“there is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself.” ~ Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings.
I have been scanning YouTube for the best videos related to Kendo. Some are quite good, and I am posting them below so I can find them again.
I liked Kendo the minute I saw it. I wish there was more I could add to that statement, but there isn't. I just liked it. I like swimming for the same non-reason. I just do. But, there are other sports I like to watch but have no desire to play (ice hockey, European soccer). But for swimming, I knew the minute I saw water as a tot than I wanted to be in it, on it, around it, near it, and under it. I find much peace in or by water. For whatever reason, I felt that same peace when I saw Kendo for the first time even though it is absolutely more aggressive than swimming or kayaking. When I went home to do research (once a geek...always a geek), I learned that Kendo is a trifecta practice of mind, spirit, and sport. The videos I am most drawn to aren't the ones that showcase technique (although I am grateful for the ones that taught me how to put on the keikogi andhakama). The ones about developing character and inner peace are the most engaging, and I think about them when I do my practices here at home. I do wish I had the tall ceilings of my Connecticut house, though. I have to practice without the shinai if I am inside because I keep hitting the ceiling. Side Note: An interesting fun fact that I stumbled over...there were, in fact, female samurai (Onna-bugeisha). They, like the men they fought battle with, were part of the nobility, but used a slightly different kind of sword. Interesting.
But, I digress.
I really think I can learn the most from Master Song in regard to the sport. Watching the videos is helpful because the more I see and hear it, the more I get used to what is going on, but the actual learning of the sport will require his guidance and expertise. He has the patience of a Saint which I most appreciate. He also seems to have abundant energy which is exactly what I want to have when I am his age. I have one more practice night before I leave for two weeks of work travel. I couldn't order a case for my shinai in enough time to take it along, so I will have to practice without it. Sensei Simon gave me some good exercises to do, and if Master Song has time, I might ask him what I can do since I can't take the shinai. However, he is a very busy man, and he has a range of students from totally newbie (me) to folks like Sensei Simon who are way up there in the Dan level. I don't want to tax him or make him tired of teaching me, so I think I will not try to tax him with too many questions. Anyway, here are some videos that I found really helpful: