The last few months have been an aggravating experience regarding my kendo career. I returned to practice with the hope that I could take off from where i left after my sandan grading last year... however, a few weeks passed and I realised that this will never be the case. Firstly I struggled with the problems anyone else would after 8-9 months out of the game, my timing was out, loss of speed and my cardio was blown. However, more upsetting was the discomfort in my knackered wrist. I now have trouble lasting a standard night's practice, if I jar it in either taitari or over doing a 'wristy' waza the dull ache can last for 4-5 days afterwards.
This situation has really knocked my kendo enthusiasm for 6. I've become more frustrated as the weeks pass and even considered jacking it in on more than one occasion. In addition I caught a couple of cracks on the right hand knuckle (probably the return of an old bad habit) which means i've also had to deal with a swollen hand.
All this came to a head a few weeks ago after a couple of particularly rotten rounds of jigeiko. My abysmal kendo combined with injured hand and wrist meant I packed up and left the dojo half way though the night. I was absolutely seething and was the first time in 8 years i've left a session early. If i'd passed the Thames on the way home i would have lobbed my bogu into it.
A change is required.
Firstly I told myself Rule #5 and dug out my old 'sausage kote' with the protective band over the knuckle. This should let me practice without further injury.
Second, I'm seriously considering studying Jodan. I managed a couple jigeiko with jodan last week to protect my swollen hand and enjoyed it (my katate men was pretty bad haha)..... this got me thinking. People have suggested trying it in the past because of my height but i've always been put off by becoming the club tsuki magnet, my low grade and a lack of local Jodan specialist friends I can leech advice from. However, I now feel that I have little choice due to the injury. I plan to discuss with my peers to see what they think as Jodan (the 'kamae of fire') requires a fearless attacking spirit - not how i'd describe myself!
By travelling down this road I have to accept that future grading opportunities will be bleak and i'll have to go back to basics. This will be a test of patience .