This year has been an interesting one. A lot has been happening, mostly in my personal life, but throughout it all I was able to keep a fairly regular kendo schedule. I feel good about the progress I made this year, even though it's been very subtle to me. Not a lot of giant breakthroughs or new insights into anything, but a lot of smoothing out and polishing what I know, and trying to improve the mental aspects of my kendo. I believe, for the most part, that I've been doing a good job of it, although in practice I definitely notice that I get hit a lot more. That's ok, though! Practice is there for a reason and if I'm not getting hit I'm not doing it right. One of the things I've been focusing on is trying to act with a purpose. Not throwing attacks out here and there without thought, but really trying to focus and do everything purposely. My attacks have become fewer, for the time being, but I feel like more and more of them are being done because I chose to and not because I jumped the gun or threw something out randomly. It's a good feeling to me , as I feel like everything has more purpose now, whether my attack was successful or not. This is definitely something I want to work on more in the new year.
My health and fitness have been a rollercoaster this year. Hopefully in the new year I can buckle down and really work on that. I have a problem with being super motivated at first, and then having that motivation decrease and decrease as time goes on. I think a lot of people can relate to that, but it won't stop me from putting it back on my list. Trying and failing isn't a bad thing, as long as I can get up, dust myself off and try again. I'm at a better place than I was at the beginning of this year, which is good, but I still need to work for more improvement so that I can take myself and my kendo to higher levels.
As far as technique goes, I worked on a few shortcomings that I had this year, and started to incorporate them into my practices. I wouldn't say anything is stellar at the moment (kaeshi dou, for example) but at least I'm getting more familiar with them and less hesitant to use them when the opportunity arises. I still have my go-to techniques that I use and work on and refine, but in my opinion it's always good to have a wide range of techniques at my disposal so that I can use them in various situations and with various people and styles of kendo. One of these days, way way way into my future, I hope to be able to release these techniques as second nature, without thought and without hesitation. But to get there I need to be familiar with them and experienced enough using them that I'm comfortable.
So, just a short recap of some things that I focused on this year. There will be more training, more learning, more breaking down and building up of techniques for me, but it's good to know that I feel like I'm stronger now than I was a year ago, and I'm going to start off 2015 on a good note. To anyone that is reading this, I hope you have an excellent new year and keep training hard, because I'll be doing the same!