|Photo by G. Hoover|
We had our last practice of the year last night. A short, sweet practice that was open to all members in all of our classes. It ended up mostly being the advanced guys (and girls) but we had a couple of kids from the intermediate class join us. They show so much potential it's unbelievable! When I see them train it makes me wish I had the opportunity to start that young, but at the same time it also pushed me to do the best I can. What I lack in years of experience and practice on the floor I try to make up with strategy, good basics, and good technique. It's served me well so far! Even though we had a short practice, it was brutal. We were pushed hard by Sinclair Sensei to throw everything we had left into that 90 minutes and end the year on a high note, and did we ever do that! By the end of practice I was exhausted, aching, and ready to lie down and die. But I made it through, sore knee and all!
As we transition into the new year, I feel that the overall focus I want my kendo to have is one of refinement and beauty. Refinement through continuous training, and through breaking down and building up my techniques, better and better each time. Much like the hardening and tempering of a blade to make it tough, durable and deadly. I've always had an attitude of wanting to improve by any means that I can, and now that I've been around for some years I've had some very efficient training techniques given to me which I hope to use more this year. By the end of 2013 I want to look back and see a dramatic difference in the quality and efficiency of my techniques.
With refinement comes my second goal - beauty. I have always been told that I have pretty nice form when I strike or move, and I want to continue to keep that and improve it as I train. There are some things I do, some attacks or techniques, that are still rough around the edges and pretty "ugly" but hopefully this year I will make a significant dent and start to form even those techniques into things of beauty. Part of this will come from using my hips and center more to drive my body. How I move when I step, how I move when I attack, and not letting my upper body take over, which causes me to lean and wrecks my posture. Other than that I want to continue eliminating the wasted movement in my strikes.
I truly believe that I can achieve these goals, if I continue to work with my same motivation and desire to improve, along with the training techniques that Sinclair Sensei has taught me. A few of my other goals for this year, kendo-wise, include passing my nidan test sometime during the year, and also continuing to exercise and improve my body and my endurance. I did a great job with it last year, I think, and now that Sensei has helped me with my eating habits I feel like the improvement is going to be even more this year. It just take discipline and determination. I will see these goals through to the end, and 2013 is going to be a great year of improvement!