“Your swings are good,” our dojo’s sensei said, “but where’s your footwork?”
Two months into training, I still find myself frustrated: how can something so basic and simple as a proper stance be so difficult to memorize? I practice in front of the mirror and whenever I can. I get the feel of it. Then training sessions come, and my feet forget what it was supposed to do. Sometimes, I just awkwardly execute the footworks; most of the time, I lose focus and at worst, my balance.
At the end of each sequence, I glance at my feet, adjust them back to their proper places, annoyed. Ugh. I just want to swing my shinai like Kenshin Himura; why do I have to do this boring routine every time?
Even when I was doing Muay Thai, I had the same problem: my strikes were good (I think), my balance was bad. I’d get reprimanded over and over again about it— and for a good reason. No matter how powerful my punches or kicks were, it’s useless if I lose my balance and fall down whenever I move or block a hit. And the same was true with kendo: even though my swings were improving, I still trip on my footwork.
Practice at home, our trainor keeps encouraging us. Practice wherever you can.
I stare at my ugly toes, wriggling them into position. How can something so simple as standing become so complicated? I can’t help but remember that oft-neglected phrase at the beginning of Ephesians 6:14— Stand firm then. Continue reading