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Celene - Kendo is a true companion to my life-long journey

Kendo is a true companion to my life-long journey 

I have been thinking about what Kendo means to me since sensei asked us this question a few weeks ago. Everyday I’d wake up and think about this - when I drive, when I do the laundry, when I do my suburi… The answer always seemed right in front of me but it was hard to pin point it into exact words. The power of language appears weak in front of this answer as kendo has infiltrated my life in so many aspects and depths. 

For me, kendo makes me calm and re-collected. It straighten up my spirit and reinforce the positive self-believe. The positivity (佛教言“正”) is not simply an “optimistic” attitude. Rather, it is a deeply rooted steadiness to allow my spirit to look through the random thoughts and emotions in my head and to understand that behind these deceptive moments of our life, there is “the way”. 

I think everyone has their own interpretation of what “the way” is. In my eyes, it manifest in various forms. It could be God in different religions, the supernatural force, the so called karma, or even different dimensions or quantum physics in scientists’ eyes. It is not something that can be put into exact words but it can be felt by the heart and spirit. I can sense the way is all around me, but it is also within me. Kendo gives me the key to step closer to what that is, and even more, to define or shape my “own way”. 

I have came to the realisation that It is not possible for anyone else other than yourself to truly understand you. Searching for “someone” who can love you when you want to be loved, hug you when you want to be hugged, laugh with you when you feel happy or feel just as painful as you when you are sad, is simply not possible. No one can truly walk that close to your true self. You are the only person that will know yourself the best in the journey of life. You are the only person that will accompany you from the start of life to the finish, or even beyond these two boundaries. It can be extremely lonely if you do not know yourself or love yourself. 

I have gone through periods where my mind (or the thoughts in my brain) would fight a lot with my spirit. Trying to search for an answer from the outer world, or trying to be like that “someone else who is always better than you” is hard and is a never ending road. But since I started practicing Kendo, it felt it has given me a key to unlock the door to my true inner spirit. Suddenly, I felt like kendo is like a long lost old friend, who has always been there waiting for me while I was too busy searching for other destinations. 

The ancient philosophy of kendo is preserved vividly in the details of each equipment, ceremony steps and movements. It is active but the same time it is stillness. The physical training has provided me a great way of active meditation. Sometimes when I practice suburi, I felt like I have entered a deep bamboo forest and through all the layers, there was another me quietly waiting for me. She looks at me with a pair of sharp, bright and steady eyes. 

Kendo has given me more than what I can describe with my words. It gives me good example for discipline, love, acceptance, patience, gratitude, respect.. it takes me through all the emotions that life can through at you, whether it is joy, sadness, anger, frustration, desperation, self-doubt, fear… Picking up the shinai or entering dojo is almost like entering the simulation fighting space in the movie Matrix. In Kendo, you can always test your limits, understand your boundaries, regulate your emotions, clarify your thoughts.. All the essential skills to life. 

I can go on and on about how kendo makes me feel. But at the end of the day, The Way is The Way. It does not change and it will not change for anyone. We are all part of the way and in front of it, I am deeply humbled. I don’t know where my spirit will go after this life, or what is the truth behind this life. But I know I only have it once, and the way is a one way road. I can only walk forward and walk it once. When I am lonely, when I am sad, when I am over-joyed, I look deep into my heart and I know kendo is always there for me. Thus in this moments, when I pick up my shinai, the beginning meets the end. All of a sudden, I see myself in front of me, the only me that I will ever get to feel in this life time, and I then know, everything will be okay. Because we are never alone. 

Kendo is a true companion to my life-long journey. Thank you sensei for being there for me, thank you for everyone who is there for me. We are never alone in this beautiful life, and may kendo always be there with us. :)

28th April 2021 


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