Having started training in Feb 2021 and making it to the end of my first calendar year having spent portions of the year locked down and away from the dojo was pleasing.
I found the first half of the year training with the Waikato Kendo Club to be a whirlwind of learning, fitness and focus. The focus in particular became very useful for my work and personal life when the dreaded lockdowns hit. Because I had Kendo I also had a way to focus on my suburi and reduce stress levels dramatically.
Kendo flowed into all aspects of my life; I made some big decisions such as changing my job of ten years. One of the deciding factors in changing jobs was the job is in Hamilton, it just so happens that the dojo is too - what a coincidence.
Grading days came and went twice, I managed to progress through to 6th Kyu and gain more understanding of body positioning, kiai and timing but the best thing I discovered was some good friendships. I became the rose between two great thorns, Celene and Janet. The three of us shared our thoughts and kept each other entertained through the second lock down, we also managed to come up with a few questions for Sam Sensei in lockdown zoom meetings we attended.
Finally, we made it back to the dojo where all the suburi we did at home paid off, we trained hard and last week put bogu back on for the first time in months. I found my awareness of surroundings had diminished, I once knew where my feet were and now, I found that spatial awareness was just a little off. Marlene Sensei reinforced that kendo takes time, just practice and things will settle down again.
Now as we look to wind down for the holiday season I am looking forward to next year, more training, grading and great pearls of wisdom both Sam Sensei and Marlene Sensei, and all the Senpai and hope I can share some of that knowledge with new club members as time goes by.
So stay well, do your suburi and relax – it won’t be too long before we are back in the dojo with our family.