a MMB! Kendo Blog: October 2008

MMB! Kendo Blog

Friday, October 31, 2008

忍耐 + 掌握人生
Feeding the Zanshin Monster

With the end-of-year exams approaching, it has, at times, been quite tiring to attend kendo night training sessions and then do further study late into the night. Then waking up early in the morning for my regular gym session at the university before attending the morning classes. I have, however, kept up my discipline, the promise to myself to push myself harder because I want to be fit for kendo training, and to perform well at the World Championships next year. I want to do well. And I know that to achieve my goals, I must discipline myself physically and mentally.

After the Australian National Squad training earlier this month, I realised that there was something important that I have been neglecting and lacking. It's Zanshin. I have been too focused on landing a nice solid cut. Once a cut was made, I was too complacent that my mind and body seemed to have switched off.

Mind you, I was doing the follow-through motion. But it was kind of like follow-the-motion type of movements. If I were to judge myself, I'd say, 'Vivian, you could do better than that'. Yes, I know. I know I could do better than that . I have done a perfect zanshin before, and I know how a perfect zanshin that follows a cut feels like... it is like a tsunami-wave overpowering and sweeping everything on its path. The unquestionable feeling, the exuberant display of confidence and determination from the start to the finish of the cut. That itself, generates an overwhelmingly positive feeling in me, which makes me feel even more confident for the next cut. And so the positive reinforcement goes on.

And I want to feel that again!

So, in the past few weeks, I was concentrating on just that - Zanshin. Whether or not the cut connected, I would make myself power through, with total conviction. I tell myself I will practice like this until that day when this becomes completely natural and automatic.

I will also show zanshin even if my cut misses. Even though I may not be able to achieve that ippon physically, I can still try to achieve the mental ippon. That way, my opponent would feel more threatened, knowing that if I did connect that cut, it would be an unquestionable ippon. Making my opponent more nervous, and thus, building myself a more powerful position.

So this is where I am at now - Feeding my hungry zanshin monster.

Btw, I just fed 50 eager and cute little ghosts at my front door this evening with lollies. Happy Halloween!