As 2008 comes to a close, I would just like to go over some of the goals I have for 2009. The main criteria for this is to be as specific as possible to give myself a little guidance. So saying something like, "I want to improve my Kendo," really isn't going to work, but saying something specific about a specific technique or concept is what I want to go for.
- Make Shodan - Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make it to shodan this year, but I really do plan on achieving Shodan next year. There are two opportunities early within the year with the first being in Detroit in February and the next being in March in Lexington. I would really like to try out in Detroit depending on the testing schedule and if there is some huge, impending doom at work with huge looming deadlines. If not, then there's always Lexington!
- Become more involved with Iaido - I think that I'm beyond the point of knowing whether or not I would continue with Iaido, with the decision being obvious from the title of the bullet point itself. What I mean by this though, is that I should try to understand what Muso Shinden Ryu is, the philosophy behind it as well as memorizing the names and moves of the 12 Seitei kata. I should really be doing better by beginning to imagine that imaginary opponent, but I can only do that when I have more confidence in myself with the moves.
- Take advantage of different waza - I feel that I'm starting to get a very small grasp on doing this, but I could always try to be more efficient in using these. Not only does this include things like nuki-waza, debana-waza and harai-waza, but also just plain moving around more to get myself in a better position or throw off the opponent if that's even possible.
- Learn to taiatari more effectively - I know that, given my overall body mass, I would certainly lose at any sort of pushing match with someone. One thing I do know is that 150 lbs (including both body weight and bogu weight) of force coming in could throw off a lot more people. This can only be done by improving my overall body positioning and effectively using my momentum to give that extra push I need to hopefully gain that advantage. Of course, this isn't limited to giving taiatari. I also should become a better reciever.
- Keeping my back straight - This is something that Ariga sensei has been trying to pound into me for months. The issue isn't how to do it since I know that. The issue is actually trying to do it to the point of it becoming habit, which can be difficult under strenuous circumstances.