As you may or may not know, Aidan and I have been taking Kendo classes together. FTNITK, Kendo is a way for me to beat on my son with a bamboo stick and give Dyfus the bird while I do it because they can’t do anything about it. Legal Beating! WOO!!
Yes, I’m kidding. Okay, mostly. I’m a firm believer of never lifting a hand against my kids in anger. Whacking away at his head with a bamboo stick is TOTALLY different. 😉
A friend of mine asked me a while back why I was leaving Aikido. Aikido is very cool, and suited my temperment, and I just plain dug it. He didn’t understand why I would stop to take a class with my son when I was progressing so well and possibly in line to test for my next kyu (aikido ranking systems below black belt). I thought about taking both, but truthfully, everything else aside, I could afford for me to do both plus Aidan to do Kendo.
Plus, I’ve wanted to share martial arts with the kids and have tried to introduce them into TKD and Karate and Jujitsu, but never really got the fact that they really wanted to, that they were mostly just humoring me. I found this place a few years ago, but had never followed through with it, mostly because Aidan was too young. Gillian still is, and truthfully, she loves me, but this is not something she is interested in at all. Soccer is more her speed.
The stages of Kendo are mostly dependent on belt ranking as are most martial arts, but before you can really learn anything involved or difficult, you have to master the footwork. It’s not really complicated just looking at it, but the subtleties are endless and I agonize each week when I feel myself step wrong. Aidan has been a trooper, enduring a lot of advice and attention from Sensei, and taking it fairly well. Last year was a bad year for him and after getting him into a class with friends, and now that they are switching classrooms a lot more, plus a bit of therapy on the side, his selfesteem is quite high at this point. There have been highs and lows, especially on the days where he can’t focus, but he’s been progressing nicely.
So I got an email from Sensei a few weeks ago, asking me if I thought it would be a good idea to surprise him for the holidays with his Gi & Hakama. That’s the uniform we wear to practice, but you aren’t allowed to wear it until you’re feet are doing the right things most of the time. And the other thing is, I talked to Sensei and she suggested that I wait to get mine until he was ready for his. So I was psyched for him as well as totally psyched myself. We agreed to keep it a surprise and went to class.
Dismal is a good word for that class. He was unfocused, didn’t feel good, and had to stop about 3/4 of the way through because of a splitting headache. Sensei didn’t say anything, but I wondered if she wished she could pull back the email 🙂 So on the way home, I told him what she had suggested in the email and he just groaned. “Oh MAAAAAAAAAAAAAN, why tonight?” he wailed hitting the release and dropping the seat all the way back, throwing his arm over his eyes. I told him not to worry, that we’d practice that weekend and before class and go back in and really show her what he was made of.
Problem is, I was so focused on him, and he did so well, that she turned her attention to me. I am by NO means even decent, but I felt about 2 in tall by the time I was done. I know that she was correcting some small things I was doing wrong in the past, but this was embarassing.
Needless to say, I’ve had my shinai (bamboo sword) out a bit since then, and been working on my footwork. I really want to do well on wednesday, so wish me luck.
My 40th is coming up soon and my parents had sent me and my brother to Notre Dame for a game a few years ago and wanted to do something similar for me. I had thought about going to a monastery near Albany to do some Zen meditation for a weekend, but tho it was cool, it wasn’t for me, and doing it for three days seemed to not be my thing.
I remembered talking with Sensei last summer about Kendo Camp but we were too new, and truthfully, I didn’t think we could afford it. Cool thing is, my parents want to send Aidan and I to this next summer 🙂 I believe we have to attain a certain level of proficiency, but I believe we can do it by this summer, at least that’s the plan. I’m almost afraid of the level of workout it’ll be, but I think knowing that and putting it out there as a goal, we can do it.