Thank you all for the many well thought-out comments on last week’s post. In spite of me breaking the first law of blogging, (never post anything ironic without including a smiley face or lol), you gave me some deep personal insights into what we really gain from our kendo practice.
The qualities you mentioned or described included, courage, perseverance, perception, the ability to stay calm under pressure and perhaps the most interesting from my perspective, durability and stamina; keeping our kendo practice moving forward into our old age.
In comparison to my teachers and seniors I am a mere child at the age of 64 and yet I look forward to each keiko session as much as I did when I started aged 17. I can’t remember what it is like not to do kendo but I am fairly certain that I feel better than many of my peers who lead more sedentary lives. OK, so the knees do ache a bit the morning after practice, but apart from that, fingers crossed, my capacity to enjoy kendo and life in general is undiminished.
Kendo has a way of making allowances for the changes brought about by aging that many other sports and pastimes do not. I have heard stories about heart-attacks in the squash courts, whereas in kendo if you learn to breathe correctly and keep going, kizeme takes over from physical power and you can continue to train with younger, fitter partners.
What was also obvious is that most people embraced the fact the kendo really is a lifelong route to self-improvement and not just a competitive sport. You also gave me some great examples of how you put the benefits of your keiko into action. Eric’s coolness in avoiding being hit with a 300kg piece of metal and Steven’s resilience in the face of life threatening cancer and its painful treatment are 2 very different, but equally valid examples.
I am writing this in advance of its Monday morning post, as I am spending the weekend at the European Referees’ Seminar in Brussels. As well as brushing up refereeing skills it is a great opportunity to catch-up with old kendo friends. Getting together with other kendoka, be it in person or through this blog, reminds me of my other reason for continuing kendo. It’s great to be part of an international community of like-minded people.