Kendo - book sharing by Mark_V

Last week, Sensei Marleen kindly lent me two books on Kendo to read….. & then asked, if I would share with you all, my thoughts on them. I said no problem; I’m a fast reader …. Sensei Marleen just smiled….

The first book is simply called Kendo (The Shambhala Guide) and is written by Minoru Kiyota.

Let me tell you, there is nothing simple about this book. Little did I know that I would find myself reading and re reading its pages over again and again, drawing upon just how much the information within those pages directly related to what we are practicing now even at this early stage of our Kendo journey.

For example, when we faced each other in practice last week, focusing on our Kamai, focusing on our Ki Ai, focusing on each others eyes…. I started thinking to myself – “man that Daniel’s a big guy for a young fella, He’s got a big reach and he looks really determined!”

For a split second I found myself doubting how I would deal with him as an opponent – In my mind the answer was “maybe get in fast & hard – maybe…”

In my mind, for that split second, I had doubted my own ability – I realised then, he would have beaten me before we had started.

When a samurai faced his opponent, sword drawn, fear was inevitably aroused. What was the source of this fear? Was it their opponent? Was it their opponent’s sword poised to strike at any second bringing either death, glory or perhaps both?

No. Much like myself, this doubt or fear is created by your own mind. Our conscious mind gives rise to what is called our ego. Our ego is that part of your mind that takes the “you” as the measuring stick of the world around you and ultimately seeks self-preservation of “You”.
It is your ego that breeds fear and doubt.

In many Western sports the goal is to respond to an external challenge and to defeat the opponent - the foremost concern in kendo is to learn how to tame your ego by internalizing the challenge.

Taming your ego prevents your mind from being swayed by external distractions; this enables you to develop concentration and alertness, which provides the reflexes necessary to develop your kendo skills which enable you to channel that discipline to realise personal growth not only within kendo but also your life itself.

What have I learnt from all this?

Before you can conquer your opponent - you must conquer the fear within yourself.

Quite simply: Don’t worry about your opponent – let your opponent worry about you, after all, as Sensei Sam tells us “In the friendly pursuit of Kendo, your aim is to learn how to kill him, BAM!!”

You may be wondering about the second book – so am I, as I have yet to start it!

I hope I have not taken up to much of your valuable training time and I truly hope that you get to read these books enjoying them as much as I am. Thank you.