Sunday, August 19, 2007


My first Kendo Seminar is over. It was an interesting and fun experience, and I learned a lot (although I only ever realize how much I actually learned when I look at the notes I took every day, which comprise two pages of small, squashed handwriting). While I didn't reach the limits of my bodily energy and felt it could have been more exhausting, I probably did reach the limits of my mental learning capacities with the nine Kihon-waza.
Interestingly enough, as the days went by I got gradually less sleep, which I didn't mind until the last day on which I was walking around like a zombie after midday and fell asleep when I came home. Allegedly you need less sleep when you exercise a lot. I'd believe it if I didn't know that I got up at 6am on Saturday because my brother had said that my strikes suck and I therefore wanted to be in the dojo a bit earlier to practice a bit.
On the one hand I'm sorry it's over, but on the other glad, because I got a few painful do strikes on the hip and a men on my fingers on the last day, and everybody's concentration wouldn't have increased, so such accidents might have happened more often. There's also this huge amount of experiences you get within a few days - I held a Iaido sword in my hands, learned nine Kihon-wazas and a Nihon-kata, consulted Google and YouTube more than ever, needed a tape for my feet for the first time, had my first exam and have now tons of stuff that I know I have to improve on - I'll need some time to process all of that.

Again, I can't help but to see the similarity to drawing. There's always room to improve, and especially as a beginner or amateur you feel overwhelmed and sometimes demotivated at this huge task ahead of you.


I finished Not on the Label today. The last chapter on The Ready Meal was very interesting and insightful, although only partly applicable for me, as I don't eat ready meals. The rest of the book was nice, too, but not as useful. The last chapter talked not only about ready meals, but also about the ingredients of yoghurts and how eating habits have changes through the decades (e.g. We now consume many more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids. The ratio should be 1:1, but is now at 10:1 or even 20:1. The chapter also discussed how there may be a link between omega-3 fatty acids and a reduction of violence).

I also quite liked the afterword of the book:
"Food is one of life's great pleasures. Shopping for it, preparing it and eating it has bound people together for centuries. It is in eating together that we are socialized. In the end, it's about what kind of society we want."


A quick design I made for a roleplaying game:


Anonymous said...

Although it wasn't my first Kendo Seminar or the second or third one - if I am serious the number must approach 20 now - it was still a pleasure to train and learn with all thouse motivated people. The nine Kihon Kata were new to me too - although I have seen them once performed during a seminar in Germany.

And the book you wrote about - I think I very much desire to read it too. As you know I am very interested in healthy living. I suppose there is a lot of interesting information in it which would improve the quality of my own website...

Last but not least: your drawings. I like them very much! I do not see the unappealing aspect you mentioned. Every time I browse your blog I remember more civilised times - long ago - before it got dark in the universe, when I was drawing too. And every time I resolve to start drawing again - even more when I read your thoughts about mushin.

One last sentence: Sleep is so important. Good night and till our next meeting!

Lg, Christian

Manuela said...

I'll bring the book with me on Tuesday, so you can have a look at it and borrow it if you like.

Thanks for your kind words about my drawings.
I guess I'm just hopelessly perfectionistic coupled with low self-esteem. On the one hand this helps, because you never try to stop improving, but on the other hand you never pause to look at what you have achieved and appreciate the knowledge and skills that you do have.
I suppose it would be ideal to know where your strengths lie and at the same time to be aware of your deficits - some kind of silent confidence in your skills and humble awareness of your weaknesses, all equally balanced.

Apropos sleep: I was labelling some of my older blog postings yesterday and rediscovered a link on sleeping that I had posted a couple of months ago. It's a very interesting and informative article (it's in English, but not too difficult to understand): Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sleep

Anonymous said...

I agree with you - when you are perfectionistic, you normally do not stop to improve ;-) And the more you improve the more fun it is!

But in my opinion the only way to define ones strengths and deficits is to compare yourself with others. And this is something I try to avoid - at least as far as it is possible, I am of course not able to do anything about my unconsciousness. (Is this the correct vocabulary?)

Thank you for the interesting link! Now I have a glimpse of how to sleep well. By the way: it is time again ;-)

Lg, Christian

Manuela said...

Oh, boy, I hope you're right about the fun. If the fun decreased I would only tense up more, which would be counterproductive.

I usually can't help comparing myself to others. That probably goes back to school, when everyone was always comparing (we once did an IQ test in school, and I got so fed up of all the comparing that I wouldn't tell anyone my result. One girl got really angry because of that, which amused me :).
Now I gradually care less about other people's grades, results and achievement, at least in terms of envy. Everybody is different and has had a different life and background. This makes it natural that everybody has different strengths. I'm only trying to observe them and learn from them.
Hmm, I guess that's the small difference between comparing for competitive reasons and comparing for educational reasons.
With Kendo, I'm trying as much as possible to avoid comparing myself to others. I'm still right at the start and everybody else is probably better than me, so that would be only frustrating. So I'm mostly comparing my abilities to the skill level that I would like to achieve (not to any one person, but to a theoretical concept). I just must not forget to set myself short-term goals as well as long-term goals. I tend to only have long-term goals, which makes it harder to have little moments of satisfaction on the way to the goal.

Wow, you do seem to have a regular sleeping pattern. Congrats! I'm still working on achieving that :/