Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My dog does kiri-kaeshi in the lake. She does not do actual kiri-kaeshi but it is a fun little joke that I make in my head sometimes. Shotgun is a Rottweiler who is obsessed with swimming in what lake or large water body she can find. Once she gets in the water she begins paddling back and forth with her rear legs while she uses her front legs to forcefully strike at the lake surface. She usually strikes a few little strikes in quick order and then gives one big huge splash with both her front paws in unison and at once. Splash! Splash! Splash! Splash! Big Splash! Shotgun also barks while she attacks the water with her front paws, and she always manages to give these high pitched barks, that carry from one shore bank to the next, and she manages to bark in perfect with time with her little slaps. Bark! Bark! Bark! Bark! Big Bark! On occasion, she will break it up and throw in two quick slaps which are half what her normal slaps are, and she even manages to bark two quick barks that are equally loud as the bigger barks and perfectly timed. Bark! Bark! Bark! Bark-Bark! Bark! Big Bark! It is fun to watch and she definitely trances out while she does. I have seen her go a good hour without stopping, just swimming back and forth while slapping and barking at the lake. She is at the age (seven) where she should be slowing down, but she shows no sign at the lake and she has so much fun!

I like little jokey memories like that. It makes me happy like little else can. A few nights ago, I think that my depression got to me while I was trying to sleep in bed. It pops up from time to time. Sad! Sad! Sad! Sad! Big Sad! Heh. I wound up seizing on some insecurities related to Kendo but - thankfully - it really was just clinical depression talking and I do not feel those insecurities when I am otherwise well. Mostly, it was about my breathing and my endurance. I want to be real good at Kendo someday and I guess I feel like I am not as good as I should be right now, not when I am wheezing and about to collapse from the strain of a hard jigeiko or kiri-kaeshi session. But now I am not sure as to why it made so sad. I have been practicing for only four months and for only one class a week. I have just recently put on the bogu and I am still adjusting to the extra weight. I have also only ever gone up against another human being twice now, and kiri-kaeshi has not exactly been the focal point in our practices over the last few months. All things in balance, these are perfect reasons to keep on trying, to keep on putting as much effort into it as I can, and to be more patient with my own progress. Because I am going to suck at this for a looooong time before I get at all good. So! More patience. More Kendo. More time with Shotgun!

Dogs are very instinctual about everything. I like to watch Shotgun at the lake because it amazes me to see an animal that can naturally time her breath with her bark, her bark with her movement, and then do both for such a long amount of time. I will video tape it once the weather warms up again. I get the same thrill when she plays catch. My roommate and I have another dog - Spot Dog - who wrestles Shotgun whenever he gets at all excited. He is unrelenting! But Shotgun somehow tunes him out when a person has a tennis ball in their hand. Her eyes do not waver from the ball even when her friend is jumping on her and chewing on her face. She catches it every time and always knows exactly where the ball is going, no matter how tricky a person gets with that ball. Nothing in the entire world matters except for her focus on the ball. I hope to someday have even a little of that in my zanshin. Oh man, a kid can dream.

Oh yeah. Amaury and I are also going to the local YMCA (which is not the YMCA where we practice with Yamakage dojo) to get in some practice this afternoon. We both want to be training more than once a week so I am hoping that this will turn into a regular deal. I start a new job next week but I do not start shifts till mid afternoon so there will still be time once that gets started. Not sure what Amaury wants to do but I am thinking kiri-kaeshi, kiri-kaeshi, kiri-kaeshi. Followed up with some kihon to cool down at the end. Then dry sauna! Ehherm. My only concern is wondering whether or not the Longmont YMCA will let us practice in their gym. I am hoping that they will! I will find out soon.


  1. Have you ever heard the saying "Kendo is learning through failure"? It is VERY true, and no matter your level or experience there are always things to learn and master and improve, so it's good to see that you have a positive attitude about all of it!

    And it's funny that we start seeing small lessons in everyday situations. Bark! Bark! Bark! Bark! Big Bark! :D

  2. Thanks! Never heard that saying, but that actually makes me feel super good. I have learned through maaaaaany endeavors (with EMS school being the top one in this area) that I learn best when I fail under stress. Information is not easily absorbed in my brain, but the combination of stress and failure always seems to throw some switch that opens the flood gates and lets the information pour on in.

    Hehe. And yeah. Love my dog. Totally gonna video tape it in the spring time, when the lake unfreezes and fills up again.