When you don’t want to go to kendo, you should go to kendo
It has been a while since I have written on this blog – and not as a result of not wanting to, I should quickly add. While it is not an excuse, it has been predominantly as a result of work – both paid and university studies. That aside, I had an interesting discussion with someone at training last night about balancing kendo and work commitments. Well, it was about balancing kendo and one’s life in general. The basic idea: it is when you don’t want to go to kendo that you should really go to kendo. The comment ended up framing my training for the night. My attendance at Wednesday night and Saturday morning training the past couple of weeks has been a little on and off, for a variety of reasons – not least of which is the fact that my car kept breaking down! (I won’t start about it… expensive and annoying is all I will say… that and the fact that it was more than just the alternator as mentioned in my last post!). During the couple of weeks I was away, I noticed the way in which “other stuff” appeared and was ready to take up my time. Family commitments, university studies, work issues – they all appeared and started to compete for time that I would normally have blocked out for kendo training. So, the morale of that story is: even when you don’t feel like going to kendo, you should go to kendo. If you don’t, you risk slowly but surely drifting away from training altogether.
On a more positive note, I have found when I have felt like skipping training but have gone anyway that my training has been better than normal. That was certainly the case last night. It has been a long week at work and so it was easy for me to justify not going to training. Very easy. The Australian Kendo Championships are not that far away and so training has become more intense – for beginners and for those in armour. As I am not yet in full bogu (ie. not yet wearing a men) I trained with the beginners. Itakura Sensei put us through our paces. The bulk of the 1 1/2 hours was devoted to suburi. The pattern was repetitive:
Jōgesuburi – continually until sensei started the count to ten.
Shomensuburi – continually until sensei started the count to ten.
Sayumensuburi – continually until sensei started the count to ten.
- Matawarisuburi – continually until sensei started the count to ten.
- Lunging suburi – continually until sensei started the count to ten.
- Back to Jōgesuburi…
It was a monster session. I lost count of how many times we did it. I would not be at all surprised that it was 50-100 times on each. We went through the cycle three times in total before we were allowed to relax for more than two minutes.
The second half of the training was to practice men cuts. Sensei explained that we were able to do it in our own time but that each cut had to be perfect. I took the opportunity to break it down a bit and to focus on some of the aspects that I have been working on – big cuts and relaxed shoulders. For example, I would practise cutting men and then, on the sixth cut, I would stop at the point that my shinai was raised above my head. I would then look up to see the position of my hands and the angle of the shinai, checking to make sure that all was as it should be!
What did I learn:
The importance of suburi.
The importance of relaxing one shoulders (although I did know this – last night’s session reinforced what I knew)
The accuracy of my men cut and that concentrating on making ‘big cuts’ has paid off – or at least it is starting to.