It was the simplest thing, a poster. Just a basic poster, nothing fancy or flashy, that got me hooked. There is a wall across from the Gym at Brock University, that’s littered with advertisements from used textbooks to volunteer opportunities. Walking past that wall every day, one tends to ignore the fluorescent flyers posted on the concrete. For some reason though, I didn’t. This is how I ultimately got involved in the martial art of iaido, by taking a chance.
Since elementary school, I have always been under the un-athletic category. I dropped the ball, got tangled in goal nets, and feared being hurt form most sports equipment. Due to my lack of athletic skills; I was never encouraged to partake in any physical actives. The only physical activity I did enjoy was swimming. While at University, I was surrounded by numerous opportunities to join activities. So there I am in a gym next to people, who are more in tune with their athletic abilities. I fell back to where I was originally, feeling discouraged and unworthy in participating. I pushed myself to still make an attempt at the gym, so I started cycling four times a week. Not wanting to look ridiculous by having a meagre sign-in record of 80 minutes per week, I tried to add time by reading the flyers on the wall. During the daily catch-up on “new” textbook ads, a simple poster got my attention. On it was written “Iaido at Brock, A great way to learn self-discipline and control.” I don’t know why but, for some reason it felt like the poster was meant for me. Using internet resources, I learnt what iaido was. The idea that every simple movement contains significance increased my respect for this art. The intention is cut to kill, not to show off. I saw people practicing the way of the samurai, acting without any hesitation and always in control. I wanted that confidence in my life and doing my first ever self-confident move, I signed up for the winter iaido course at Brock University.
Since that day, I committed myself to be like the individuals demonstrating their katas in the videos. I’ve pushed myself to go to every class opting to do assignments till two in the morning just to get that 9 to 11 practice in, enduring the snickering and side remarks in the hallway while walking to class with my bokken at my side. I finally got to the point where I just don’t care what people think. I know now that there will always be someone better than me but I’m not going to let that deter me anymore. This is what iaido taught me, to stop hesitating from doubt and just try. I am going to try my best and that is all I can offer.
In feudal Japan, samurai were taught not to be afraid of death. You should enter the battlefield and only think about the moment. In the present day, iaido teaches never to doubt. When you perform a kata, ignore all the distractions and just focus on the moment. I’m beginning to focus on my moment and I know that I want it to involve iaido.