Sometimes, you realise that you haven’t been enjoying what you’re doing. I realised that, but only because I had started to enjoy kendo again, and I mean really enjoy it.

Regular readers will know that at times I am in the habit of being very hard on myself at times, and I hadn’t figured out that this pressure was killing my enjoyment. A couple of months ago, this began to change. I’m talking with a genius of sorts at the moment, and excellent guy called Alistair, who is opening my head up, helping me pull the shite out, and leaving the sensible stuff in there. I’m not going to go into details, but the net result is that by changing the way I think about kendo on a daily basis, he has helped me find kendo all over again. And I’ll have his baby for it.

This came home to me a couple of weeks ago in a fairly big Tokyo taikai, the Tokyo City Dojo Taikai. Using what he gave me, I managed to keep my head in a nice, calm situation for the whole day, enjoy the taikai, enjoy doing my kendo in the taikai (lord knows that has been a long time coming….) and enjoyed supporting and competing with my mates. I don’t even remember the last time I had that much fun in a competition, it was really a breath of fresh air.

As a result, I feel born again! I can’t wait to get in to the dojo, I’m constantly thinking about my practise, I’m trying to analyse and think of ways to improve it, and I’m actually, finally, at peace with kendo again!

This year has been a tough one for me and the art that I love, but with Alistair’s help and sagely words, I really feel like I have turned a corner with it.

In short, I feel awesome again!