Mark Men - PNKF ShinsaI passed my nidan (2nd-dan) exam in kendo on March 2nd. I’d been training for this since August and I went in with a feeling of comfortable accomplishment. Whether or I would pass or not, my sense was that I was in a comfortable  nexus point, between wanting to pass and also seeing this as a single way-point on a longer journey.

My preparation for the exam was a return to the basics of kendo. An emphasis on posture, introspection, and commitment to every strike (well, mostly…that last point is a work in progress but I feel that I am adequate to my level for now). I also did gym training to support my kendo efforts.

Things that I did well at my exam:

1. Strong kiai

2. Good breath control

3. Basic, strong strikes, pushing from my hips

4. Not backing away from my opponents

5. Strong and comfortable sonkyo.

There is a lot more that I need to work on but, at this way-point, I will not rest on my laurels as I know that the next two years before I test again must be filled with even harder work.

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