... How do I take in the “win, win, win” pressure, from teachers/sensei and partners? Nowadays I do it in a different way: I DON'T!!! Yet I do take it as “advice for my development”, when I can, or dismiss it entirely when it is nothing but “winning advice”...
...Train, practice, exercise, fight, compete, work and live for the only right reason: SELF-DEVELOPMENT. This one will lead to all of the other ones... when they are not excuses or simply convenient...
First of all, I don't win much in shiai - despite the fact that I love it and have been to a lot, chances of me NOT even getting through the first round of fight is more than 60%. So to say that I am a "shiai kendo"-oriented person, is not very correct.
Though I would not dismiss my "goal" of getting into the 13th WKC team Hong Kong. It has been one of my aim for practice since... probably the last WKC - or maybe as early as since I got into bogu..!!
This situation is something that I think a lot of people will not understand. If I were a fat guy starting kendo at my 35 - I probably won't be thinking much about shiai or the squad, and will agree with that self-development bit. But the more I realize that I love kendo, I am young, fit, "have potential", "not many dedicated girls", and really wanted to train, then kendo isn't just a personal activity for leisure, but rather responsiblity of fulfilling expectations from everyone else.
That goes back to my personality really. Maybe because I am a graphic designer relying on visual communication, and not a self-expressionist abstract artist..?
Outside of Japan, kendo is a small world after all... As long as you fit in the criteria of being in the squad, it becomes the scenario of Red pill vs Blue pill. Adding to that, I don't like the feeling of being pick "because I exist", but more "because I train hard". Therefore I have to keiko 2-3 times a week, plus the secret training at home (Eda-sensei goes to 6 sessions a week..!!).
So when being asked "why did you lose so fast at the shiai?", it comes to me like a slap on the cheek. Squad member and you lose? To a junior? Yeah, you trained, but why should we let you go to the Worlds and lose?
If I am just a regular guy then losing out at a shiai doesn't bother me much. You know, 50% of people lost at the first round. Shiai is a part of training. Losing shows you your weaknesses, etc. But as a potential squad member, it's not just another day any more. Makes me question if I really have what it takes to be fighting at international level.
But the other stuff at the squad is useful to anyone. Like that "Make Ippon" comment that still echoes in my mind. If I stop thinking about it, even in kihon or uchikomi... Ill end up hitting at random timings - which isn't going to help my kendo much. Be it in shiai or shinsa, or even a regular keiko. It's a matter of fighting with the heart, rather than just getting to the dojo and have a sweat. So the things I do at the squad is in the least sense of shiai kendo, or winning advice, or whatever - it's still just the basic concept.
In return this attitude does take away a lot of joy and fun in kendo... I am not saying I don't enjoy kendo now. Being serious in keiko every second really helps a lot in learning and understanding. It's physically and mentally a lot more demanding - but I prefer the tougher way than the relaxing way... [and I am so sadistic!]
PS - Last night at dinner I heard Eda-sensei briefly talked about the 05/06 kendo schedule. Something like Inoue Shigeaki sensei visiting HK again in early Aug, Furukawa Kasuo sensei (Eiga Naoki's sensei) visit in late Aug... Then there is HK Open Taikai in Oct (special funding from local government)... In Dec Sumi Masatake Sensei will visit... Jan 06: HK Asian Tournament... Mar: Squad visit to Fukuoka Edu Uni (Sumi-sensei's)... Summer: Squad visit to Korea/Taiwan... and in Dec, 13th WKC!!