Sunday, February 26, 2012
Progress in Kendo is a funny thing.
People often worry about whether they are getting better, usually they are worried that they are not progressing "fast enough".
This is a difficult thing to measure.
Most people's yardstick for improvement is by comparing themselves to the people around them. This is wrong. Some people progress or improve faster than others at various times. Some rare people become very good very quickly. However these people, in my experience, nearly always give up Kendo after only a few years. Exactly why I don't know. Maybe it's too easy for them.
I've learned to disregard "talent" in my students.
More often it is the ones who struggle with Kendo who are the best students. They are the ones who really progress to the higher levels. So I keep a closer eye on the uncoordinated ones, the unphysical ones. As a teacher I know I am more likely to get a bigger return on my investment of time and instruction.
The other reason that comparing yourself to the others around you is wrong is that they are improving too. So at best, you're not going to look like you're progressing at all, because for every improvement in your Kendo, they make a similar improvement in theirs.
It's like cars on a freeway. If you and the car next to you are both doing 110 km/h, then relative to each other, you are both travelling at 0 km/h.
So if you ask me about progress I will answer I don't care about progress. I only care if you come to training.
If you train regularly, that's progress. That is the journey.