Well it’s January, which is usually a time for reflection and for looking to the future. In our case it seems odd to do a retrospective of the year, given that the club hasn’t yet seen its first birthday, but the holidays are still a convenient time to look ahead and plan for the year ahead. I think this year’s going to be an exciting one for the club; we’re out of the “just getting started” months but we’re still growing and maturing, we’re not yet at the “business as usual” stage. Here’s a glimpse of what we’ve got planned:
One thing we’d like to do this year is continue to take on more new members. We have a strong core of members, enough to have a good mix of training partners, but there’s always room for more! We’ll be running a new intake in February, plus a few more as the year goes on.
We’d also like to apply for some grant money this year, to buy a couple of sets of club armour. If we can do that, it will allow people to start kendo much more easily and cheaply. Even if it’s only a couple of sets, that would still be a huge difference for the club.
Competitions & Gradings
Many of our members have been in armour for a little while now and are starting to get reasonably comfortable with the sparring side of kendo. I consider competitions to be a very useful tool for improving and learning, so this April (one year after the club first opened its doors) we will be taking a team to our first-ever kendo competition! I don’t imagine we’re likely to win or do particularly well, but it’s a huge milestone in the development of the club and I can’t wait. Hopefully this will be the first of many!
As well as competitions, we have a few members who will likely be ready for their first official grading this year. We run in-house gradings every few months but after a certain point, the only way to progress is through BKA-run grading events. There are a couple this year that I’ve got my eye on, depending on when our members are free. Everyone’s put in loads of good work and made great progress so far, it would be great to see all that work recognised.
I have my own new years kendo resolution this year, which is to travel a lot more for training. Last year a lot of my kendo “thinking space” was taken up by getting the club established and running so sometimes my own kendo got a bit neglected. This year, at least once per month, I will travel to other clubs or to events and make sure I’m getting training with people better than me. Not only will this help me on the road to Yondan, it will also help me to steal drills or training methods from other sensei – which will be good for the whole club.