Kendo Musings: A Long Way from Thriving

There is a quote I like which says, “Go where you’re celebrated, not tolerated”. I prefer to use the word thrive though instead of celebrated. Because it connotes continual growth amidst a sense of fulfillment and happiness despite whatever struggles that come in any endeavor worth pursuing.

I have been writing a lot about Kendo lately than rowing which I am deeply passionate about. As I revisited some of my written musings over the past months, there is one thing that jumps out to me. I love what I do as a kendoka. But it seems that I am still far from getting a sense of fulfillment from it like what rowing has generously gifted me with over the years.

There really should be no comparison because they are different in several ways. And yet, they are the same in many things as well. I have the same passion, energy, and curiosity for these two pursuits. But I feel more fulfilled doing my current role in rowing. In contrast, most of the happy times I had from doing Kendo can be traced to those moments of overcoming the pain and hardships that come with training. Making an infinitesimal step forward often feels like a major achievement which is a result of pushing myself out of my comfort zone. But other than the training aspect, I am having a hard time figuring out my place in the scheme of things.

I do not feel the sense of community that I feel in rowing where being with friends and colleagues inspires me. Rowing people edify me. They make me want to strive more in improving myself. And even during the bad times, I still find plenty to be thankful about the experiences I have had with the sport itself and the people I meet through it. For this reason, I am always grateful to be part of that community. In Kendo though, at least in this small part of the world where I practice it, I often feel that I do not belong. It is like I am taking a solitary walk in a path I could not quite clearly see.

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