Thursday, September 23, 2010 - Session Seven

Somehow, the more I feel like Kendo is only increasing in its difficulty, and the more I feel like I am going to collapse during training, the more I end up feeling really excited to be practicing Kendo and the more I feel determined to improve. Practice this week was much harder for me than last week; which means that it has been my hardest practice yet, and it is only my seventh! I am not sure what changed this week to prompt the brief moments of nausea, except for having eaten a banana before practice whereas I usually practice on an empty stomach.

More notable was the sudden return of an old foe who has not come around in well over fifteen years: Exercise Induced Asthma. Dun dum duuuuuunnnnnn! We started with haya suburi and at first I locked up and was not breathing at all. Sensei noticed and reminded me to breathe, but I switched right over to mouth breathing and triggered the edema response. Because there is no actual inflammation in the bronchial tree I know that I can continue pushing through it as long as I can still draw breath. But there were several moments where I either needed to stop a moment to catch my breath, or even sit out for a minute or two in order to get the blood flow down and the bronchia back open. Fortunately sitting out and nose-breathing air through my hands after cupping them over my nose tends to do the trick. The warmth from the hands heats up the air just enough to warm up the bronchia and reduce the edemic blood. But I might start keeping a Primatene Mist (norepinephrine) inhaler in my bag from now on, in case it ever does get to be worse than I can manage.

Oh man. Pair it up with hypermobility syndrome and I foresee a long and rough road ahead of me as far as Kendo is concerned. But I still feel as though I will appreciate every step! I also feel wonderful about the fact that I was still able to manage - despite the issues - and make it through the entire two hours. I could have never done this a few years back! Setting aside the physical problems that I was experiencing, I also think that several concepts have begun to gel a little more for me. I am beginning to better understand how my hands and arms need to be positioned at the various points in a strike. I am not totally competent yet, and it could still be awhile before I grasp it all fully, but I still feel as though I made some progress tonight. Which feels good! Because progress made is progress earned. Counting in Japanese still needs some serious work. Possibly some flash cards.

There was one another valuable lesson which I learned. In fact it directly correlates to something I learned in Wushu several years ago. Yes, once upon a time I learned how to fall straight on my butt once I start moving too quickly for my feet to keep up, and that valuable lesson was with me this evening. Sensei had me doing suri-ashi back and forth for awhile and I had to keep increasing my speed. Whenever I move backwards - or especially when I move backwards - my feet start crossing and I sometimes even end up in what Ballet dancers might recognize as their fourth position. Ideal for Ballet dancers. Not ideal for Kendo. This time I wound up crossing my feet too much and fell backwards with a slow motion thud. Seriously, it felt as though I fell in slow motion. I could see Sensei's eyes widen a bit as I hit the ground - legs straight and splayed, hands behind me, palms down, really a well executed unintentional kersplat - and then some chuckling ensued. So while I might have joined the "two separate martial arts probably do not correlate in training" camp after starting all this, I can still say that some old lessons are with us always.

Oh dear... Kaboom!

Sensei: Be prepared for next week. I'm putting on my bogu, and you'll be running.
Me: Running....? Running away...? Oh no, will you be chasing me!?
Sensei: [chuckles]


  1. Hello! I found your blog on the KWF forums (I left a comment there, as well). I really enjoyed reading the posts that you have up so far, and I want to say good luck with your Kendo journey. I know you've probably heard, but a lot of the issues that you run into as a beginner are issues that we all had. ALL of us! I can remember these exact things creeping up in my own training when I first started, so it's good to see that you have such a positive attitude about them and that you have such dedication and perseverance to move forward with training.
    I look forward to many more posts from you!

  2. Hi Chris! Thank you very much! Yeah, at one point I had mentioned to Maestas Sensei that I did not mind the struggle because I figure it must have been a struggle for everyone when they were new. It looked like he had a flashback to his own early times and there was some laughing. I figure, once I get to the point where I start noticing the mistakes and the struggles, I have also begun to get to a point where I can start improving on them, even if the improvement is only miniscule at time. So being aware of the struggles is a good sign! Helps to keep me excited for the future.


    Thanks again! See you on the forums. ;)