Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A Proud Day

It is indeed a momentous occasion. After this evening's kendo practice, I was able to fold my pants (hakama), all by myself. This is not as easy a task as you might think. After all, this is a samurai sport we're talking about here! There are rules! And hakama have a lot of pleats! Each one with Confucian significance!

You would think that the sport itself would be the really hard part, but for me it's dealing with the equipment. Too bad I'm not an 一年生 (ichi nen-sei; first grader). Then I could get away with having my mom put away my hakama, kendogi, men, dou, take, kote, and shinai after class, while I played baseball with the other kids. Did I mention that you need a lot of equipment to play kendo? Which makes sense, seeing as the goal of a match is to hit your opponent's head, wrist or trunk with a bamboo sword.

So back to my pants. With the help of one of my Grade 3 students, I aligned all of the pleats of the hakama. I didn't quite get to the stage where I can tie the sashes into the pretty knots the picture shows. One step at a time! It's taken me weeks to be able to get the pleats figured out. Besides, my tutor didn't know how to do it either.

I'm very lucky to have such generous people in my kendo club. They have provided me with all the equipment and support to start learning kendo, without laughing at me too much.

I'm still terrible at it, but at least my seiza has improved.

Picture taken from here.

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