Two years before I started practicing iaido, I wanted to look for an activity that gauged my interest as well as help me improve physically, mentally, spiritually, and socially. A friend of mine invited me to go to a Halloween event held at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Center. We both toured inside the JCCC and looked up some programs that were being held. When I went to the receptions desk, I found a copy of a booklet on programs they offer. I flipped through the pages until I saw something that caught my attention—kendo. I read the page on kendo and I thought to myself that I should try it since I had an interest in swords and sword-fighting. I continued skimming through each page and I happened to find a page on iaido. I read through a brief description on what iaido was and I was surprised to find out that you can use an actual sword for practice. I went home as soon as the JCCC began closing for the day. I logged onto my computer and did some more research on both kendo and iaido at the JCCC website. It was when I finally decided to take part in these lessons.
A few weeks later, I went back to the JCCC to sign up for kendo and iaido classes. I was disappointed to find out that the classes for kendo were full, but it did not stop me from signing up for iaido. I was informed by the receptionist that orientation does not start until the beginning of January. So I waited. One month later, I arrived at the JCCC ready for my first class of the day. As I stepped inside the dojo, the atmosphere felt different. It is as if I had entered a different world. It felt very tense and intimidating for me because I did not know what the expectations were like since this was the very first martial arts class I had ever attended.
Each class I attended became very hard for my body and mind because I was not used to the movements in each technique I learned. I was always losing my balance, the soles of my feet kept peeling off from the constant practice of footwork, and my legs hurt a lot since I was not used to sitting in seiza. It was frustrating for me to make corrections for each technique I learned. I began the habit of coming late to class every time because of transit issues. It would take me about an hour to arrive to the JCCC from my house. I was afraid to step inside the dojo each time I came in late because of how disrespectful and infuriating it was for my sensei and fellow iaidoka to enter while class is in session. I was going to consider withdrawing from the program, but, I enjoyed the art so much that it would be a waste of my time and money to not attend. My goals were to find an activity that I enjoy doing while improving myself physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually. I believe that this is the art that will satisfy my goals in life, so I have continued practicing this art ever since.
Each class I attend, my body, mind, and spirit became stronger bit by bit. My posture is no longer slumped. My footwork is beginning to correct itself. My cuts are moving at a correct angle. My hands are holding the sword properly. My mind and spirit became calm. I socialized with other people a lot more than before.
This art has helped forge my life together that I now know what I want to do in the future. I will continue to practice this art to help discover undiscovered paths and look towards a brighter future.