people come over to make the final one-to-one rei at the end of a practise session, there is always the expectation that the more senior kendoka is going to say something useful about their keiko. This is not always easy as the teacher or sempai might be thinking:
- No change since last week, so nothing to talk about.
- I did not really notice what you were doing, I was just enjoying the practise.
- You are still doing what I have been telling you not to do for the past 2 years, so what is the point.
On the other hand and more likely, he or she may have some useful advice to give you. The only problem may be, that it sounds completely different to the advice you got from the guy you bowed to 30 seconds before. In this case you need to remember that different people see things in different ways. One teacher may tell you your feet are too slow, and another that your hands are too fast. If you think it through, it is clearly the same point made differently.
You do though often get conflicting information. I regularly visit a club where I invariably suggest to a number of members that they make a bigger men attack. The resident instructor urges the same people to make smaller movements. The reason behind my advice is not because I particularly like big techniques, but because there is a tendency for them to cut only with the right hand, which will limit future progress. My colleague on the other hand, wants them to make small attacks so that their kendo becomes quicker. Who’s right? Why me of course:-) , only joking, but the real issue for the student is which advice should you take.
I believe the solution comes back to the concept of shu ha ri. When you start, you should find a teacher you trust and follow his or her advice exclusively. Later when you have the basics established, you can benefit from the knowledge of other instructors, but evaluate the information thoroughly. Either that, or you can start cutting big in a small way, whilst moving your hands slower and your feet quicker