Physical Training Feb 2009
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Ten Years

copyright © 2008 Ken Morgan, all rights reserved

I realized recently that come this June I’ll have been practicing Iaido and Jodo for ten years. And I still feel like I still have little to no clue as to what I’m doing.

I’m still a student, more then happy to let Sensei run his class as he see’s fit. There will be no Coup, no matter how many times he asks me to overthrow him.

If I were somewhere else in the country or the world, I’d probably be teaching at my own club, but this is Guelph, hence there is no need. Established Clubs need their senior students to teach the newbie’s all the little things Sensei forgets. We’re the Sergeants, Lieutenants and Captain’s of the dojos. Let Sensei deal with the National organization, and the stuff between clubs, we’ll handle the mundane internal club stuff that needs to get done.

Aside from that, I have learned a few other things from iaido and jodo I could never have learned elsewhere.
  1. Those of us who have hung around any length of time have the same souls. We all tend to have similar interests outside of the dojo, and as such, can form quite a cohesive unit. You can meet anyone, from any dojo and odds are very good that they will be “good people”. This is one of those places where you meet life-long friends, they gravite here. The people that leave shortly after joining, would never have fit in anyway.
  2. Practice, practice, practice.
  3. Trust what your body tells you. If you are unsure as to “what’s next” in a kata you haven’t done in a while, trust your body to remember. What it is telling you in all things, is quite probably correct. Sadly we let our minds frequently overrule our bodies.
  4. The level of ones character can be measured directly by the perseverance applied.
  5. You will never be able to do any kata perfectly. Just like Sisyphus and his rock, you just have to keep going. There is no end to it.
  6. Technique is more important then strength.
  7. Awareness of your surroundings.
  8. Iaido is really boring.
  9. If you’re doing it correctly, Iaido and jodo is exhausting. I’m by no means in perfect shape, but I can still run 5k without too much difficultly, I can bench press 300+, squat 400+, I’ve done weight training for 32 years, I’ve competed in bodybuilding shows, I’ve run upwards of 80km a week, I know nutritionally what my body needs to function at peak performance, and iaido and jodo can still drop me on my ass. Sometimes 20 minutes into a two hour practice and I’m looking at the clock. Anyone can go though the motions, anyone can memorize the dance steps, but to actually attempt the kata with the correct physical and mental intensity, that can drop you. That took me years to understand.
  10. Practice, practice, practice.

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