As some people who read the kenshi247 Facebook page know, yours truly was in a traffic accident and and hospitalised (initially) for a month: cycling on the way home from work on the 8th of September I was hit from behind by a car, resulting in a compression fracture of the vertebrae, i.e. what’s sometimes referred to as a “broken back.”
Sounds terrible, I know, but I was relatively lucky: only a single bone was fractured and I suffered nothing else other than a few scrapes and bruises. I had a cast around my back-abdomen/chest area for 10 days, and am currently consigned to wearing a corset/brace for the next couple of months or so. I can walk fine and – given time – I’m expected to make a full recovery. The fact that I’m in pretty good shape due to kendo probably helps to speed this up. Not so bad, considering. I don’t want to think about what could have happened had the accident been worse.
It’s been exactly 3 weeks since the accident and it looks like I’ll be allowed to leave a couple of days short of a month. The first few days where painful and full of worry, I panicked that I may not be able to do kendo again. In fact one of the nurses said it would be impossible… which I admit scared the life out of me for a minute or so before I thought “I’ll show you!” At any rate, I plan to be back in the dojo asap, for kengaku at first, then with my men on and scrapping by the start of next year.
During the first 2 weeks so many people came to visit me that I was a bit overwhelmed: over 60. I got so much food that I had to refuse the hospital meals (thank god!) in an effort to eat what I was given. The fact that I am vegetarian (and have been for 20 years) threw the kitchen staff into turmoil resulting in random (almost always non-veggie) dishes. Had my friends not given me food I would have probably starved! If your vegetarian and living in Japan don’t get hit by a car.
Most of the people that came were kendo people of course, from my students to hachidan sensei. In fact, one of those sensei suddenly arrived to find me lying on top of my bed in only my cast and pants (I mean “pants” in the British sense)… it was hot after all!!!
Obviously I’ve had a lot of free time to contemplate the accident and to think about kendo. Up until now, kendo has just been another part of my life, something I take for granted. Occasionally I have pondered over the fact that I am lucky in my kendo situation/environment – usually when I a starry-eyed visitor from abroad comes – but I never *really* thought about about exactly how lucky I am just to be able to do kendo.
Serious kendo study requires that you are in pretty good health (especially if your keiko volume is high), are relatively well-off, and have the time to spare… things that maybe some of us take for granted. I know I did. Had I been born under different circumstances perhaps kendo would have been impossible or just some sort of silly fantasy. Something to ponder.
The sheer amount of kendo friends, sempai, and sensei that visited me has reinforced what I’ve long believed to be one of the main outcomes of a successful pursuit of kendo: the forging of trusted relationships, the creation of an extended social circle, and a feeling of belonging. In that way I gained a lot of confidence in my kendo life just lying on my hospital bed.
Apologies for the chatty, attention-grabbing over-sentimental blog-like post: I’ll shut up now and hopefully start work on some real content for the site soon.