Gasshuku Reflections Part 2

The 4th IGA Ken Gasshuku was such a memorable event for the participants that many of them have spontaneously written about their experiences and thoughts about it. This is the second of a series of articles showcasing these reflections.

Today we are featuring two of the new IGA Ken bogu class, Jenny and Dylan.
Jenny joined the Arena Dojo last March. Initially hesitant about joining, she eventually managed to convince herself to give training a try. And she has been at it ever since. After seven months of hard work, she finally passed the bogu exam during the Gasshuku.

Jenny’s Reflection:

Today, I woke up with the voice of a young boy in puberty and enough aches and pains that putting on my bra was quite a challenge. Everything that happened in the past 48 hours is something that I will never forget, but in a good way. All I can say about my first gasshuku is that it was ultimately a great learning experience. To meet people from different dojos. To endure the pain and push your limits, knowing that everybody else is doing the same. To just be there, to exist in that moment where all the different Kendo clubs in the Philippines are learning together and leveling up. It was a weekend like no other. For me, the gasshuku is definitely one of the highlights of the year.

It’s been about 7 months since I first entered Arena dojo, half heartedly joining something that I honestly believe I wouldn’t last long in. But things are different now, thanks to all the encouraging words from Sensei and all my senpai, and the very nice people in the club. This is the beginning of a whole new chapter of learning, and I’m excited about it. I understand that it wouldn’t be as “easy” as before, but I’m looking forward to bogu training with Sensei and all my senpai – try not to disappoint them, and try to do good kendo. Now that I’m part of bogu class, I will try to give my best and fix things that need to be fixed. Training is going to be harder, but I’m sure we will all grow and learn from it.

Forgive me if I won’t mention names on this post, because it would be quite ridiculous to call out every single one of you. The reason that you’re reading this right now is (believe it or not) because of YOU. All of you have helped me, in one way or another.

You who looked after me and guided me from day one. You who at some point have scolded me or shown me a displeased gesture. You who have given me kind words with a reassuring smile. You who told me that I can do better. You who asked me why I did something so poorly. You who sprayed pain relief on my shoulder. You who willingly lent me your bogu and gear during shiai practices. All of you..

YOU have helped me reach this far and I am very grateful for that.

So, thank you. And I hope to learn more from you.

As for my kouhais, I really don’t know what good advice to give… but I think the important thing is to HAVE FUN  Just enjoy learning. It’s okay to be competitive but there’s no need to rush, and don’t compare yourself to others. Just go your own pace. Another important thing to keep in mind is respect. Always show respect to your fellow beginners, to all your senpai, to Sensei, and to the dojo. Respect goes a long way.

In addition, something which some beginners wouldn’t normally hear from anyone but should be able to understand. Never take things personally, because at the the end of the day it’s all about training and your growth in Kendo. Always listen to your senpai and especially Sensei. Believe me when I say that everyone is here to help you improve. So don’t make imaginary enemies.

Lastly, thanks to everyone who cheered me on.
I’m sorry for this long post, thank you for taking time to read it.

今まで ありがとう. これからも よろしく お願いします.

Dylan is also from the March batch. Unlike Jenny’s initial hesitation about joining, Dylan has always been full steam ahead when it came to training. He even joined the IGA Ken delegation to Iloilo, even though he had been with the club for only four months then. In addition to training hard, he also serves as one of the Arena Dojo’s medics. And the old men and “feeling like old men” of the club certainly appreciate his help!

Dylan’s Reflection

Forgive me for posting this late as I want to make sure that I would be able to properly express everything, hahaha. Words cannot express how I feel about the recently concluded Gasshuku, but I must make effort to put it into writing so that I would be able to properly thank the people who made these things possible. This is my first Gasshuku and the experience was both Challenging and Fun at the same time.

I want to thank the most important person in our Dojo, DOMO ARIGATOU GOZAIMASU Igarashi-Sensei. Thank you for teaching us your way of Kendo and for always reminding us the right way to do it and thank you for inspiring us to Level up and thank you for inspiring us to change our way of thinking. To all the Senpai who never waver in giving advice and never gets tired even if we fail to do proper Shibori. I would also like to specifically thank Rikki-senpai for helping us with our training, thank you senpai for giving us the confidence and the guidance we need to reach our goal. The list of names I have not included here I will make it up to you somehow but I want to assure you that you have my deepest gratitude always and I will sure to pay it forward as well. To all my Kouhai, I want to extend my thanks as well, for you have always inspired me to do my best and to always strive hard. I will sure to make myself better in the coming months so that like the rest of the Senpai did to us I will be able to share the joy of Kendo with you. To my teammates INOSHIKACHO funny to think that there are three of us and the three of us took the exam three times, Tamorah and Paul-aniki, OMEDETOU GOZAIMASU! To my Bogu Batch mates OMEDETOU GOZAIMASU!

My Bogu Exam or should I say exams had been a fulfilling experience and it will be the first step to reach my goal. It was a rainy, nerve-wracking afternoon, my body aches, but my spirit tells me that I must push myself to the limit and go beyond it, I was called and finished my turn and waiting for the result feels like the longest time in my life it may seem funny and I think I am the first if not one of those Bogu Exam takers who cried after learning that I passed the exam, but I never felt ashamed to cry because those are tears of joy that I want to share to you my Nakama to tell you how happy I am and grateful that I have come to know such great Dojo, Nakama and Kazoku.


What dyou think?