Little known fact: I’m a kendoka, a person who practices kendo, the “way of the sword”. I’ve been doing this for about four years (Maybe even longer if you count my short-lived stint with iaido although they are completely different) and I’ve loved every minute of it. Kendo was literally a childhood dream of mine, influenced perhaps by a long history of cousins who were martial arts enthusiasts and a childhood devoted to absorbing all things anime. So when I walked into my university’s club fair as a wee freshman and saw kendoka milling about I jumped at the chance to try it, and never regretted it.
(More gushing and feelings and kendo rambling after the cut!)
In fact, kendo has changed my life — definitely for the better for both health reasons and a profound spiritual growth. Not to mention it helped my social life and made a large intimidating university actually a rather friendly place. I can gush about kendo morning, noon, and night (And my teammates and I tend to do that on a daily basis, we’ve tried to stop, really) — but I think this isn’t the time or place for it.
For now, when I reflect on this third-to-last practice, where a few special guest alums came by to visit, I can really see how far I’ve come from an unsure freshman girl to perhaps one of the most easily recognized fixtures of the kendo team. I have my kiddos and my kohai clinging to me and asking me what they’ll do without their “Team Mommy”, and really, I wish them the best of luck trying to patch up all the bruises and pains they face each practice.
But I digress – tonight’s practice was a real eye-opener for maybe how far I’ve improved within the last four years. Especially when I matched up against one of my own senpai, a graduate of the NYU Class of 2012, my “spiritual” cousin (All Filipinos are related, and our mothers went to kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high-school together), and one of my kendo role models and I held my own.
It’s a really good feeling of accomplishment. :) Trust me; I hope to elaborate on that more through the upcoming Budo Diaries that will grace the blog and the Health category.
Believe it or not, our sensei has one of the best suggestions out there for beginning kendoka, and that is to keep a diary and write entries after each practice. It’s a hard habit to keep up (Believe me, I’ve tried to keep up a kendo diary about three times now) but I am more and more determined each time to keep mine updated; especially now that I have an Internet one there is no excuse for losing my “diary” so to speak.
So with that said — here is some advice for all kendoka, from beginners to dan-ranked members, about keeping a kendo diary:
Keep it simple, just jot down what you did well in practice, and what you can improve on in the next practice.
That’s it! And with that said, here is my own entry for my first online kendo diary entry…
- What I did well today: Ai-men, kote-men combo; was complimented on the way I literally launch myself at my opponent when I go in for the kote haha
- What I should improve on: Center! Focus on keeping center, too open, too loose! People can easily break my guard – which shouldn’t happen at all