Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dear Diary…

Bleh, yet again, there is yet another long time span since I made my last entry.  Things were getting a little busy around March due to events happening at work and balancing the responsibility of setting up the promotion exam for Kendo in the ECUSKF.  After that, I’ll admit that some laziness and distraction came up since I’m involved with other things in life that makes me wish that there was more time in a day to accomplish stuff.  Ah well.  Hopefully I can be more consistent with posting, as long as I have enough stuff to write about.

A few things have happened since I last posted.  Unfortunately, I failed my 3rd Dan exam when I went up to Cleveland.  I wasn’t able to get any advice since, by time they posted the results, we already started the Iaido seminar and just about everyone had already left by that point.  All I can do is continue practicing until the next round of exams and try again.  To compound that, my drive back was okay until the last five miles or so when heavy rain and hail started to fall to the point where I couldn’t see more than 10 feet in front of me.  Then there was the sprained ankle that magically appeared the next day, which still baffles me how that happened.  However, most of that was trumped by the fact that the UC team got 3rd place at the tournament.  We were able to defeat the other teams until we had to fight against the Canadian team.  The results really helped boost our spirits to continue practicing, improving and seeing the fruits of our labor.  Koizumi-sensei from Miami Valley Kendo Club was nice enough to post a video with just my matches in it, so you can take a look below at the team matches we had.

Video of my team tournament performance. Now, if only I can feel this good during the individuals, then I’d be all set.

I’ve had some ideas on what to type about next, but it was just a matter of actually posting.  At first, I wanted to talk about the last WKC in Italy, but I felt that, by time I would post it, most of what I wanted to say has already been said ad nauseum so I didn’t think that I had much value to put into it.  It doesn’t help that I’ve never been involved with something of that order of magnitude, nor was I even there so that was an additional strike against it.  What I did settle on though, was the concept of having a budo diary of sorts and talk about what it means to me.

When I first started this blog, I thought about making this a diary of sorts.  I guess I can say that it kind of is, but not in the sense of telling everyone how my last practice went.  I could very well do something like this, but I felt that I could provide more to the internet budo world than that so I finally settled on just talking about how I feel about certain concepts that I encounter through my practices.  Also, I don’t think I could get as personal on the internet than I can with written pages in a book where I can air my frustrations that I might not want to discuss nor do I want to bore people with the laundry list of things I did with little explanation to what they all mean.

I have considered, and tried, making a written version of the diary so that I can put my personal thoughts down on paper.  I know I really want to do something like that, but I don’t know if it’s something to do with being too lazy to keep it up, or if it’s something to do with the format of what I want to talk about.  My thoughts in the past tended to be very boring, only consisting of “we did X, Y and Z during practice and I thought I did well, or bad, performing those,” without any further reflection beyond that.  If what I’m writing is boring, then how can I really keep it up.

A few months ago, I was talking to a Kendo bud of mine and the subject of Kendo diaries came up.  He was talking about how he really goes into his feelings of the recent practice, down to if he agrees or disagrees with the lesson for the day.  It lit the light bulb in my head, giving me some additional ideas to make writing these entries a bit more fulfilling.  Instead of doing what I have done in the past, I really need to dig deep into myself to articulate my feelings on my practices.  And since it’s not really intended for others to see, I can get as personal as I feel I need to be in order to really reflect on how I feel about things.

Whether it’s online, on paper, or just in our heads, anyone that has done martial arts for even a little while notices the benefits of reflecting on practices.  On the surface, it seems like that practice begins and ends in the dojo and just attending practice a lot is sufficient to improve.  However, I think that the thoughts that are necessary outside of practice makes martial arts seem like one of those full-time jobs that people really don’t see until they are knee deep in it.  Recently, the things that I have been trying to understand go way beyond just mechanically doing techniques right.  Concepts like seme has popped up quite a bit in recent months that can’t be improved upon just by going to the dojo every day.  I really need to examine what needs to be done for me to understand it in the context of my current ability and understanding of Kendo.  You know what?  Maybe I’ll try again at one of these diary things.  There’s really nothing to lose, right?


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