Ann - What have I learnt in Kendo?

30 November 2016
Congratulations to Ann's first time of putting on Gi & Hakama! 

Answering the question of "What have I learnt in Kendo?" we asked in our Beginners Class, Ann answered: 

I began my Kendo journey in July 2016 and I haven’t stopped learning since. The techniques in cutting and movements have taught me to be more graceful and nimble. I am more observant to finesse and because of that, I am more motivated to perform well. Furthermore, they are very good exercises and I feel lighter and fitter than before. 

Besides the cutting techniques and posture in Kendo, I have learnt several life lessons, patience being the most prominent one. I had a hard time in completing tasks within a team because I had high expectations of team members and wanted tasks to be completed within a less than ideal time limit. So I tried to put that under control and thankfully, Kendo reinforced that. I am more than willing to work in a team and I do not dread being in a team as much as before. 

Apart from being patient with others, Kendo has taught me to be patient with myself. I am always critical of myself and barely forgiving. Making mistakes is my worst nightmare and I often choose to be harsh instead of letting go and moving on. Throughout my Kendo lessons, I made mistakes and they upset me very much.

The bright side of my disappointment is that it means I care about Kendo. Regardless, it was upsetting to make mistakes. However, with everyone’s support, I practiced and worked on my weaknesses and improved. With all that support, I became a more accepting person and I realised that going through the learning process including making mistakes and correcting them is more rewarding than succeeding immediately. The time taken to learn helped me strengthened my ‘kihon’ (basics) and made me more alert to the slightest misstep. 

Apart from all that, I have changed from a soft-spoken person to a more confident person. I am more likely to voice my opinion at my workplace and make suggestions. 

Due to these changes, I feel happier and I am more open to taking on more responsibilities. The ‘kiai’ we do during lessons contributes the most to my confidence boost. In a way, the ‘kiai’ gives my form energy and a huge increase in my strength. I did not have this spirit before and that caused me to be a reserved person. Being outspoken is the best thing I have ever experienced and I wish to be in this form for times to come. 

Besides building character, I have made many friends through Kendo. I have exchanged cultural information and I have learnt to see things from other people’s point of view and that has opened my mind to other possibilities. 

I wish for Kendo to be a part of my life because it has introduced many things to me that I did not think feasible before.

Name: Liew Carl Ann

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Ki-ai 気合:

The state where one is fully focused on the opponent's move and one's planned moves. Also, it refers to the vocalisations one produces when in such a state of mind. (Japanese-English Dictionary of Kendo)

Kiai is a Japanese term used in martial arts for the short yell or shout uttered when performing an attacking move. (Wikipedia)