Yedsterday’s keiko at Mumeishi dojo seemed to have a very thoughtful reflective feel to it. We did nothing different from the usual kihon geiko and jigeiko routine, but as you might expect from the last session of the year, people were thinking about the improvements made over the last twelve months and starting to set objectives for 2016.
For some of our members this is going to be a momentous year. The UK Kendo squad are about to announce the selection of the athletes who will be going to Tokyo for the 16WKC and I can imagine that this process is happening, or has just happened in dojo throughout the kendo world, so there are a lot of proud kenshi with a big job and a tough training programme ahead of them. For others there is the equally big challenge in just making the changes required to continue on their upward path as they follow the sugyo of kendo.
Some of us who are at the senior end of the kendo age range will be putting thought into how we change our kendo to maximise on our experience and strength of mind whilst compensating for a weakening body. It is also the time of year when thought turn to kendo friends who are no longer able to train through illness or infirmity.
The Japanese term “keiko” implies that we train reflecting on the wisdom of past generations, so there is nothing unusual in this self-searching. The year-end however and for some, the increased time to sit quietly and think magnify the opportunity to reflect on our place in the kendo universe.
On a personal level I am doing all of the things that I mentioned. Looking forward to meeting kendo friends from around the world in Tokyo next May and planning how in the short time available to make sure that I am the best I can be both as a kendoka and a referee.
However before I become too thoughtful and introspective there is still the chance to do some more kendo before the New Year. Sanshukan, my local dojo in Camberley will be open from 8.30 p.m. this coming Tuesday and the following Tuesday, so I can avoid the usual holiday kendo withdrawal. If you are within travelling distance and have a spare evening come and join us. On the other hand if I don’t see you before, have a great Christmas.