Tuesday, 30 October 2007


Well the nerves and stress leading up to my first Shorinji Kempo grading were soon given over to relief and joking with my fellow 'Kenshi'... 10 minutes of techniques was sufficient to show what we had learned for the exam as each small group (ours consisted of 5 people ranging in age from 15 to 75!) had an instructor/examiner watching and marking as the grading progressed.

It's always nice to bond with others on grading day! Everyone is ready to help, to give advice and to practice together. What a superb feeling of comradeship!

The grading being on Saturday I trained last night, Monday, and our sensei gave us some feedback. This feedback can be summed up in two words: focus and awareness. Or Kiai and zanshin. It was felt that although technically the grading was successful there seemed a lack of spirit. This spirit manifests itself in the focus given over by the practitioners and also by the focus and kiai during techniques. This is something that anyone slightly trained in martial arts can pick up on- how does the room 'react'? Does it feel like there is focus and awareness. Do heads go down due to a missed technique or a forgotten zuki?

Well I was inspred by our sensei who said (quite rightly) nthat towards the end of the class it's easy to ease off, chat a bit, not focus as well. But if you persist throughout and aim for a state of zanshin then week on week it'll become much more a part of your training. Or more accurately a part of you!

I tried this last night-I put a lot of effort in and tried to remain focused on the task in hand.

Today, I ache. Hmm.

Maybe that's the ache of progress?

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