This is the 3rd time I participated in the Taipei Chung-Cheng Cup, since I came back to Taiwan 3 years ago. It was the toughest competition experience for me so far, as I fought about 8-9 matches with my teammates.
The competition was teams-only, no individual matches. I was the least experienced kendoka in the 7 men team representing the Taipei Kendokan. However, my sempais continued to encourage me to fight, even though at one point I really wanted to give up, and wanted to let the other team mates to take my place.
The pressure built up tremendously as I got more and more tired, and seeing my teammates scoring points, while I could only drew the match or sometimes loosing one point. In my mind, I felt like a failure being the one who pulls down our overall performance.
Su Senpai, our Taisho, looked at me and asked if I wanted to stay on and fight, I was really hesitating. Then he said, "I'm not sure what your problem is. But if you don't want to fight because all your teammates are winning, that is because we have at least 13 years of experience, much more than you have. If you are getting tired, we are getting tired, too and so are the opponents. Of course, if you are injured, then that's another story." Hearing his words, I felt there's now no reason for me to back down. So, I continued to fight on until he asked me to take a rest in the last match.
We obtain the 3rd place in the end.
There are so many other things I learned by fighting alongside my teammates.
- Strategy and controlling the mental pressure. Apart from fighting as the senpo in the first match, I fought as the jiho for all the other matches. What I did well (apart from a couple of times loosing) was to draw the match, or if loosing, try not to loose the second point. This maintains a neutral mental pressure for my teammates.
- I need a stronger will to win. Ozawa Sensei's saids once to me, "Never giver up." I now realise how difficult it is when you have to fight the whole day.
- When attacking, move the body first and then the hands. Otherwise, it is easy for the opponent to strike debana-kote.
- Move faster.