I participated in the University of Washington’s 2013 Taikai (kendo tournament) today and it was a mostly positive experience for me, despite an injury.
The quality of the players was good and the combat was fierce, including me. Even though I did not go to the next round, I do not blame my injury. I had enough in me to get the job done but my opponent out-powered me and I did not rise to the challenge until it was too late in the round.
Nonetheless, I played a better game than I had before, being more mobile and aggressive (and I think landing a nice kote, but I won’t dwell on that).
I walked away with good information and experience for my next taikai this summer. Some of the things that I will work on:
1. A strength program now that I have gotten to the point with my exercise program where I can start adding weight routines.
2. Cardio and plenty of it. Time for either a good rowing machine or lots of stair sprints!
3. Continue to focus on good kendo but start including multiple techniques and more tai-atari.
The truth of tournaments is that they are sometimes a better test than actual rank exams. Your ego is on the line and the play is fast and aggressive with players using multiple techniques and being a lot more physical.
If you can win or just persevere while others drop out, you have something substantial to take back to your dojo to work on.