Ran into this blog again after 5 years by accident!!!!! What a strange feeling!! I almost forgot about this, but the blog still ranks 3rd in Google search results (the first 2 results are about the UI and not related to kendo...!!)
YES I am back in kendo. After 5 years working in Guangzhou, I found a job back in Hong Kong (2015), and moved to so much closer to the dojo to make going to practice easier.
That said, even all these years I tried to keep up the fitness level, I still struggle to fill in the 4-year kendo sabbatical.
Everyone who started at similar time with me is at least 4-5 dan, with some very encouraging senpai and sensei who continues to give inspirations. In recent years the ladies squad has become more popular, and generally more competitive shiai in taikai. More universities have started their own clubs which also bring in a lot of local interests. Even in Asian Tournament, we can see more (strong) girls from everywhere, especially in China were the sport just expanded into even 3-tier cities. A few from my dojo went to check out the last WKC in Tokyo and was very impressed by the level displayed by every team in the international community.
However, I can only commit to my own club practice, about 2 times a week. Being a "senior" sometimes I have the opportunity to lead juniors, beginners and kids, which become interesting learning experiences. In my club I tried to be a good example for especially the girls. We have a very high percentage of girls in the dojo now (~50%) adults and kids alike. Isn't this what I had been looking forward to before? If so I feel that I have the responsibility to maintain that. My sensei are also pushing me to get 4 dan (which I know is very far away).
Of course there are many people I remembered who are not in the dojo due to various reasons. Sensei comes and moves away, just like any expat. Other members most probably quit due to work, family or injuries or lost of interests. Most interesting ones are the kids who has grown and now studies universities in the UK!
It is surprising to still keep this passion of mine after such a long break and so many changes in life's situation.
Besides kendo, I am also very grateful to have joined a trail running club near where I live and had completed 2 full marathons so far. If I have spare time (and energy) I also do a bit of body weight training. Like everyone else, (after getting into 30+ years old) another issue is to fight the occasional injuries and work schedule zzzzz...
My club is celebrating 20th Anniversary and I am grateful to be part of the party organising committee. I am also very proud to be able to design the club jacket for the 2nd time (this only happens every 10 years!!)
Thanks for reading, as always!
p.s. I found this blog again as the other day I was thinking what beginners in my dojo will find about kendo in google... To me this is still a good read (although embarrassing), because this reminds me that everyone was once a beginner :)