Kendo for life
We often hear the phrase ‘kendo journey’ and for each of us our kendo paths are different. And, depending on how long we have been studying and training in Kendo, it can so easily become part and parcel of our day to day lives.
One such occasion happened a couple of weeks ago when I was preparing for a job interview. I am certain that my Kendo training played a key part in securing the position. These are some of the parallels I have been able to draw:
The initial application that I completed was the warm up for what was to come. In those documents I loosened up my prospective employer by letting them know who I was and what skills and experience I could bring to the role. Much like we do when we limber up at the start of each training session, this was an opportunity to show-case myself and prepare for the hard work that lay ahead.
Kamae (Basic assessments)
The next phase of the recruitment process involved the completion of a number of assessments. These assessments were a means to finding out the basics – who I was and what actually made me tick. What basic personality, behaviours, motives, values, preferences and abstract reasoning skills I naturally possess. Much like our important basic stance of Kamae, these assessments gave my prospective employer a strong impression of who I was and what I had to offer.
The 2nd part of this stage came in the form of an hour long interview with a psychologist. Much like we do when we practice kakari Keiko, I could sense that the psychologist was trying to find opportunities to attack and expose weaknesses in my armour. It was an interesting session with the psychologist having some valuable feedback and advice to share with me. I also had ample opportunity to demonstrate my kihon and different waza, depending on what questions were asked and felt comfortable doing so at my level.
The final stage felt very much like shiai and as such I prepared for it that way. With the final interview being 1½ hours long, I knew it would be intense. Just like shiai, I was nervous but focussed on doing my best.
Part 1 of this 2 stage process came in the form of a 30 minute presentation. I was given a scenario to review and then had 10 minutes to prepare, prior to delivering my presentation to a panel of 3 Managers. I seized the opportunity to brainstorm all of the waza I had and confidently delivered my presentation. I must have done well as there were no questions from the panel and the plan I had prepared had been executed in full.
The real shiai came in the form of a 1 hour interview in front of the panel. With each strike and counter strike they delivered, I also returned my best cuts followed by strong and meaningful zanshin. I also focussed on building up ai-ki between myself and each of the panel members so that I could anticipate what might be coming next. It worked well and I enjoyed the interview and talking with each panel member very much.
My own Kendo journey has been going for a couple of years now and I know that it has become an integral part of my life. And… that makes me smile. Despite the highs and lows and the occasional bout of the blues, Kendo is good for me.
And to encourage you to pursue your dreams or your next goal or endeavour, here is a quote from Ella Wheeler Wilcox …
“There is no chance, no destiny, no fate that can circumvent or hinder or control the firm resolve of a determined soul.”