Friday, January 02, 2009

Overall Kendo/Iaido Goals


We're beginning the hopefully wonderful year of 2009 and I wish everyone good luck and hope that the future works out for everyone, economy and all.

We here in the Ohio/Kentucky area have been very fortunate to have Nagata Sensei teach us and pretty much beat the crap out of all of us while giving some very valuable instruction. Unfortunately, he's had to go back to Japan but it's not without some great times. At his farewell dinner, one conversation that came up was to make goals for the short term and long term and dream big and go for those dreams.

In conversations about doing Kendo or Iaido and what sorts of goals we have, they usually center around the following questions:
  • Why did we start?
  • What keeps us going?
  • What goals do we have?
I want to go further with the last two questions. When we talk about the things that keep us going, we talk about how it makes us better and gives us exercise. But what about the drive to achieve some big end goal? And when it comes to making goals, they usually are pretty short term if it's within a few months or a few years. But what about beyond that? What specific milestones does one want to reach?

I already made a blog entry about my New Years resolutions, but these are pretty short term. I want to take things a step further and talk about my long term goals. Despite all the benefits I have reaped thus far from doing Kendo and Iaido, I think that these are the things that give me the true drive to improve in however much I can. I have two main things I would like to achieve.

I would definately like to gain enough rank and have enough time to start up a dojo of my own and be able to spread my knowledge of kendo and Iaido (when that time comes) to as many people as I can. I have had the opportunity of instructing some classes here and, after breaking the ice with it a bit, it seems like something I could get used to doing. There's something about telling people what you know and having them walk away from something while doing what you can to help others shape their Kendo that makes me feel even more accomplished than attempting to win any tournament.

The second goal is a very big one. I want to be able to participate in the World Kendo Championships. No, I'm not looking for fame in the Kendo community or anything. I just think that it would be really cool to know that you got to participate in the most prestegious event within one's community and walk away learning something new. I've just had this big drive to see some awesome Kendo and experience that myself. Of course, I have to go through the ranks and natural progression to even think I'm good enough, but I think I'm willing to take it.

One thing that does concern me though is the time committment that it may involve. According to an article on, training for these tournaments involve more than just you. If you have a family, kids or limited budget, things can get a bit hairy. The only thing that I know for certain is that I would really like to achieve that goal and I'm also willing to make consessions for the other people and things in my life to make sure that things go as smooth as possible.

Okay, now that I made these goals, what do I do once I achieve them? We talk about all these goals and stuff but we don't really talk about what we will do once we achieve them. To be honest, this isn't something I haven't thought about too much in the specific manner. But the good news is that, even if I achieve both goals, there's still places to go. Participating in a big tournament is, for all intents and purposes, just an experience. Even if you make it to first place, there is always room for improvement and things you can do to feel accomplished in whatever you do. For the teaching, this is more of a milestone than anything. The teaching/learning cycle never stops and I think that I would feel accomplished every day I do my job, even if things don't go as planned.

I hope that this makes people think about what their overall goals may be. I'm not talking about just improving a technique, but some sort of big milestone you want to achieve, like a specific rank, having a certain responsibility or performing in a specific event.


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