Ok, I'll be the first to say it. A month and a half is WAY too long between posts. One of my first goals for this new year is to be more consistent with writing. This blog is an excellent tool for myself, and hopefully a source of entertainment and/or inspiration for anyone that has come along to read an article or two. I've seen far too many blogs fall to the wayside and die out prematurely and I don't want to be one of those. I still have a whole lifetime of training and experience to gain.
That being said, I've entered into the new year of 2014 and have some great kendo goals in mind. First and foremost, I want to tighten up everything that I have right now. I think I can say comfortably that I have pretty good technique for where I'm at. Maybe it's nothing stellar in the grand scheme of things, or if I was measured up against all of the other nidans in the world, but for how long I've been training (coming up on five years!), my age, my health and fitness (current and former), and everything else I think I'm doing ok. I love training and pushing myself to the edge, and a little over each time, and I want to continue to do so in this new year. But I also want to take what I know and elevate it to the next level. I am at a point where I'm realistically facing moving forward to sandan and when the time comes I want to walk out in the front of the judges and show them that, yes, I am more than ready for that rank.
I just had a conversation with Sinclair Sensei today, and he gave me a lot of good ideas and advice on what to do to make that a reality. He gave me some health and fitness ideas and goals, and also talked to me about some ways to sharpen my techniques. Without going into too much detail, I will say that I'll be using our dojo a lot more this year. It's a block away from my work right now, so I really have no excuse not to go a bit during my lunch break or even after work. While there I'll be focusing on some footwork drills that were given to me so I can work on my footwork and my endurance, as well as going over some hitting drills with the dummies that we set up last year. Those dummies and I are going to become best friends, methinks.
During practice, when I have others to work with, I want to work on seme, and what it really means to create openings. I'll be doing this with a few key pieces of advice that Sinclair Sensei gave me. Hopefully my dojo mates will be able to see this change in me, even if it's a small and subtle change at first. One of the things I will share is that I need to work on my hesitation. It's a big weakness that I have, and I think it comes from a combination of me not being confident in myself and either not creating proper openings or not taking advantage of the ones that are presented to me. I'll be doing my best to eliminate these issues so that I can strike without fear of consequence, each and every time. Will I get hit? Yes, a lot. I'm expecting that. But in the same way that a piece of metal can be tempered into a beautiful sword, so shall the ups and downs of practice transform my techniques into finely tuned attacks.
I will strive to achieve these goals in the new year, and bring my kendo up like I know I can. Winning or losing at taikai doesn't matter. Getting beat up each and every practice doesn't matter. If those things happen and I am able to improve my technique through them, then I'll consider it a success.