Our trip to VA Beach was great! Clare posted some great pics over at her blog.
We went to a great local dive called the Ice House for dinner one night. If you make your way to this shack, check out their steamed shrimp, which are awesome!
I feel totally rejuvenated and relaxed today. I need that. People here are crazy and so go-go-go that they don't enjoy life too much with each passing day. At the beach, however, the wind and water just seem to lift and wash your cares away.
Each night we went to sleep to the sound of the waves crashing on the beach. It's hard not to sleep great in that kind of environment. It was almost like going back to a "state of nature."
On Monday morning, I woke up at 6:30, and with the crud still in my eyes, stumbled my way out to the ocean with my bokken--wooden sword--in hand and began stretching and training on the beach with the sunrise. It was a fantastic experience. After I had sufficiently warmed up, I picked up my sword and began practicing my cutting with the waves crashing all around me. I began with the "eight-direction cut," which really makes one focus since the waves and ripetide are pulling/pushing at you in all different directions.
Awesome. It was a great challenge, and I found my energy levels and intensity increased to do everything correctly. I then began cutting toward the sea with the 3rd suburi (basic cutting practice) where you reach up in to sky, then lower your body and sword, and finally explode with a cut. It was exhilarating and refreshing. All I wanted was someone to throw me kote-gaeshi into a wave.
So, if you can't tell already, our trip was much needed and, at least for me, very therapeutic. Training on the beach is a vastly superior practice. If I lived on the beach, "beach training" would be my lifestyle, all the way.
Until then, over and out.