Ok, I will be the first to admit that I've been slacking on my posting. Two months is WAY too long to go without a post of some sort. I will be working on carving out my time better to keep up on this. This blog is an invaluable tool to myself, and being that's publicly available for anyone in the world I have a feeling that it's at least entertaining others out there that like to read about my kendo happenings.
For the past few months I've been plagued with physical issues. Some of them were oldies that just won't go away (my hip pain) but some of them were new. I had quite a sore muscle in my right leg that held on for about a month and caused me to have to slow down and miss some practices. Sinclair Sensei was kind enough to offer some help and gave me some stretches and exercises to do, which seemed to do the trick. For about a week now I haven't had any pain in that muscle, and I pray that it doesn't return. I'm finding that even though I consider myself fairly young, at 31, I am already beginning the fight against my own body. My mind wants to go and go and go, and I have to find ways to get my body to agree to go and go without running it into the ground. Throughout all of it, though, I've tried to keep my spirit up so that I am at least giving 100% of that to every partner that I train with. Also, slowing down has taught me quite a bit about other areas of my kendo that were lacking before. I love being able to cut loose and just fly around the dojo when I'm at practice, but I also equally appreciate the times where I choose to (or am forced to) slow down and take it easy. It's at these times where speed and physical movements are almost thrown out the windows, and instead I have to focus on areas such as seme, creating/exploiting openings, timing, distance, and reading my opponents, among other things. I have a chance to work more on the "mental" side of kendo as the physical side takes a backseat to heal up.
Since I've been feeling better this past week, I've been working on melding the physical and the mental side of my training. I'm back to flying around the dojo (as best I can), but I'm starting to combine that with the skills that I had been working on prior. Last night, in particular, I felt like it was all clicking together very nicely. I was able to move about freely, but also felt that I was reading my opponents and creating openings better, or just pressuring them in a better way than I used to. I also felt like I was attacking with more commitment than before. Even when I was getting blocked or countered I felt like most of my attacks were true, and that I didn't hesitate in using them.
Our annual PNKF Taikai is just around the corner and I'm going to be doing my best to sharpen up what I already know. I'm at the point where trying to add new tricks to my bag is futile and will only be detrimental to my performance at the taikai, but I can definitely work on the things that I already know and make sure that they are the absolute best that I can make them, for myself and for my teammates.