Debbie - Yuri san and Takuma's visiting - 2009 03 09

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Debbie’s Reflections from training on Tuesday evening
31th March 2009

I really enjoyed training last night and thought I would flick you an email to let you know my thoughts.

It was neat because;

- Takuma and Yuri brought a refreshing look to our Waikato Kendo Group.

Refreshing because they blended in very well despite their obvious language barriers and newness.

I realised that we truly do have a diverse bunch of Kendoists and that there is real depth of culture within in.

Wow!. Takuma and Yuri were both very passionate about Kendo and I admired that. Although Takuma is young, he had an inherent 'no fear' attitude which I thought was fantastic for one so young.

- I learnt alot from Yuri.

It was a very different experience for me training with a female from outside of our club, who is very strong and confident in her Kendo. I realised that I too would like to have that same attitude and approach to my Kendo.

For the 1st time last night I realized that I unconsciously expect the boys to make allowances for the fact I am a girl and a junior.

From now on, I will try not to do this. I did feel frustrated though because I would have liked to have been a more worthy opponent and offer some challenge for Yuri.

Definitely something to work on in future.

The most important thing I took away from last nights’ training was that I now know how it feels to have a powerful and strong girl strike my 'Men'. I am very thankful to Yuri for this experience and will try and remember this when I train with the boys.

- it is definitely getting easier to put on my Men and train.

Up until last night I did dread it and mentally beat myself up about it every time. I tried a different approach last night and allowed myself license to learn. It made all the difference and although there is much for me to improve, I no longer think of it as a handicap but rather an extension of who I am. Practice, practice and more practice I know.

- I haven't really been Motodachi, so it was all new for me last night.

I wasn't aware that we don't strike back when doing drills with the kids until Joyce let me know. I did attempt to strike her Men once, until Joyce warned me otherwise. I can still see her little face which said ' What are you doing Debbie?' in the nicest possible way. I am thankful to Joyce for adding to my Kendo knowledge. Hopefully I did not upset her in any way. If I did, I apologise.


An email from Yuri san and Takuma’s English teacher

Ms. Charng,

I hope everything is fine with you and your family.

This is the first time to write to you. My name is Kunikazu Sugiyama, a teacher in Hitosugi-juku. I have taught English to 8-year-old to 18-year-old students here and taken care of the students who want to study abroad in US and New Zealand at Hitosugi-juku. As to NZ programs, we've had the short homestay program in Hamilton, or Mollinsville, for four year.

This time, I really appreciate you for accepting two of my students in your Kendo training. I’m very sure they had a very wonderful time with your students and you through kendo training. They were really eager to talk to me about their experience with you there on the way back to Japan. I'm very happy for them to have a nice experience and have fun. Again, thank you so much.

Last night, April 3rd at midnight, my students and I got to our home safe and sound. On the night before getting to Japan, we stayed in Seoul one night, and we had one-day sight seeing in Seoul, where they had also a good time. We visited Seoul Tower, Nandaemun Market, and Myeong-dong from the morning. They tried some Korean traditional hot food, BBQ and so on. I know they enjoyed walking around the town in Seoul, though they were a little tired.

I'll have a kind of the same programs next year too. When I have students who like kendo, I'd like to ask you the permission for them to join your training. I hope to go there with some of my students and see you next time.

Kunikazu Sugiyama


Sam Tsai said…
Thank you for the sharing, Debbie.

Step by step, I know that you will build your confidence in Kendo and inspire other young Kendoka.

One recent Kendo Nihon magazine just report a respectable Kendoka who started his Kendo at age 84 and has achieved 4th Dan at age 92. He is still training Kendo!!!
MrWoody said…
Debbie is an amazing classmate. She is so strong and humble. It is an honour to train with her.
I also learned from our guests as Marleen pointed out to me the directness of their attack. They stayed straight and moved forward without deviation and with clear purpose.
Another aspect of training which they helped us improve was the speed of striking during practice. I do not remember the correct term, but we were practising men strikes repeatedly whilst facing a training partner across the floor. It felt invigorating to match their training speed.