Overall, I felt that 2014 was a satisfying one for my growth, understanding and participation of Kendo and Iaido, despite some pretty interesting ups and downs. I've been able to continue practicing between 3 - 5 days per week depending on the University of Cincinnati being in session. I've also been able to make some new friends while vacationing in Hawaii and, of course, taking the opportunity to practice there and I've been able to catch up with some old ones by visiting Atlanta and practicing there. There was one event that happened which will really test my ability to lead and organize though.
Earlier this year, I was given the keys to the Northern Kentucky Kendo Club because the previous leader had to move away for a job opportunity. I've spent the past few years growing as a person by leading practices here in Cincinnati and offering advice where applicable, and I've been an officer for a few clubs in the past and with our regional Kendo federation, but I've never had the responsibility for running a club.
The good news is that the club is very small at the moment so there really isn't a lot of stuff to handle at the moment. My goal right now is to try to structure the club a little better, gain more students and make the club more sustainable. I know it's not going to be easy but I'm willing to stand in the face of this challenge.
One problem with the old club leader moving away is that now I'm without a sensei to teach me Iaido here in Cincinnati. Of course, that doesn't mean that I will stop practicing. I've still been able to work with my knowledge through practicing with him and attending seminars when I am able to. My plan is to try to attend more seminars, gain rank and knowledge and try to grow Iaido membership. Marketability is tough since Iaido doesn't have the screaming, hitting and stomping that Kendo has so it will be tough. At least I've been able to do demos at our regional tournaments, so I guess that's a start.
There are two major events that I have to look forward to in 2015 that's Kendo related.
- I get to see the World Kendo Championship in Tokyo in May. I've always thought about going for years because it would be a great opportunity to see some of the best Kendo that the world has to offer. I will be going with a friend of mine who stayed over there for a few months a while back, so she has connections to a few of the dojos she practiced at. Not only do I get to watch some good Kendo, I have a few opportunities to get some practice in for myself!
- I will be eligible to test for my 4th Dan in November. I have been preparing for this moment ever since I passed my 3rd Dan, but I can't help but feel the pressure from the time crunch. There's still a lot that I need to work on before the test date, but I feel optimistic that I will be able to use my short time to the fullest to prepare.
明けましておめでとうございます (Happy New Year)！