Last night the heat finally got me.
It was supposed to be an easy one hour keiko at Osaka Shudokan. Having gone through Kitamoto and some other pretty rough practices over the last week I had clearly grown a bit cocky. Of course, doing uchikomi in the heat and humidity of Japanese summer is never going to be a pleasant thing, but I figured that by now I am pretty much fully acclimatised.
However, yesterday we had been walking around in Osaka with Maeno sensei in scorching heat, and my fluid intake throughout the whole day consisted on a small beer and a glass of water. By the time of keiko, there was still 34 degrees outside. Dojo doors and windows were wide open, so I was drenched in sweat already before we got started. After kihon (basic techniques) practice my mouth felt like a Gobi desert. We had a small break during which I tried to gulp down as much water as I could, but this was obviously to no avail, as it all came gushing out through my pores as soon as I put my men back on.
Things weren’t helped by nice people at Shudokan who thought that they were doing me a favor by keeping me spots in the line to senseis, so that I could move from one to another without having to wait. By the fourth match I was utterly and completely exhausted. And then the sensei I was practicing with thought that my men strike could use some improvement and had me do uchikomi. At that moment there was, according to the clock hanging on the dojo wall, less than five minutes left, but at this point I finally had to throw in the towel. There was no breath left and I could literally feel my vision beginning to fade – I was quite probably one or two more attacks away from simply collapsing to the floor. I excused myself to the sensei and was given a permission to go and take off the men. For a while I felt like throwing up. I must have looked pretty awful, as several people came to inquire if I needed any help.
After the keiko I was given some salt tablets (the same that Suzuki sensei had kindly provided before the practice at Shofukan) by Maeno sensei and I must have drank a couple of liters of water in shower. However, it wasn’t until perhaps an hour later that the feverish chills and the feeling of dry mouth subsided.
So today we are off to Kyoto, to have a keiko at Butokuden. It is going to be even hotter day, with temperature reaching 38 degrees Celsius, so I will make it a point to drink aplenty before the evening and this time take the salt well in advance. It is three more keiko to go, and then I’m done.