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The Early Days: What Kept You Going?

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  • The Early Days: What Kept You Going?

    Okay, so we know a lot of folks wash out of martial arts in the early days of their practice. Some were truly hooked and they make a return at a later date, and they stay for life. Most, however . . . *poof* . . . vanish.

    What made you keep at a pursuit which is so heavily slanted toward the testosterone end of the continuum?*

    As for me, an iaika and naginataka, I love the beauty, I love the tools of practice, I love grace of movement, and the expression of power, contained. I love the self-control and the challenge. This is more than enough to get me through the roughest of the early days.

    How about you?

    -B

    * I'm talking naginata here as well, because unless you already know what naginata is, you don't know it's primarily women who practice it. All you know is it is a polearm art -- and therefore male by default in most of our cultures.

  • #2
    Forget it: just realised which forum this is.
    Last edited by Oroshi; 11th November 2008, 10:03 PM.

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    • #3
      I wish I had a lovely "budo" style answer like the OP, but I'm afraid mine is much more mundane

      At the end of my first kendo class we had a team hayasuburi competition. Although I could barely hold the shinai properly, my team lasted the longest and were presented with tenugi.

      Not only had I "beat the boys" (albeit with the help of others...) but it was the first time I had ever achieved anything in a sport.

      So from my very first class I felt that it was a level playing field for men and women. From the advanced kendoka doing the hayasuburi I could see that stamina and technique had nothing to do with gender.

      There was nothing graceful about my kendo in the beginning, but it seemed achievable from day one (still waiting though... )

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      • #4
        Pure stubborness. Nothing irritates me more than sucking at something, so there was no way I was quitting. I dont think that challenge is ever going to lessen!
        Then I got into the social side of kendo which makes a big difference.

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        • #5
          I agree with Alison, I was STUBBORN. And I still am.
          And with all the guys who kept telling me most girls leave, I got even more stubborn, and it crossed my mind "like hell I'm quitting."

          But I mean,
          Why I've kept going,
          It's because quitting feels like losing. Not that this is a win or lose situation, but with my wise words..

          "I would much rather be defeated by another, than by myself."

          If you think about it, your more vulnerable to yourself then your enemy. To them your a mystery.


          WOW. Talk about some sweet lines I came up with...anyways..
          Lets rock and roll!

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          • #6
            To be honest, for Kendo, I think the most determining factor for me to continue at first was the adrenalin rush that I wanted to go back for more and more.
            Seeing the connection between Kendo and Iaido, seeing the beauty of the movements, and finding my goals watching some senpai came only after I trained for a while.

            Now 10 months after, there seem to be many more reasons to do kendo,
            or,
            no reason at all,
            I just love it.

            For Iaido... don't remember anymore... lol

            Yuko

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            • #7
              I agree with with Alyson and Sasayaki. For me it was stubborness as well. Normally things come really easy to me. I can do anything I try usually right away. With Kendo, well it's the first time in my life that I can't do something. (well I'm now slowly getting somewhere I think lol) Anyhoo, it was finally a real challenge for me, to keep going despite something not coming easy like I'm used to. It was a real punch in the face with lots of frustrating moments but that made me sorta angry at myself and that pushed me further.

              Granted it also helped that my dojo is full of warm and friendly people who made me feel welcome right away so I also simply enjoyed seeing them, plus I geniunely loved Kendo from the first day on.

              But yeah, being stubborn and not not wanting to lose to myself (by giving up) was what pushed me through the hard days.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Uesugi Kenshin View Post
                I wish I had a lovely "budo" style answer like the OP, but I'm afraid mine is much more mundane
                Your answer is perfect, because it's your answer! And a great story.

                Not only had I "beat the boys" (albeit with the help of others...) but it was the first time I had ever achieved anything in a sport.
                I'm seeing this "first time ever" theme repeat. I wonder if we don't have enough variety of sports/physical pursuits available to younger people, and girls in particular.

                -B

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                • #9
                  I started it because it was fun, I continue because it is fun and if it ever ceases completely to be fun I will quit. That said over the last five or so years there has been some pretty bad times. I kept going because I considered my dojo family and, like any good child, I wanted my sensei to be proud of me.

                  As for whether there is a lack of variety of sports/physical activities. I would maintain that martial arts are unique. In any metropoliton area people should have access to dance (modern, ballroom, jazz, tap), yoga, pilates, tennis, football, golf, swimming, etc., however in my very biased opinion I think warrior arts are more cerebral combing the best aspects of physical exertion, strategy games, culture, community and self improvement. I would hope it is that combination that makes so many firsts and not that Kendo is no different from basket ball.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by babayaga View Post
                    Your answer is perfect, because it's your answer! And a great story.



                    I'm seeing this "first time ever" theme repeat. I wonder if we don't have enough variety of sports/physical pursuits available to younger people, and girls in particular.

                    -B

                    Thanks!

                    Before kendo I was the kind of person who would do ANYTHING to get out of exercise. There were plenty of sports available to me so it was purely my own fault.

                    You mention variety though, there's something in that. I have to admit that the novelty factor of kendo was attractive too.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Alison2805 View Post
                      Pure stubborness. Nothing irritates me more than sucking at something, so there was no way I was quitting.
                      Originally posted by Sasayaki View Post
                      I agree with Alison, I was STUBBORN. And I still am. And with all the guys who kept telling me most girls leave, I got even more stubborn, and it crossed my mind "like hell I'm quitting."
                      I left my first teacher, which was an extremely difficult decision to make. Mutual female stubbornness was I think a big part of the problem, but it was my own stubbornness which kept me going and didn't let me quit.

                      I am 100% not a quitter. I might back off and circle around and try another direction, but quit? Never. I think you have to have a good measure of muleishness to keep going when you're just starting out and it's obvious that you suck, and will suck for a long time.

                      -B

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                      • #12
                        Kept me going?!?

                        Perhaps the 14 years of waiting for a dojo to open in my city...
                        The second I saw the add, was the same second I reached for the cell phone to dial the number of my future to be sensei, only to find out it's a summer break and I need to wait a month and a half before I begin learning.... I bought my bogu after 2 month of practicing Kendo...

                        Who would want to quit such a beautiful art?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by swyn View Post
                          Now 10 months after, there seem to be many more reasons to do kendo,
                          or,
                          no reason at all,
                          I just love it.

                          For Iaido... don't remember anymore... lol
                          "I just love it," is in fact my favorite answer.

                          But oh noes! Does it not apply to iaido?

                          -B

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Alison2805 View Post
                            The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status, or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above average drivers..
                            This is most definitly not the place for this....but... your quote is not accurate Alison! I definitly belive that I am a BELOW average driver. WATCH OUT!

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                            • #15
                              Kendo helps me to be free, to be honest with myself

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