When I am not slaving away for my corporate masters or my family, I find quiet moments in kendo training. Well, quiet in the sense that I seek moments of clarity and peace in bouts of sweaty and loud sports combat (kendo). The Bhagavad Gita has a beautiful and true quote about just that and have inscribed it upon my heart, seeking it in many places and times of my life.
The current heat wave in Seattle has contributed an additional layer of intensity to everything, especially kendo where, once you don the face mask; you are transported to a very uncomfortable place. It is a sweaty Gita!
I had an incredible practice last night. After a good showing at the PNKF Taikai I was feeling confident that my efforts were finally paying off. My sempai had told me that my entire game would change once I started lunging forward (instead of down which really clips my wings).
So last night my game plan was to on focus smooth lunges forward, light swings, and better kiai and floor presence.
That last term, “floor presence” means a mix of really committing to one’s actions, having a comfortable bearing, perhaps even some swagger. It only comes from a natural feeling and not artificial moves or thoughts. For me, that meant choosing to enjoy what I was doing and doing so in a manner consistent with which I truly am as a person.
As a result I truly enjoyed practice. I felt light, smooth(er), and I was not sore the next day as I usually have been in the past. I also was getting more distance and finishing each match with a reserve of energy. I also smiled and even laughed!
That is the joy of kendo that I have been looking for. Even with some tough opponents last night, I felt that “peaceful abode within” that Krishna speaks of in the Bhagavad Gita.
This will be my kendo.