Clement - Thanks to Wells Sensei

Clement - The 2007 NZKF National Seminar

The biggest thing I've learnt from the kendo camp is not how to defeat your opponent faster, what tricks you can use to win, it is PATIENCE and getting back to BASICS.

My initial expectations for the camp was continuous fighting, developing and honing my fighting skills to be better at my shiais. But the more I learn, the more I realise, how much I don't know.

When I practised with the sensei's, when I was practising kata, I was nervous, I was scared to death. Afraid I might be looked down on others, as if there was an expectation to participate in the camp.

The senseis saw this immediately, saying how I was always very jittery, jumpy, like an ant in my pants. But one sensei reached out to me, he was Wells Sensei, he helped me and I can never thank him enough.

I was on the floor, sweating and panting after facing him, he completely obliterated me...he was too fast, too powerful, too good.

then he said: "Stand up, hold your ground, be proud of yourself, and your kendo achievements, once you know that, fight me again"

He told me to stand straight, told me to hold Chuu Dan, Stomach tight with happy feelings, Adjust your Maai, when you are ready, strike with full commitment.

After the two days of national level training, I was taught how to do my basics again. You can imagine how shocked I was, as I realised that you cannot learn to fly if you can't even walk.

Here I was, at the edge of my kendo progress, and told to go back and retrain. Yet I was happy to do it. It's that understanding why there is a gap between the good and the bad.

I looked around at all the kendokas, and I felt that everyone has been in my position, they were all beginners who had no idea what kendo had in stall for them, and all of them have reached this conclusion as I have.

I'm just glad I've got past this point. I used to be a lousy 7th kyu practising his men-kote-do strikes... now, I'm still that same lousy 7th kyu practising his men-kote-do. But this time I know why I'm still that lousy 7th kyu, and that with patience and basics, maybe one day, I can be like Well Sensei, to be able to reach out for a junior with his problems.

^ O ^

I don't know whether that was the homework, but this was my opinion anyway.