“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
This quote is often attributed to Albert Einstein.*
Every day we live, we are faced with a singular challenge: how will I become better today?
What can you do to become better today?
Could you treat people nicer?
Could you treat YOURSELF nicer?
Could you eat more healthily?
Could you modify your attitude to become more positive?
There are myriad things you could do to become a better person today.
Did you do any of them?
Every time we train in Kendo, we do the same things, over and over again. Every day, kirikaeshi, big men, big kote, big do. My kids often whine that Kendo’s always the same. My response is that it’s never the same, unless you’re putting in the same effort as before.
This reminds me of a story that CAN be attributed to Mr. Einstein:
“Student: Dr. Einstein, Aren’t these the same questions as last year’s [physics] final exam?
Dr. Einstein: Yes; But this year the answers are different.”
Beginners and 8th dan sensei all strike the same strikes. HOW they perform those strikes is the difference.
If you’re not progressing in Kendo, it’s probably because you’re comfortable doing Kendo the way you’ve always been doing it.
The next time you step into the dojo, keep in mind you are there to improve yourself.
That is the purpose of Kendo.
That is the purpose of life.
* Some sources say there is no evidence to support that claim. The first appearance of a similar quote is in 1983 in Rita Mae Brown’s book “Sudden Death”.