Another year is done. 100s of keiko sessions, thousands of kirikaeshi, countless suburi, and a couple of beers. Unlike most years, however, this one seemed to fly by. Probably because this it ushered in some rather significant changes/advances to both my personal and budo life.
The main reason for starting kenshi 24/7 a decade ago was to share my kendo experiences here in Japan with an audience outside of it. Although the content nowadays tends to lie more on exploring, introducing, and explaining the cultural/historical side of budo, that original purpose has never quite disappeared. Today’s slightly more personal post harks back to this aim. If this isn’t your thing, just scroll down to the bottom for links and media.
Shinai in one hand, baby in the other
At the time of this post my lovely daughter is just over 14 months old. She’s running around like a headless chicken and causing me no end of worries! Unlike most kendo addicts, however, keiko-wise I am pretty lucky because kendo is part of my job. I’ve also being attending asageiko sessions for many years now (which haven’t really been affected), so the only real impact my daughter has had on my kendo life has been A) I stopped attending evening keiko sessions and B) I reduced but didn’t eliminate weekend degeiko and koryu sessions. I went from maybe 12 keiko sessions a week to around 8… which isn’t too shabby, considering!
Edinburgh Kendo Seminar
This year I finally cajoled a hachidan police kendo professional to come with me to Edinburgh to teach a seminar. This was a big thing for me and hopefully the start of something new. I plan to be back in Edinburgh at the end of July 2019 to run another seminar. Keep your eyes peeled for information!
Getting a potentially once-in-a-lifetime kendo related job offer… and turning it down
Earlier this year I was approached by a sempai who works in the private education sector with an interesting proposition – a private junior and senior high school kendo position. Of course, I’d have to classroom teach as well (which is fine), but I was scouted because the schools kendo instructor of 40 years was retiring and they needed a new one. Class-wise the job would be far easier than my current one and kendo-wise much busier. I’d also have my own changing room as well as a dojo. The money was great as well. All-in-all, it sounded like a dream job!!!!!
However, after three months of careful consideration, I decided to turn the job down. Ten years ago, or even maybe three, I would’ve jumped at this opportunity. A number of factors turned me against it, but I’ll only mention the kendo ones here:
- Currently, teaching a high school club, I spend a lot of weekends and holidays in the dojo or on the shiai-jo. The amount of time I’d have to spend on this would balloon if I had both a junior and a senior high school team to teach;
- In my current position I have some younger kendo teachers to help run the club with. This means I can delegate a lot of tasks. At this new place it would be just me. Sure, I could run things exactly as I want to, but I’d have no opportunity for a break at all;
- The school was just over the border in Hyogo prefecture. Had I taken the job I’d have to make friends with a completely new set of kendo (junior and senior high school) teachers. That might not sound like such a big deal, but it took me a loooong time to get accepted here in Osaka prefecture and I don’t want to start from zero again!
- Private schools parents are much more involved in the running of school clubs. It is often difficult dealing with a bunch of students, I can’t be bothered dealing with their parents as well!
There are other classroom-related reasons for turning the job down, but had the kendo situation been a little bit better, I probably would’ve suffered them gladly. Anyway, perhaps in the future I will move over to a private school to teach kendo anyway, who knows.
Taking a break from social media
Last year I deleted my old facebook account because it was becoming too unwieldy. Since then I’ve spent some time re-evaluating the place of social media in my life. Bar updates for kenshi 24/7 and staying in touch with a few friends, there wasn’t much real use, so I decided to basically pack it in. I still have a facebook and twitter account, but both will now be automatically updated when I post to this site. Instagram I tried again (after abandoning it a few years ago) but after a month or so I got annoyed at all the adverts (and posers…) and disabled my account. I now have more time to think and write for kenshi 24/7 instead of just consuming other peoples content.
(Note that I will still reply to facebook page comments and direct messages, as well as email.)
Quality over quantity
So that has basically been my year. It hasn’t been a particularly prolific one here on kenshi 24/7 itself I must admit, with just under 30 articles posted. However, what I lost on volume I think I made up on quality – some of my best researched and most well thought-out articles were posted this year, I think.
Cheers to everyone who reads kenshi 24/7, whether you are new here or someone who has been reading since the start, over ten years ago. Extra special thanks go out to the kind folk supporting the site on Patreon.
Cheers, and happy holidays!
My favourite posts from 2018
- Conceptual kendo shield
- Zanshin confusion, sutemi, and hikiage
- Engendering positive kendo
- Kendo Tokuren
- Re-imagining shiai
- Suburi: a brief discussion
- Busen and Koshi
Some bonus listicles:
- 18 ways to improve your kendo
- 45 points to consider during kendo practise
- 27 teachings from past masters
Top two popular articles per year over the past five years:
2018: Zanshin confusion, sutemi, and hikiage; Engendering positive kendo.
2017: Nito-ryu kendo – a brief discussion; Quality kenshi.
2016: The shugyo spiral; Hasuji, shinogi, harai, and suriage.
2015: The Myth of Chiburi?; Thoughts on the internationalisation of kendo.
2014: Aggression, violence, and catharsis; Tenouchi.
Fave pics and vids from 2018: