Skip to main content

The End of 2014

Let's talk about kendo!

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!


Popular posts from this blog

Kent Taikai 2018: How to Deal with Disappointment

A sobering entry today, but hopefully a valuable lesson for me and anyone reading.

Last weekend my dojo mates and I participated in the Kent Taikai in Kent, WA.  I look forward to this tournament as it's a little smaller and more intimate than the PNKF Taikai we attended last month, and it's a chance to catch up with my kendo friends in the area as well as participate in some good matches.  This year delivered in that regard.

We had six competitors this year, ranging from 1-3 kyu up to the 3-4 dan divisions.  One of our new-to-us members participated, as well, so that was fun to welcome him to our crazy taikai weekend trips.  The trip itself went well, and the pass was clear for us so we had a smooth ride to the Seattle area and to training at the Bellevue Kendo Club on Friday night.  It was a good night, and I was able to have a lot of quality keiko with the kodansha over there, as well as received some helpful feedback and advice that I'll be putting into practice soon.

PNKF Taikai 2018

Last weekend a few of my dojo mates and I loaded up and headed to Seattle for the 44th Annual PNKF Taikai.  This is the biggest tournament in our region and sees many, many people from not only around our federation but also from Canada, Hawaii and beyond.  This year I heard we had around 300 participants and welcomed a couple of new participating dojos, including a new dojo from Canada and from as far away as New Jersey.

Our trip to the tournament began the day before.  Friday three of us headed over for training at Bellevue Kendo Club.  J Marsten Sensei welcomed us with greetings and a good, hard practice.  I picked up some new things to try for my own improvement, and after warm-ups and some basic drills we broke into open floor.  I was able to practice with some of my long time friends before I was grabbed by one of the members and pulled over to own line.  I relished the chance to practice with her, since I haven't had a chance throughout all of these years, and she did not …

Active Teaching, Active Learning

Most of my kendo life I've been happy and content being a student.  Don't get me wrong, I'm still very much a student and I don't think that will ever change.  That's part of the beauty of kendo; there's always more to learn and more to improve.  Three yeas ago, though, I started teaching the beginning class as their main instructor.  That mantle has only recently been (mostly) passed onto another member.  Here and there I would lead the other classes, as well, including our main class, where the bulk of our members come to train.  I never thought much of it, though, and would either follow a set plan or I would run basic drills and our basic format.  Most of the time I tried to follow a coherent plan of drills that would build on top of each other, i.e. kote, kote-men, then using kote-men as a counter to kote.  I also liked to build drills around a theme, such as kote drills, or counters effective for men, or other things of that nature.

Lately I've been …