After the first 2 months of swinging my shinai all around the dojo, I got a great opportunity to attend the Finnish Individuals´ Championship in Helsinki and see what Kendo actually looks like outside the practice zone. Being just a “fresh” kendoka and still having a long way ahead to masterskills of the Championship participants, I joined in just as a spectator. I was genuinely excited about it given I had never been to such an event before. Although I didn't know what exactly I should expect, I had a feeling it would be an awesome experience so I decided to ask my friend to come, too, and join me in cheering for my fellow club members.
So we got on the train and hit the road, heading to Leppaväära where the Championship was being held. One of the things I learned in the past 2 months is that kendokas are very determined and never give up easily when achieving their goals. I decided to stick with this when my inner GPS let me down once again while looking for the entrance. Yet I was determined to find my way to dojo, no matter what, until I finally found it and realized it was worth searching for.
We took seats behind the board of referees so I could both cheer for HY kendo club and observe sword fighting and footwork techniques of the participants. This way I could not only improve my own skills and techniques but also learn the rules of Kendo championships enthusiastically explained to me by my fellow club members. But what I appreciated the most was to see the Kendo team spirit: cheering for each other, being happy for one´s own success as well as for the success of other club members, supporting each each other when things don't work out as wished and, of course, ever-present strive for improvement typical for the martial arts.
Ever since I left that dojo, I feel inspired and strongly motivated to keep returning to the dojo, work hard and get better so one day, I can be one of the Championship participants, too. Can't wait to put my own bogu on!