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Greetings To A New Decade

This past Wednesday, December 14th was my birthday.  I am now out of my twenties and taking my first steps into my thirties.  While this was, at first, a scary thought to me and actually kind of stressed me out quite a bit, I woke up on Wednesday morning and thought about it for a while.  And I decided to push all of that doubt and depression and everything that was trying to affect me out of my head and out of my life.  I made a decision that day that I was not going to go into my thirties with that kind of attitude.  I was going to have a positive outlook and go in on a high note and work to make this next decade even better than the last.  I have to admit that my twenties had their ups and downs, not unlike a rollercoaster.  I had a lot of big "life events" happen, some good and some bad, but despite all of that I've kept on.  I've stumbled and fallen and picked myself up, sometimes on my own and sometimes with the help of friends and family.  I have always tried to learn from those mistakes, as well.  To not just look at them in a negative way but to try and take from them the lessons that they were trying to teach me so that I could continue to improve myself.  I think, for the most part, that I've been successful with it.  I know I still have a lot to learn and I will continue to make mistakes every day, but I hope to continue to see those mistakes as stepping stones to a better me.

I'm really glad that I decided to take up Kendo again.  I know that I've mentioned it before, but I first started Kendo about six years ago.  I went through the beginning class with a lot of motivation, but then when I got into the intermediate class I kind of fizzled out and eventually quit due to time and being out of town with a new job.  I always wanted to pick it up again but I never did, until finally one day back in 2009 when I decided to get serious about it and emailed my old sensei again.  Turns out I had excellent timing, as they had just started another beginning class the week before.  So I grabbed my old bokken and started back up, a fresh new beginner once again.  That was back in May of that year.

Ever since then I've stuck to Kendo pretty faithfully.  I've had my moments where I would pull away and make excuses to not go, but they never lasted long and I was always able to come back and jump straight into it again.  When I got my bogu I decided that yeah, I really want to be serious about this, and I decided that I wanted much more from Kendo than just a hobby that I like to do in my spare time.  I started devoting more and more time to practice and learning not only the physical aspects of Kendo but other areas, as well.  I think much of that devotion has shown through not only in taikai and shinsa, but also at practice.  I try to give my all every time I'm there, for myself and for everyone else that shows up that day.  I expect the best from them, and I want to give my best in return.  I don't always live up to that goal, I'll admit, but I do try to make it a part of my practice each and every time I'm there. 

Over the past year I've gotten more involved with teaching at our dojo, as well.  I'm usually available and happy to take a class if need be, but I know that I am not the best at teaching.  I think I tend to ramble on when I explain, which also shows up here in my posts sometimes :-).   But I do my best and I hope that anyone who has ever been a part of a class I have taught has walked away with a little bit more understanding of whatever I went over that day.  I hope to continue to improve this part of my Kendo, as well, because I know that it helps immensely with my own understanding when I am put in a position where I have to teach it to others. 

A question was brought up here at work, and it was "What goals do you have for the next year? 5 years? 10 years?"  As far as Kendo goes I think I have good goals in mind, although the path to these goals is always being worked on with the help of my Sensei and others at my dojo.  in this next year I want to take and pass my Shodan test so that I can become a Yudansha and finally begin my Kendo journey properly.  The way I look at it is that Shodan means that I now understand the basics of Kendo so I am ready to finally learn what it is to practice Kendo.  I am not at the top at that point, I am back to the bottom and will be hungry and willing to learn from my seniors.  In the next five years I hope to add Nidan and Sandan ranks, as well as try out for our regional Kendo team.  I might be on the older end of the guys that will try out next time (in 2014) but I think that with lots of training and dedication I can make a good run for the team and possibly qualify to be on the team.  As far as a ten-year goal, I want to try and achieve Yondan, if not Godan.  Godan might be stretching a bit far, as I would have to take and pass every shinsa as soon as I was eligible.  But if I work hard between now and then it's a definite possibility.  Also, all throughout I want to continue to participate in taikais around our area.  I enjoy the experience.  A day full of great Kendo.  Being able to see my friends from around the region.  Getting to enjoy matches with new and old acquaintances.  And cheering on my friends and dojo mates that are competing.  Winning is definitely fun, but I love the experience more than actually placing.  I also enjoy being able to go and do the best Kendo that I can as I feel that not only helps myself but also helps our dojo and my sensei and everyone else I practice with.

To close I would like to apologize for the lack of normal content in this post, but I do thank any and all that chose to finish.  I'll be back to form next week.  I enjoy sharing my very limited knowledge and experience, both in the dojo and here.  Even though this blog is mainly for myself, if I am helping out anyone else out there in the world with my posts then that makes me happy.

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