Beautiful. Sensei was talking about that word last night and how it pertains to Kendo. He made a good point, that it doesn't seem to be a word that should fit with Kendo, with Kendo, outwardly, looking like such a violent martial art. However, "Beautiful Kendo" is something that I, and a lot of others, strive for. It not only applies to our techniques, but also extends out to everything else we do. The way we carry ourselves and interact with others. The way we wear our uniforms and bogu. In a sense you could say that those things extend to our Kendo. Sensei pointed out that if we are conscious of these things that we'll be as equally conscious of details in Kendo and in our partners/opponents. This is a belief that I fully subscribe to, and personally I always try to do my best in every aspect of my Kendo. We should strive to have beautiful Kendo, in all aspects of Kendo.
Last night was our last training session here in town before the PNKF shinsa. We will have one more session somewhere in Seattle on Friday night, as is our custom, but I used this week to really focus on good Kendo. Nice big swings, good footwork, and good spirit. We have also been focusing on shinsa-geiko during our normal jigeiko time, and Monday night I had a lot of feedback from the Yudansha. I know that my biggest weakness is backing up, and so I tried last night to eliminate that as best I could. When people would move in I would either stand my ground or try to find an opening to attack (using nice swings and good form, of course). for the most part last night I felt pretty successful with it, although on Monday I felt very lacking. Billy gave me some good advice, though. He said that because of the difference in our ranks and experience, if he does shinsa-geiko at his level (going for Sandan) and I do shinsa-geiko at my level (going for Nikyu) that I shouldn't be able to do anything against him. While he's working on things such as controlling his opponent and creating opportunities, I'm working on things such as demonstrating good basics and nice swings and technique. After talking with Sensei and everyone else, though, they are convinced that I am more than ready for the shinsa this Saturday. So I just need to be confident in myself and show the best Kendo that I have.
Last night was a pretty exciting night for us. It started off with a local shinsa, for people testing for 4 Kyu and below. We had eight people test for ranks between 8 Kyu and 5 Kyu, and I'm happy to say that they all passed! They included my own brother passing his 7 Kyu test (he started in September). The next step for him is to get bogu and begin his journey through the rest that Kendo has to offer. I was called to help on a few occasions, for Kihon Kata and to receive for drills and jigeiko.
The next big thing that happened last night was we had some students from the college come and interview us and take pictures for an article they're doing for their newspaper. They interviewed Sensei and a few of us during a break between class, and they got a ton of pictures to use. I'm really excited to see the article and how it turns out! We went over a lot of uchikomi drills, as well as waza-geiko and jigeiko, which gave me time to really focus on what I was doing (even with a photographer getting every angle of my movements).
All in all, it was a great practice, and a great week, and after getting rid of some of my worries (like about chakuso), I feel that I am ready for the shinsa this weekend.