NK kyu grades: dutch national championship for kyu graded individuals

2012-02-20 16:37:00

The day at the dutch national kendo championships started with the NK for kyu graded kendoka: those "beginning" players who have not yet graded for the first dan (anyone below black belt, would be the karate parallel). Realistically this means pitting folks against each other with 0-4 years of kendo experience. Five players from Renshinjuku Almere had registered and each was placed in a different poule.

Nick and I were on field A, in poules 4 and 5, while Houdaifa, Tiamat and Martijn were in poules 1, 2 and 3. I recall that Houdaifa made it through to the second round, but got bumped out after that. Tiamat, Martijn and I didn't make it through the first round. Nick managed to place third in the whole championship. Good going Nick! /o/

I'll come out and say it right now: my performance was awful, mostly due to my mental state. I went into this completely wrong, forgetting everything I've learned about kendo over the past year. 

It is often said that a kendo is a dialogue between two warriors. They speak through their shinai and bodies, thus determining who will strike when the time is right. Simply trying to overpower your opponent will almost never give proper results. And yet, that was exactly what I was trying to do: I was trying to assert my own will over my opponents. In my mind, I had a point to make: "I may be a rookie, but I won't be overpowered by you! Here! Have at you!" And thus I would immediately launch into an ill-advised attack. 

Within fifteen seconds from the starting command I would force myself forward, predictably aiming for kote. Whether there was an actual opening, whether my kamae or maai were right, whether I even had a chance? I didn't take any of that in and I simply attacked. So very, very wrong. 

In both cases I was out within fifteen to twenty seconds, with four nicely places men-strikes against. In both cases I thanked my opponents for an educational experience, whose lesson I would only figure out later that evening. 

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