The taikai was good but unfortunately there weren’t enough people working so I got drafted and spent the whole event doing the hit-miss scoring from the target side, which made it difficult to observe. One interesting thing I discovered is that, with the heat and humidity, the do-gi cling to a person’s body, so in many cases it was very easy to see how a person used the bones and muscles in their back during hikiwake. Kind of like having x-ray vision, only with more sweat.
It wasn’t quite as good as this video of Kawamura Mitsuyoshi (hanshi, 8-dan) but you could clearly see differences, person to person. The best pretty much seemed symmetrical in the way they were using their bodies, and it showed in the final result at zanshin. Others tended to favour one side or the other, and it sometimes led to a twisting of the body during the draw, or even at kai. Usually people like to watch others shoot from the front but it turns out that watching from behind can tell you a lot.
So anyway, it gives me something to work on, as if I needed more things. But first Tokyo.
Even watching from afar, though, I now have more confidence about the earlier criticism from others. It turns out I’m just shooting like the person I want to emulate: my teacher.