Saturday, December 10, 2011
a practice in battling myself
One unresolved aspect of my life is my kendo practice. I keep on telling others and myself that I do it for the whole "spirit" thing, that whole idea of conquering yourself and your fears and challenging yourself to do things you don't normally do. They are all true but they are not the whole truth. I'm not even sure yet if they are even half the truth.
I started kendo practice in July of 2007. That's four and a half years. That's one of the longest I have ever committed to anything that does not exactly make me feel like the best of myself. It takes a lot from me. As an introvert I am not a fan of too much social interaction. I never joined any clubs in college and I was an expert at minimizing my presence and participation in company events. For me to show up every Saturday and actually confront an opponent -- that is something. I surprise myself every time.
I have had my many issues about practicing kendo. But as I look back on all those years, those issues were mostly things that surrounded my practice. With my limited vision and my too-vulnerable emotions, I often mistook the distractions as the practice itself or thought them to be integral to the practice. I have yet to overcome biases, insecurities, and low self-confidence. The challenge is to let all these mental and emotional clutter disrupt my experience of kendo or I can just focus on the simple miraculous fact that I am doing it at all.
My sister is more into the practice than I am. Sometimes her happiness is triggered by the very act of practice. There is a part of me that still refuses to let kendo have that effect on me because I guess I am afraid of failing it and myself. I know my weaknesses, and there are a lot, and I am afraid that they will get the better of me. But all the inspirational pieces I have read tell me to look at my own strengths and to remember the moments when I did something well. Like maybe that one Saturday when I shocked myself and a sensei by getting a point against him when everyone else has had a hard time doing so. Or remember the times when I am praised for a very good execution of a basic kata.
Today is the year-end tournament and sometimes I fantasize about winning a few times through the elimination rounds, enough to be noticed. Sometimes.
Then I get there and all I could pray for is to not make a fool of myself.