Budo Diaries: Mooncakes and Home Dojos

A lovely mooncake with red-bean and water-chestnuts for my after kendo treat. Watch out these are like, tiny bombs of calories.


Hello everyone~ This evening we have a lovely full moon and it also happens to be the Mid-Autumn Lunar Festival! So of course, I celebrated with a mooncake; although I dearly miss access to free cakes via my lovely roommates/friends at NYU

Ah well

Also — after a gross, long absence — we’re back to writing about adventures in kendo! This week marked the first week for NYU Kendo and their Fall 2013 season, and I wish those kids the best of luck; especially since the Cornell tournament is like, super early this year. (And it unfortunately falls on the weekend of New York Comic Con, no!)

Anyroad, their suffering and woe is not my main priority–actually, what I should be slightly ashamed of is my own sloppy form! During my transition between my two internships, I put kendo practice on the back-burner, and it showed today with my “lazy” style (IE. Moved fast, but didn’t bring shinai all the way up into proper stance; I do this when I’m getting tired/desperate to make a strike and it might win a point, in theory, but when I have the full attention of my sensei thanks to smaller class sizes at my home dojo–yeah, he called me out on it. Like a lot.)

Definitely disappointed in myself…

On the bright side, I was technically the highest ranked so I got to lead practice today, even if I started slopping up towards keiko!

AND, I am going to be gifted with a new zekken! * A * Jo-sensei walked up to me and said he ordered a new zekken that has my home dojo name and I was all “apdskaosd you didn’t have to! How much do I owe you?” and he waved it off with a grin:

It’s a present, congratulations on graduating.

It’s just a small thing, but I was genuinely kind of stunned and now it’s a small coil of happiness–I owe a lot to Jo-sensei, for welcoming me to his dojo during the “off” season at NYU, and during winter and spring breaks giving me a place to practice. I hope to become a better, more supportive presence for my “home” dojo in the year(s) to come!

And I am making more of an effort to get to know the people at HMK better… ^^;;; Five years and it’s hard for me to connect with them, in a way, since I was only there for the summers and often opted out of fried-chicken-and-beer at times to go home and collapse. I think i can linger for some soy sauce wings and a story or two now.

OH AND COOL NEW THING: There’s another woman now! (YAY) AND there are people my age — this is a big deal. Like, maybe they were getting extra practice in because of testing but either way, it wasn’t me versus 40+ years of experience kendoka. The world was at peace.

Except for, you know, my sloppiness. I need to look at mirrors again and get back into the right form; cause there really is no excuse for me to be taking the “lazy” way out…

What I did really well today: Kiai, endurance, energy, spirit–and a bit of mentoring for some of the newbies. HMK has this wicked tradition of 200 haya-suburi in like, 50 strike sets, which isn’t so bad, but can be hard if you’re not used to it. They’re not used to me so I am not sure if my calls of “Fighto!” and “Ganbatte!” were actually appreciated, but, I kept us at a nice pace (I think, I hope, I hope I wasn’t going too fast)

And I got to talk to everyone and learn a bit about them, yay!

What I need to improve on:  Let’s get back to basics, I’m not at the home dojo with the sort of pressure to be competition-ready. Rather, I need to remember that form is good too! Or rather, form is like everything.


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