Thursday, January 10, 2013

2012: A Year In Review

Happy New Year everyone!  Or, as they say in Japan, 開けましておめでとうございます皆さん!(Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu minna san!).  I thought that I would take some time to think about how my Kendo and Iaido training has gone this year.  Unfortunately, I am dealing with the flu right now.  But hey, the good news is that I get at least an extra day off from work!

The first big thing that happened with Kendo last year was that I got to organize the Spring and Fall promotion exams for the ECUSKF.  Since I was new to all of this, there were several mistakes that were made along the line for both of the exams, but I’m taking each mistake as a lesson for next time to make sure that everything runs smoother.  Actually, I’m in the throes of planning the next Spring exam as we speak.  Since the planning for the exam is starting earlier, I hope that everything goes much smoother than last time, when there was only a month to plan everything and get the application forms out.

The second big achievement last year was that I got my 3rd Dan after my 3rd attempt!  Unlike the first two times, I felt like I was in total control over my technique to make sure that each strike was clean and on target.  There was that sense of calm after finishing my bouts of jigeiko as opposed to the sense of dread and panic about my performance.  Now I get to spend the next three years improving myself for my 4th Dan test.

For now, I’ve been really working on my seme.  Of course, it’s much easier said than done because that’s when sparring becomes less about what you can do to the other person and more about what you can make the other person do.  This involves pressuring the opponent to give up their center for me to capitalize on either by flinching, or making them attack.  And then, it’s not enough to force them to attack you, but you must dictate where you want them to attack so you can counter-attack.  The good news is that, based on the comments that were given to me last Saturday, I’m well on my way to doing just that.  I just need to work on it more to see how I can make it part of my Kendo.

As for Iaido, I really don’t have too much to report on that.  I regularly go to practice and get corrected on things, but there really hasn’t been any big events that I attended last year.  The class size has remained small as it always has been, which has it’s good and bad points.  On one hand, I get ALL of the personal attention I could ever want since it’s mostly me and my sensei about 98% of the time.  On the other hand, having a larger group of people to practice with adds to the spirit of practice and makes things a little less lonely.  I sometimes do wonder how Iaido could be marketed to increase numbers.  Initial thoughts tell me that it’s nearly impossible to find such techniques (or we would have had larger classes a long time ago)

For the coming year, I’ll just continue practicing and improving on my technique.  On top of that, I need to work on putting some emphasis and meaning behind the strikes, which involves investigating what I am doing in the kata and thinking about the context of the situation at hand and how I would dispatch the enemy.  The good news is that, since most of it is left up to interpretation, there really isn’t a wrong answer to this.  But it does lead to some healthy discussions to how we feel each kata should be performed.  I would like to try and test again, but with travel expenses and room and board, it gets quite expensive to go across the country to get another kyu rank.  We’ll see, but I might have to sit out again and try to plan for next year or something.

A lot has gone in in the martial arts world for me last year.  While it was great and all, I think I will appreciate this relative break from the excitement.  There are the usual tournaments and practices, but I don’t have to worry about taking the promotion exam and I am starting to settle into my role as promotion exam organizer.  I could try to test again for Iaido sometime this year, but with travel being all expensive and me wanting to concentrate on the direction of my finances, it might be a little difficult to travel across the country to get another kyu rank.  Nothing is really set in stone, so anything can change.  There is the AUSKF nationals next year that I might try for, but all I need to do to prepare for that is train my mind and body like I always have and hope for the best.

Well, Happy New Year folks and good luck with whatever goals you have set for yourself!

Powered by Blogger