A dozen pairs of feet buttoned into lined white kimono socks face the practice mirrors. We’re balanced forward on the toes of 12 pairs of geta, kick-kick-kicking in time to the drums, to the shinobue flute, to the kane bell.
We advance on the mirrors, correct our form, reset, advance again. The rain streaks down the windows of the unairconditioned gym just as sweat drips down our raised forearms and drops off our elbows.
It’s our first three-hour practice entirely on the toes of our geta and blisters are forming and tearing on each toe. Reset, advance, correct. The last half-hour of practice when I’m tired, sore and losing concentration is always where I make progress if I persevere and stay focused. Advance, correct, reset, advance….