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  • how can one tell if one's improving?

    i can't never tell if i'm improving in anything.. mainly i always find things that i'm not doing well.. been told i have been improved by my sensei.. but how can one really tell that they are improving? i realized rather quickly rank doesn't mean much in kendo.. i know there are members of my dojo who are not even ranked and much better than me.

    pete

  • #2
    it may be that you only notice a gradual improvement, whereas your sensei looks back with an experienced eye and notes the overall improvement you've made.

    I have the same problem, I don't think I'm doing that well, but then I have 3 kodansha who all tell me that my form is vastly improved from when I started. I have no rank, either, but that isn't important to me, right now.

    I think that I feel better about my kendo, knowing what my sensei is saying and that I am getting better.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by bullet08
      i can't never tell if i'm improving in anything.. mainly i always find things that i'm not doing well.. been told i have been improved by my sensei.. but how can one really tell that they are improving? i realized rather quickly rank doesn't mean much in kendo.. i know there are members of my dojo who are not even ranked and much better than me.

      pete
      Pete-san, I think that I know I am improving when I dont suck as much as I did before. We will always find something wrong with our techniques, let's just face it. My sensei never hands out the "good jobs" or "well dones", I consider it a good day if he has little to say, because if he speaks it is to tell me all the things I did wrong.

      I got over trying to find the feeling of accomplishment after each practice. These days, I make a note of the things that I need work on, but I count the few things I did right (maybe only one thing) rather than the hundred things I did wrong. Does it make me feel better.....well not really but with a good ol' helping of humble pie, everyday is a lesson. Take one day at a time and if possible, after practice go home and make notes on what the sensei says to work on. I have done that for years now. I read the list from time to time so I will always remember. GOOD LUCK!!!

      Alex

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      • #4
        When I started kendo, the sensei told me to do this and don't do that, and now I know I've improved because he doesn't correct me anymore on the things he corrected me before, for example, my sensei used to tell me not to dip when we were doing basic foot work and he does not correct me anymore and I feel that I am not doing it anymore.

        Thats how I know I have been improving

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        • #5
          I can tell I'm improving by listening to the thoughts im my head when training. A beginner thinks about footwork and propper swing path ect. A more intermediate student like me pay more attention to being quicker and leaving less oppenings. Also when doing jigeiko for the first time you just dont what to get a beating. Now I am more interested in scoring points and overcoming my opponent. All the answers are in your head.

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          • #6
            tournaments

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            • #7
              Don't mean to sound harsh, but how could you NOT know if you were improving!?!?!?

              Surely, you can look back at, say, your 4th lesson, (about the time you've gotten over the very initial club-footed comedy and actually start to learn something) and compare that with what you know today.
              You could always break it down;
              1. Is my men cut any better than 4 weeks ago?
              2. Is my kote?
              3. What about my footwork? does my foot still hurt like it used to?
              4. Is my kiai any better?
              5. Do i still look like an epileptic donkey during jigeiko?
              6. If answer to 5 is yes, then do i manage to actually land any strikes?
              7. what about kata? Can i remember any of the kata, or even bokuto kihon ho?

              Again, sorry to sound harsh, but if you don't know by now, you'll never know!

              Comment


              • #8
                Tournaments? I know a 6th dan who sucks at competition. But he does know kendo (perhaps it's the nerves that tie him up).

                This is why the martial arts are so great. It's not just imitate and get better, it's more imitation and understanding.

                No doubt you have improved. But you may not know why yet. Once you do, you will have a great feeling of accomplishment. And don't worry. For me, this feeling comes about once every 6 months.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Pauly
                  Tournaments? I know a 6th dan who sucks at competition. But he does know kendo (perhaps it's the nerves that tie him up).
                  if 6th dan always sucks in competition (against lower grades i suppose), maybe he is false 6th dan?

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                  • #10
                    interesting, a 6th dan who doesn't do well in tourneys. But the whole reason for all of that training is to prepare you for shiai. If one can't do that, then they are no better then a beginner.

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                    • #11
                      I know of a 6th dan who apparently isn't so good in shiai. BUT, he has chosen not do shiai, rather to teach kendo and kata. I suppose even at such a high grade you can become 'out of touch' with certain aspects of your kendo if you don't practice it enough.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Optomitrist
                        interesting, a 6th dan who doesn't do well in tourneys. But the whole reason for all of that training is to prepare you for shiai. If one can't do that, then they are no better then a beginner.
                        Not trying to get trite, but:

                        The Concept of Kendo
                        The concept of Kendo is to discipline the human character through
                        the applied study of the katana or Japanese sword.

                        The Purpose of Practicing Kendo
                        To mold the mind and body,
                        To cultivate a vigorous spirit,
                        And through correct and rigid training,
                        To strive for improvement in the art of Kendo,
                        To hold in esteem human courtesy and honor,
                        To associate with others with sincerity,
                        And to forever pursue the cultivation of oneself.
                        Thus will one be able
                        To love his country and society,
                        To contribute to development of culture,
                        And to promote peace and prosperity among all peoples

                        ...did I miss the "purpose of Kendo is to go forth and kick butt in shiai" part somewhere? Granted, I enjoy shiai (I suck too), I like the adrenaline rush and particularly enjoy watching good matches (Mr. Kurukuru and the SCI clan come to mind) - but it's not THE reason by a long shot. We too have a few Sensei who don't do tournaments and tend to focus on a more old-school approach. Are they out of touch? Hardly, they balance the training regimen and keep us in touch with the way things were intended to be.

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                        • #13
                          I knew some one like paikea would complain about my comment. I guess I should be more specific. I have been im martial arts most of my life. i have gone through the phase of believing martial arts are for kicking butt. many years later now I have entered a stage of self improvment and reaching for my own path of enlightenment. I know your happy little list is true but it goes against the philosophies I have picked up. i believe musashi said that one should learn of all trades and basically be what devinci said was a "renaissance man". If you are going to learn kendo, you should make every effort to grasp every aspect of it. Missing one part will damage others. And since we kendoka train everyday to fight in duels you would think a major part of kendo is FIGHTING. god

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Optomitrist
                            I knew some one like paikea would complain about my comment. I guess I should be more specific.
                            Perhaps, since your comment was of a categorical nature. "Someone like me"? Have we met? My name's Perry (it's in the sig line) what's yours?

                            Originally posted by Optomitrist
                            I know your happy little list is true but it goes against the philosophies I have picked up.
                            My "happy little list"? It's not mine, it's the ZNKR's. It's the fundamental mission statement of the art.

                            Originally posted by Optomitrist
                            If you are going to learn kendo, you should make every effort to grasp every aspect of it. Missing one part will damage others.
                            I thought that was exactly the point I was making. I'm not complaining, I just do not agree that preparation for Shiai is the whole reason for all of that training.
                            Last edited by Paikea; 11th March 2005, 02:23 AM.

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                            • #15
                              I become most aware of changes in my kendo when I practice with different people, like those outside of my club and regular practice circle.

                              However, I do my best not to worry about it too much. I don't see any point to it any more. I used to worry about it, but I found that thinking about it was just a way for me to justify strange and bad attitudes. Like, "I am getting better so I will go to practice" instead of just going to practice, or "I am getting better so I don't have to work as hard today," which is a very bad attitude, or "I am not getting any better, maybe I should give up," which is also a very bad attitude.

                              So now I just go and only concern myself with doing my best each time.

                              I find, from practicing with different people, I am still improving, but I am much less annoyed with learning plateaus this way.

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