Well, it begins.
And today was one hell of a good start to it.
Maybe I'm a young'un compared to majority of the others (Mode av. being 19 by quite a bit) but it doesn't really make a diff: Almost all of us got the 6th kyu. Muahaha. The entire bunch was gloating about how noob their 'rivals' from other schools were.
Looking back, this is the midpoint of the first part. Who knows how many will follow? Must admit, though. This sure as hell is a good way to start the next half.
One of the senseis pointed out something very interesting that I've kept in mind.
What is the purpose of undertaking a course such as this? To understand its values, to appreciate its philosophy and carry it out, to begin and end with meditation on the concept of kendo in your own life and to improve the self over the blade in achieving 心気力一致? Or is it to cut flawlessly, master the blade, to begin and end with meditation on the perfection of kendo and hone your skills and self in achieving 気剣体一致?
Perhaps, that may very well be the difference between a 剣道家 and a 剣術家.
There is no argument to be made between which is better. Both are noble paths to take for non-buddhists, whether or not you learn kendo or kenjutsu. They overlap each other so much that they could very much be one and the same (Or perhaps they really are).
The reason why the 五省 starts with 一つ and ends with 一つ instead of 五つ is seriously rather thought-provoking. It reminds the soul that they are one and the same, yet even for other philosophies or religions where the concept can be rather similar, it is never brought forth this way.
Furthermore it gives an understanding of the fundamentals of kendo: 気剣体一致 and 心気力一致. Icchi. In one agreement, concert, consensus, accordance, and so on. Harmonious existence. One in battle and one in self. One gets you 剣術 yet it needs both to get you 剣道.
It's beyond belief. It's application. Everyday application.
This will be one hell of a second half of the first section, both as a kendoka and as an IB mugger. But it'll work out.