Merry Monday – Living Life


Here’s what I’ve been up to while I’ve been spending less time on Facebook:

Writing

I met with my new writers group for the first time on Friday. It’s quite different than my old one as we use Google Hangouts rather than meeting in person. I found it works well. Also, instead of having everyone read everyone’s stuff, the author reads and then everyone takes a turn giving comments from the notes they made while listening to the reading. Overall, it takes less time. With a biweekly meeting schedule instead of monthly, I think it’ll be easier to keep motivated. I’m a little greener than the others, but it seems we all have different strengths and weaknesses, which is a great thing. 

After the meeting, I was inspired to fix the pieces I had read and add some new parts. A Saturday morning fire alarm might’ve turned into going back to bed if I wasn’t still feeling inspired to write.

Christmas Preparations

My first Christmas movie pick of 2016 is Gremlins. A story about conquering the evil you accidentally created is totally full of holiday spirit. I wouldn’t have wanted to be the one that cleaned the microwave. I should’ve popped some corn before it as it made me want some salty, buttery, and crunchy deliciousness.

I put up my tree:

As far as shopping goes, my mom is getting books that have short stories of mine in them and some treat I haven’t bought yet. One brother is done. Dad will get liquor. And the other brother is the hard one. He might get a gift card with a treat. I’m having to spend less this year with my income split in half, but I’m sure they’ll enjoy what they get anyway.

Kendo

I’ve taken up Kendo. This time I think I’m really going to do it. I’ve tried it on two other occasions. My first day ever at the dojo was one. That was after doing two other arts before, which made the day very long and my feet very sore. The second time, I was so out of breath that I felt like I was dying. This time, I lasted the whole class despite struggling with a caffeine overload. I only needed one break to catch my breath. In the cold months, I often have trouble breathing. I don’t have regular asthma or any heart issues, so the cardiologist said to do more cardio. I’m more in shape now than I was in previous years, so it’s time to take up Kendo for real. It’ll help my Iaido in some ways too.

Renovations

I’m slowly pulling up the crappy peel and stick tiles in my kitchen, so I’ll be able to replace the floor later. The fridge is on wheels, so that won’t be terrible. I might have to buy wheels for the stove. 

Life in General

It seems that everytime I want to do something simple, it’s anything but. I wanted to do laundry and needed to add money to my laundry card. Normally, this is easy. Today? Today the machine decided it didn’t want to work. It did it in a way that made me think my bank account was empty, by telling me it was declined. So, I ran back to my unit to check my balance. Not great (mortgage, insurance, and condo fees came out on this pay), but enough to do laundry. I tried again. No worky. I was about to call the company then decided to run out in the snow to the other building to see if I could use theirs. Besides, I figured the office is who should be calling to get the machine fixed. I had to explain to her a couple of times that I needed someone to let me into the laundry room. That machine worked.

Anyway, this seems to be how most things are lately. I got a cupboard for above my toilet to clean up my bathroom. I had to build a platform for it because the stupid toilet is a weird, extra tall model. It would be my preference for a shorter one that doesn’t have the elongated bowl. I really don’t think elongated bowls are necessary. Learn to aim or sit down to pee.

A friend is helping with my kitchen drawers. His tool isn’t working and bad things happened for him recently, so this hasn’t gone smoothly either. 

*Sigh*

I’m just trying to get my place clean and organized.

Anyway, back to work.

Ciao,

R~

First Iai Class of the New Year and “First” Kendo Class Ever

I could have started off the new year a little better in my practice as I was late after peeling my car like an orange.

Ottawa was hit pretty bad by freezing rain. I felt like I needed ice skates to reach my car. I also had a fun time parking near the dojo as is common with this kind of weather because it seems that although class doesn’t start until 1pm, whoever is contracted to clear snow on that road never cleans the snow from the only side of the road that the parking signs are posted on. With my tiny car, I can’t take the deep snow without ending up stuck.

We ran through Oku Iai kata. They were on number 4 when I got there. I did my standing etiquette and joined the others. It was a smaller than usual class because of the weather.

After spending the holidays doing an abundance of artistic things, I felt more in tune with my spirit and it wasn’t so hard to understand some of the things that were taught. I’ve also started to read Musashi’s book and I have a new appreciation for some of the Iaido kata. There are so many things that could be happening that could be either strategic or happenstance.

The heater was malfunctioning in the dojo, so my feet were so chilled they felt like they were losing circulation. It kicked back on during kendo when we didn’t need to be warmed up anymore. That “Murphy” is a character.

I went to Kendo today after Iaido. It was my first class of Kendo, well, technically my second. I did Kendo one day in June 2013. The first day I ever attended a class at Tateyama, I did all three, Jodo, Iaido, and Kendo. It was too much. My feet were killing me, so I decided to just do Jo and picked up Iaido soon after. I also thought it was silly that they yelled the name of the body part they are attacking in Kendo, but they don’t do that in an actual match, just practice.

I initially studied Jo because I thought it would be like the Bo techniques that I was already somewhat familiar with. It wasn’t familiar at all. I left Jo when I began my career in roller derby, which is currently on hold due to a neck injury that hasn’t fully healed.

Having more than a year in between when I first tried Kendo and now, I understand more why it’s important to study Kendo, if you are able to, while studying Iaido. I felt a sense of urgency with Kendo that can only help my Iai. Also, my arms are quite sore from the weight of the shinai and the frequency that I had to move it. Kendo does more to teach Ki Ken Tai no Ichi because of the need for Kiai (battle cry) as you cut. I can feel callouses forming in my hands from tenouchi, which is applying a grip as though you are ringing a towel out. It’s purpose is to stop the sword at the appropriate height. You get more of an idea of timing. You also work on targets constantly with a more clear necessity. With Iai, often we are practicing against an imaginary opponent, which can make it hard to judge things. In Kendo, we faced a different direction that made use of the mirrors, so we could always see our target even while practicing the fundamentals with no partner.

There’s a lot of fast footwork in Kendo, and loud yelling with the Kiai. Being less than 5 foot tall, it was quite challenging to make it across the dojo floor with any expedience. With it being my first day too, I just tried to do it as best I could without knowing if I was doing all right. It’s quite difficult to get the footwork down for some reason despite the fact that it doesn’t change much, if at all.

My main goal currently with Kendo is simply to use it to improve my Iaido. Maybe it’ll grow on me though and I’ll come to love it just as much. Right now I doubt that, but stranger things have happened.

– Roy Iaidoka