Being in the Moment, Self-Reflection, and Looking Ahead

“Anyone who makes significant progress in a sport or art, has to be to a greater or lesser degree, self-centred; putting in extensive time for training and reflection. Kendo is by nature an introspective pursuit. The character, do or michi, tells us that it is not just a pastime but a way, a path or roadmap for our lives. If we travel even a moderate distance down this path, we tend to invest an enormous amount of time and mental space in the pursuit of our kendo goals.”

sketched by Bixie Villavicencio
sketched by Bixie Villavicencio

My friend Bixie drew a sketch of a Men (Bogu) for me a few days ago. We had a laugh about it. Or more like a kind of shared laughter over something that we both find fascinating and awe-inspiring. She’s been really excited and supportive of my Kendo journey. I told her that one of the things I like about Kendo is the inner calmness I’m beginning to develop, a more sustained and deeper sense of peace I  seldom get to enjoy. And that’s a revelation for me given how I always find the water sport I’ve devoted several years of my life (and will continue to do so for as long as I can) a calming, meditative, & intense pursuit. The sport I love and Kendo have their similarities. But it’s the differences that I couldn’t quite put into words yet that fascinate me.

I agree that “Kendo is by nature an introspective pursuit”. Every after practice, I find myself reflecting on what I did and on how I can improve myself. It’s like once you become a kendoka, you live and breathe the Way. Last night’s post-practice reflections touched on humility, stoic acceptance, the desire to master the basic, the importance of not hurrying through the process, and the admirable discipline Kendo tries to teach each and every one of its students. I realized after last night’s practice that I’m like a dust mote among the giants of this sport/martial art. And I’m perfectly happy with it. I think it’s slowly dawning on me why they say that Kendo is a lifelong process.


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