« Archives in October, 2014

Injuries, failure, responsibility and the absence of doubt.

Over the past couple of months I’ve neglected my writing somewhat mainly because I feel like my mind has not properly been on my kendo.
What with holidays and diy work, I managed to injure my right arm. I pulled one on the tendons in the elbow and despite trying to be careful, only training once a week, it’s got worse and worse.
When I finally went to the doctors, it turns out I’ve got tennis elbow, a fairly typical thing for us kendoka. The thing that has annoyed me the most about this is that instead of being able to focus on my actual training, I’ve been focusing on not ago sting it anymore. I I clipped on just the right point, the pain is pretty bad.
I guess this is just another thing to go through like anything else in kendo. I’ve had the Plantar Fasciitis which I fixed with a simple change of foot wear.
How the hell do I go about fixing my right elbow? Despite being told to rest it I find that nearly impossible. Unless I immobilise my right arm, I end up using it all the time. Obviously what I should do is, take a break from kendo for a while but my own stubbornness about it says that I shouldn’t. There is something I need to change and/or fix in order for this to to away.
That being said, over time it is slowly healing and causing me less and less problems.
I think this is a good analogy for many things in life. Problems arise that you have to deal with and despite feeling like they are going to mess you up for ages, you learn to either cope with it or work through it until it doesn’t matter anymore.
I learnt a long time ago, that no matter how you think something will turn out, it never does and it is never as bad as you think. The really bad things hit you out of the blue and you could never prepare for them anyway.
That’s how I learnt to move away from the fear of everything. I don’t get nervousness or scared about anything really anymore.

This has helped a lot with the latest issues from the dojo. Our sensei has injured his hand quite badly and as such had been unable to even hold a shinai so myself and Chris have been taking the classes. Good thing we did our coaching courses recently.
Taking a class regularly is a bit of a new experience and possibly a daunting one. Up till that point, I’d been helping out with teaching the newbies and tweaking peoples kata but I’d not had to run a full class before or come up with a specific lesson plan.
I find myself doing what I believe I should do being only a lowly shodan. I try and teach the new people what my sensei would teach. It comes quite naturally and I find myself speaking sentences that I have heard a hundred times before from my sensei and others that have taught me.
On another front, I’ve found that I really enjoy doing it. Actually having some new students and watching them improve is close to intoxicating.
I don’t feel like I want to tell people what to do, I’m doing it because I want to keep the spirit of my dojo alive. I’ve never felt this level of connection and commitment to club ever before.
Back when I was in school I originally wanted to be a teacher but I got a quiet little IT job instead. Maybe I made the wrong choice.
It’s a complete honour in all honesty to be trusted with the up keep of the dojo and something that I will not forget easily. It’s improved not only my kendo but also my confidence. There’s no denying that on the first night when I stood in front of the whole class and they were all looking to me for direction, I felt a little like the proverbial rabbit but I just let my training take over and channelled my sensei. It went okay.

Now I hate to finish off on a down point but now I have to admit my failure. I went all guns blazing for my nidan last month thinking that I would be okay and pass fairly easily. This was not the case. I did not meet the require standard.
Now I could get annoyed about it and blame all sorts of things, but the fact is I did not do what was required to pass.
I had some extremely helpful feedback from Holt sensei and Salmon sensei at the end and I totally understand why. Now like any good human I need to learn from my mistakes. I need to sharpen up my kendo and clean up my kendo to the point where I am demonstrating cuts correctly which I did not do on the day.
The one thing I took from the day was that another kendoka who I meet when I passed my shodan was there attempting his nidan for the third time. He failed his when I passed shodan over a yeah ago. Seeing him pass made the whole experience much better.
There were a lot that did not pass that day and I think I agree with what Salmon sensei said recently in his own blog post that the gradings are getting harder. I think this is true so the only thing to think is to be better.
We all need to train ourselves so that we are doing the best kendo we can do so that not only are you more likely to pass but also that if you do fail, you are not left with the feeling that you could have done more. Also don’t try and get to the point of thinking that hopefully you will pass if the panel see you do one thing right. Leave no doubt that you deserve the grade.

Clearly I have some more work to do and need to continue on my path of learning.

I think that maybe I was in too much of a rush to get my grading and as such I was not focusing on what I should have been focusing on. Maybe I’ve been in too much of a rush over all, during kendo and life in general.

I have to train so that when I go for an attack I have no doubt about landing the cut. I have to perform so others have no doubt in my abilities and award me the grade my abilities deserve. My kata needs to be performed to the level that I do not make a mistake and I know exactly what I need to do at every point.
It should all be second nature to me.

It’s time to remove all doubt not only from myself but other people as well.