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how can one tell if one's improving?

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  • #31
    I'd say don't think so much about the opponent and how to "win" or what they are going to do to counter you. Pick something about your kendo to work on and try to carry that theme through each keiko. For example, I sometimes tell people to just hold centre - try to hit mune-zuki on each opponent and ignore getting hit. Or whatever your sensei has told you needs fixing.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Neil Gendzwill
      I'd say don't think so much about the opponent and how to "win" or what they are going to do to counter you. Pick something about your kendo to work on and try to carry that theme through each keiko. For example, I sometimes tell people to just hold centre - try to hit mune-zuki on each opponent and ignore getting hit. Or whatever your sensei has told you needs fixing.
      Here here! Now all I have to do is keep that in my mind when playing!

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Neil Gendzwill
        I'd say don't think so much about the opponent and how to "win" or what they are going to do to counter you. Pick something about your kendo to work on and try to carry that theme through each keiko. For example, I sometimes tell people to just hold centre - try to hit mune-zuki on each opponent and ignore getting hit. Or whatever your sensei has told you needs fixing.
        Yes I know what your talking about, I did that this year in the tournament. I set my goal and obtained it, didn't get very far after that but did what I set out to do. I guess next year i'll just have to set my goal to win and see if I can do that instead :-)

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        • #34
          I guess I understand why everyone wants to be awesome at the sport they do, but I wonder why it's so important. Seeing as there's no goal, or no point to reach, why does it matter how good someone is? It's like an infinite scale, and we all know thanks to philosophy class that anything infinite is just hopeless. It's not like one day your gonna wake up and say, "Aha! I have reached the pinnacle of greatness." It'll never end. In my opinion, if that's the case, from the BIG perspective, there's no difference between a beginner and an 8th dan. That probably sounds like a really ignorant statement, but it makes sense to me. The beginner has just as far to go as the 8th dan, and that's a journey into forever.

          So the only way to stick with any activity is to love sucking at it. That way, you'll never care about getting good.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by Kikuchiyo
            I guess I understand why everyone wants to be awesome at the sport they do, but I wonder why it's so important. Seeing as there's no goal, or no point to reach, why does it matter how good someone is? It's like an infinite scale, and we all know thanks to philosophy class that anything infinite is just hopeless. It's not like one day your gonna wake up and say, "Aha! I have reached the pinnacle of greatness." It'll never end. In my opinion, if that's the case, from the BIG perspective, there's no difference between a beginner and an 8th dan. That probably sounds like a really ignorant statement, but it makes sense to me. The beginner has just as far to go as the 8th dan, and that's a journey into forever.

            So the only way to stick with any activity is to love sucking at it. That way, you'll never care about getting good.
            in a big picture.. true.. then why bother living? it's hopless according to that theory.

            goal, aim.. dream.. or whatever people call it, keeps life interesting.. keep it going until we kick the bucket. for now, kendo is it for me. and when doing anything, there has to be some goal to achieve, even if it's just going to each practice.. and if i could keep on going to each practice, i need next goal.. now it's getting 1-kyu by july.. then possibly shodan by end of the year.. then to other things.. maybe winning next shiai.. nothing big.. something to keep interest going.. keeping the conversation going.. yes, it might seem like a waste of energy, but heck.. so is living in a big picture.

            pete

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            • #36
              I guess i'm just a big ole pessimist.

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              • #37
                I agree with you Kikuchiyo. My goal is to do whatever technique as well as I can, preferrably with improvement. Grades and competitions are at best extra bonuses (at worst hinderances) and not something that I need to keep training.

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                • #38
                  Shinsa and Shiai are important in the sense that they put your kendo to the test in public. It takes you out of your comfort zone (dojo/familiar training partners) and puts you in a situation where you have to perform... here and now,not next week, not in 5 minutes, but right now.
                  In that sense, it exposes a more true indication of your level of kendo than standard dojo practice does.
                  Further, as you progress through the grades, your level of responsibility and the way people deal with you also changes. Granted, this also happens through seniority, but I certainly noticed that the teachers now expects 'more' out of me, after I passed 3rd dan. Not so much in terms of my actual kendo, but in behaviour, responsibilities and general care of the dojo(s).
                  Finally, to return to the original subject, I don't think one should chase 'improvement' too hard. While I do usually keep a few things in mind for each practice, I don't think of them constantly and my main aim is to just 'practice'. The last few months prior to my grading, I was extremly conscious of my weak points and worked very hard to improve them each practice..and kendo became, mentally, very hard work and I did, to some extend ,stop enjoying it.
                  While the level of improvement was nice, it wasn't worth the cost of enjoyment. The important thing is to enjoy kendo. Sure, it will suck from time to time and there will be ups and downs, but overall, it should be a positive journey.

                  Jakob

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Kikuchiyo
                    I guess i'm just a big ole pessimist.
                    No I think you are of the right age to be asking and thinking about these kinds of questions.

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