Friday, May 20, 2005

Response to Reader #1: Self-development?

Finally I stopped scratching myself after some medication, and have the mood to write a post in response to an email I got from a reader earlier this week. Abstract as follow:-

... 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!!


rmacapobre said...

i am having trouble reading the text. but largely perhaps to my colorblindness ...

Mingshi said...

Whoops! Sorry this site is not totally colorblind-friendly... And being a graphic designer I should be more aware of it (But bright red on green is COOL)

Try highlighting the text with your cursor... I am too lazy to change the template now!

[I wonder if you can still read my response!!]

Vivian Yung said...

So the 2006 HK Asian Tournament is going to be held in January?? Not February?? I am just asking because this tournament is traditionally held in the last weekend of February. Can you please help me confirm? Please, Please, Please. =D I would really love to come to visit HK again... at the right time. tehehe.

Mingshi said...

D'oh..! I should be more careful about what info I am posting on MY OWN BLOG... Now that people suddenly take it too seriously!!! :D

A bit of correction of the dates, here's what we got on agenda (from the association's general secretary, ie. Eda sensei):-

11th-17th August visit of Furukawa sensei (8-Dan Kyoshi)
from hokkaido and some of his high school students
HKKA has invited Furukawa sensei

26th-29th August of Kaku sensei and his friends.
Kaku sensei was former Headmaster of the Hong Kong Japanese School.
He has presented the big red flag for HKKA to hang in the dojo

Visit to Singapore Kendo CLub
9-11th Sep shiai keiko

Hong Kong Open
in October (date to be confirmed later)
team events only (3-men team)

Visit to RENPENKAN, Akemi sensei's dojo
in Tochigi ken. HKKA will send one team to
have shiai with other teams from Chinese Taipei,
Korea, USA and Shanghai to celebrate 50th anniversary

Visit of Sumi Masatake sensei in December (dates to be confirmed)

Visit of Nemoto sensei end of December (dates to be confirmed)

2006 Proposed events

18-19th Feb 6th Asian Tournament

Visit to Sumi Masatake sensei's university in Fukuoka

Visit to Korea

Visit to Chinese Taipei


Vivian Yung said...

Woohoo! Thanks for checking the dates and distribute the details. The date of the next Asian Tournament looks great, coz the 2006 Chinese NY is going to be on 9th Feb, which is just a week or so before the tournament. Should be a lot of fun in HK at that time.

Iustin said...

Interesting thoughts about Kendo goals... One one hand, a person training for self-development, on the other, a person training hard for WKC (or other competitions)... I have a question then: what were you training at the beggining, when you didn't have an immediate chance for the HK squad?

I mean, if someone is good, she/he can train for national squad - a worthy goal. If, as you say, someone is in the 30's and not fit, its another thing. But what about the middle road? When I go to training, I try to give my best, I try to do everything as well as I can, not sparing myself. I take training seriously, and I feel bad when this or that doesn't work. But I don't always have time to go to all four sessions a week, nor do I have much time to train extra.

I just wanted to point out the middle road - training hard for self-development. It seemed to me that you consider self-development a little bit a `soft' target.

Most importantly, thank you for sharing your experience and advice.

PS: yes, your site is hard to read, but not on all monitors. And the mouse trick does it :)

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