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  • Not "in the mood".

    You know, sometimes I'm super keen to get to keiko, and sometimes, it's something I'd just rather not do. Perhaps we all understand this. An assumption of course, but most likely a truthful one.

    For example, yesterday.

    It was cold (well, cold for the Bay Area), raining, I was tired, and the last thing I wanted to do was haul my ass over to the dojo to get sweaty and struck repeatedly about the head and arms.

    But that's the the thing with Kendo isn't it? Regardless of one's "mood", you just have to go to practice and get it done. I notice sometimes that not doing so is the beginning of a very slippery slope to leaving Kendo. I've seen it many times with beginners. They miss a practice, come back, and then they miss two practices, come back, and then eventually they disappear. When you ask these folks why they're missing practice they usually say something like "I wasn't feeling well". That's fine and all, but I reckon it's more of a mindset.

    Not to get high-falutin' about all of this because I certainly don't have the key to wisdom, but I was thinking that one's Kendo really grows on those nights when you go to practice but do so somewhat begrudgingly.

    I've noticed that many of the best keiko I've been to have been those that were born of my initial reluctance to go in the first place. Last night for example. Got to the dojo. Felt sluggish, and subdued. Practice starts, and things change. I'm there doing suburi, or kakarigeiko, or uchi-komi, not because I'm really "into it", but because I know I have to. A kind of ambivalence but one that allows me to see my Kendo without zeal, and by the end, I felt the stronger kendoka for it.

    Maybe that's where the real Kendo grit is born. It's easy to go to practice when you're super keen to do so, but when you're not "feeling it" and you go, well then, interesting things happen when you drag yourself to keiko.

  • #2
    I have to agree with you on that point. Some of my best practices have been ones where I absolutely did not want to go in the first place. I love Kendo, but even I have those times where it's not something I really "want" to do. But plenty of times I've sucked it up and showed up at the dojo and given my all anyway and I feel better for being able to do that.

    I did have a time after I first got into our advanced class, before I had my bogu. There was about a month-two months when I found any excuse to not go to practice and I ended up missing a lot of Kendo time because of that. I eventually stopped myself, looked at what I was doing and realized that I was really just making excuses to not go. I've been better about it ever since then (that was two years ago).

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    • #3
      Good post. I particularly agree that this is how people end up quitting. But we can expand it, yes?

      Isn't this true of everything? Part of maturing and improving is pushing through the "I really don't feel like..." times. It certainly applies to school and work; I'm sure it applies to other physical activities and hobbies; agreed that it applies to Kendo and it is perhaps a little easier to see there because unlike work (for most of us) Kendo is optional and so making yourself go when you aren't feelin' it is a little extra hurdle and when you stick it out and have a good time, it's a more enjoyable feeling of accomplishment (for me at least) than showing up to work when I'm sick, because I know I have to do that and getting one more brief filed isn't half as good as ippon.

      Initially reading your title I thought this was going to be a, um, "relationship" column advice/question. (I think it probably applies there, too, actually).

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      • #4
        Reminds me of Carl McClafferty sensei. A number of years ago, I showed up at the dojo to practice Sekiguchi ryu and was whining about being tired and sore. His response was "That's wonderful! Always cherish the days that you have to force yourself to practice. Those are the days that you'll learn the most about the art, and yourself!"

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        • #5
          It reminds me of a saying that I read somewhere in this forum: "The hardest part of practice is showing up".

          To my surprise, however, it doesn't apply to me 100%. Αt least, the part about it being a slippery slope certainly doesn't. Even when the reason I miss practices is "because I didn't feel like it", I end up with an ever-increasing desire to attend again. Therefore, it doesn't make a great difference if I miss a single practice, as long as I get a steady "fix".

          I do think that skipping practice is a last measure, though. I, too, have felt pleased to manage to persuade myself to attend practice.

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          • #6
            As Woody Allen said, "80% of success is just showing up."

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            • #7
              Originally posted by pgsmith View Post
              Reminds me of Carl McClafferty sensei. A number of years ago, I showed up at the dojo to practice Sekiguchi ryu and was whining about being tired and sore. His response was "That's wonderful! Always cherish the days that you have to force yourself to practice. Those are the days that you'll learn the most about the art, and yourself!"
              That's about as succinct as you can get on the subject.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by jjcruiser View Post
                Initially reading your title I thought this was going to be a, um, "relationship" column advice/question. (I think it probably applies there, too, actually).

                I knew someone would pick up on this!

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                • #9
                  I'm a relative beginner (about six months in), and suffering from tennis elbow. My GP has advised me to lay off the Kendo for a while to let it heal. However, I'm still going into class and watching. Whilst I can't practice, obviously, I can still learn. It also keeps me in the good habit of going to class in the meantime - never underestimate the mind's propensity for taking the easy option and letting you sit on the sofa.

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                  • #10
                    If I keep forcing myself to go no matter what over and over, I feel like I'll come to resent it. So every once in a while (every couple months or so) I'll allow myself to miss practice because I'm not "in the mood." Without fail, I will be sitting on my couch browsing Facebook or watching Youtube and end up feeling really bad about skipping practice for this. That's usually enough to give me the resolve I need to get through the next many practices.

                    That's how I justify it to myself anyway.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Scott H View Post
                      Not to get high-falutin' about all of this because I certainly don't have the key to wisdom, but I was thinking that one's Kendo really grows on those nights when you go to practice but do so somewhat begrudgingly.best keiko I've been to have been those that were born of my initial reluctance to go in the first place.
                      Yep, yep, and yep.

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                      • #12
                        They have pills for that.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Missingno. View Post
                          If I keep forcing myself to go no matter what over and over, I feel like I'll come to resent it. So every once in a while (every couple months or so) I'll allow myself to miss practice because I'm not "in the mood." Without fail, I will be sitting on my couch browsing Facebook or watching Youtube and end up feeling really bad about skipping practice for this. That's usually enough to give me the resolve I need to get through the next many practices.
                          I think I do the same myself: slack off one, maybe two weeks to recover from whatever crap I'd run into with my life. Then I'll feel so guilty and I'll miss kendo so much that I'll jump in with extra vigour!

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                          • #14
                            Hardest part is showing up....especially if you've weight lifted that morning and your body is cussing profanities at you all day....

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                            • #15
                              Hardest part is showing up....especially if you've weight lifted that morning and your body is cussing profanities at you all day....
                              Once you hit your fifties, your body is cussing profanities at you all day whether you've lifted weights or not.

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