Kendo Life

Posted by _R on April 5, 2015 in Life in General

Almost two years ago in Manila, I made a very #decisive thing. It was so decisive that it deserved a hashtag.  A good friend invited me to watch her Kendo class. I watched. I marveled, jaw dropped.  I was amazed.  I told myself, why not? I signed up. #Decisive.

While learning Kendo, I got to strengthen bonds with old friends, met knew good ones, fangirled over awesome sempais and senseis, joined some “protein parties”, planned genki Kendo-related stuff. All these  of course after the muscle pain, jelly legs and arms, the blisters with your skin getting peeled off aka your new badge of honor, the fear of dying while cleaning the dojo and the concept of death always looming around with every clash of the shinai, and the constant push to your physical and psychological limit. Yes, madness. It was good.

Things quickly spiraled, changing, that I found myself in a foreign and cold, cold land where winter is always coming  (woosh!).  I don’t know what I’m doing here half the time. However, I promised  to continue this most #decisive thing – my journey to being a Kendo practitioner.

maai

Photo from shinai.blogspot.ca

Kendo is the modern Japanese martial art of the sword. It literally means “the way of the sword”. The modern swordsmen, the path of the samurai. So dramatic, I know.  (Wikipedia can fill you in with more details. )  With its rich history and fascinating tradition, I have come to love and believe in its concept and purpose.  Yup, copy-paste from Wikipedia. I read it from time to time to remind myself-

Concept: 
Kendo is a way to discipline the human character through the application of the principles of the Katana.

Purpose:
To mold the mind and body.
To cultivate a vigorous spirit,
And through correct and rigid training,
To strive for improvement in the art of Kendo.
To hold in esteem human courtesy and honor.
To associate with others with sincerity.
And to forever pursue the cultivation of oneself.
Thus will one be able:
To love one’s country and society;
To contribute to the development of culture;
And to promote peace and prosperity among all peoples.

Kendo is not easy. I can tell you that much times ten exponential plus plus. I know I am not the most disciplined person nor am I a very sporty, physically fit one (heck, I’ve got a broken back) so sometimes I wonder with such a difficult practice, if I was just pretending to be brave trying as hard as I can or I was just plain mad to do so. It makes me think of a lot of things – a lot of how’s and why’s.  It makes me question myself – often – what I can really do, why should I do what I do, why I do what I do, why kendo.  I’m like a disassembled shinai just figuring out how to piece itself together.

my shinai

Restarting Kendo in Saskatoon , I’m sorry to say that I still have all those questions, thinking of it even more so. I’m thankful that I can still talk to my Kendo girls about such things and very grateful that I have very understanding sempais here that I could bug. I hope they won’t give up on me, with all my questions and my weakness.  I know Kendo for me right now is not just a thing  I do on weekends, that somehow it will mean something more – just more. Am I expecting too much? Perhaps. But even with my slow progress I know I can’t let go.  #TeamDecisive

 

 

 

 

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@rjene