It's been a while. At first it was because I was just busy with work and life and training (always training!) but then I let this blog slip away from me and it kept slipping and slipping...and here we are, a full year has passed without any new entries. It's time to change that! I have always loved not only reading blogs myself, looking for little pieces of info or advice or a new take on something to give me another perspective, and I've also enjoyed sharing the information that I have, as well as the experiences and the ups and downs of kendo life. I'm not perfect, it's definitely not high-level stuff, but I have a passion for it. And hopefully I can keep that going for many years to come. So today it's time to get back to it! I'll do my very best to keep this updated regularly with new entries. This is also a perfect chance to reflect back on the last year.
2017 was a HUGE year for me, kendo-wise. So much happened that I'm actually pretty bummed that I didn't write about it sooner. I was able to take part in more tournaments last year, placing in a lot of them and winning some of them. Most notably were the UW Taikai, where I fought with the PNKF team to take the top spot there, and the Vancouver Taikai, which was my first time there. I took third place in the 31-40 division, and our PNKF team took third overall in the teams division. In the past year I've trained hard, I've fought hard and I've made a lot of improvements and ground with everything, as well as found new things to work on.
The biggest highlight of last year, hands down, was my first experience competing at the US Kendo Nationals. Ever since I started getting serious about kendo it's been one of my goals to fight there, and last year I made that goal a reality. It was definitely a long shot for me, since team training was over 200 miles, one way, away for me, and I was expected to be there every 2 weeks for it, but I worked hard, I practiced hard and I was able to make the team and ended up fighting in individuals and all of the team matches. I didn't do that well, honestly, but the whole year-long experience was well worth it. I made some new friends, solidified and strengthened some existing friendships and bonded with a lot of people from my federation here. My kendo view opened up a lot, too, as I was able to witness firsthand some of the best kendo in the USA. The after party was pretty fun, too!
Another highlight of my year was seeing some of the members that started in one of my class compete in their first tournament. That was a moment of pride for me. Not only to see them put in the time and effort to get to that level, but to know that I had a little help in getting them there. They all did extremely well and held to their basics when it came down to it, and it was great watching them all fight for the first time. I'm looking forward to seeing more students compete in the future!
Lastly, I was able to help revive our local "team training", as we call it. A separate, high-intensity practice that some of us have enjoyed during previous periods of time, usually coinciding with guys training for nationals like I did. For one reason or another the training, and the members, have come and gone, but I feel like we have a good core group this time and have some ideas to keep it interesting and challenging. We've been going strong for a few months now, and I'm looking forward to what this new year has for us.
As much fun as 2017 was for me, I'm looking forward to even more in 2018. First up on my list is preparing for my yondan test in February. Less than two months away! I'm excited and nervous, but each day of training, inside and outside the dojo, makes me feel more and more prepared for it. I've never been one to go into a test unprepared, and hopefully this one won't be any different for me. Yondan is a big step, as a lot of people know, but I'll give it my best and train hard until, and after, that day. All this training for a couple of minutes in front of the judges; I'll make sure to give the the best that I've got.
This year I'm also looking forward to competing more, as well as helping others who are interested. I don't have a lot of experience, but what I have I love sharing with our members. Whether it be advice, information or motivation, anything I can offer is available to them. When their kendo grows it benefits us all. We have some guys that are just looking into doing local tournaments. We have some that are looking at possibly competing at Nationals or Jr. Nationals. We have some that aren't interested at all, and that's fine, too.
So just a short update, for anyone that's still reading, or is just joining. This will be my eighth year of writing in this blog, and though it's been sparse sometimes, it's always been something I've loved doing, and I hope to continue to do it for as long as I can train.