New Year is the time when we can all reflect on what we have accomplished over the past year and set out our goals for the year to come. It is also the time to think about the past and how lucky we have been to receive the instruction and encouragement from our teachers and sempai during our kendo careers.
I recently read George McCall’s excellent post on kendo DNA which set in motion my own reflections on the help and guidance that I have received from wonderful teachers such as Chiba sensei, Arima sensei and Sumi sensei. As always my main debt of gratitude goes back to Matsumoto Toshio sensei who took the trouble to teach me when I was an insignificant foreign student.
Having just returned from New Year keiko at London’s Wakaba dojo, I am also pleased to see how some of my juniors have shown massive improvement over the past year. It would be wrong to claim any credit for their hard work, but it is a pleasure to see through “old kendo eyes”, how the next generation are following and overtaking me.
Moving forward, it is a time for preparation for the coming year. I am hooked on the Japanese custom of “Osoji”, starting the New Year with everything clean and ready. Now is the time to wash and clean our dogi and to make sure that bogu and shinai are in good repair, so hopefully the rain will hold off until my keikogi and hakama have drip dried.
For me, the coming kendo year looks really exciting, with a trip to Japan in February, The Paris Taikai in March and The London Cup and The World Championships in May, and that’s not even half way through the year.
More than anything else I am looking forward to my first keiko of the year on Tuesday the 3rd of January.
Thank you everybody for reading my blog and a Happy New Year. Rainen mo yoroshiku onegaishimasu.