Because of Corona Virus Pandemic, all kendo activities have been either canceled or postponed indefinitely in Hawaii and also elsewhere in the world. Many are exercising by doing suburis, running, weight training and so forth. In my case, I have been doing at least 1500 suburi a day using the entire day from the morning till night while being careful not to get injured.
Our dojo facility is not available till the end of June. We will start our practice on Wednesday, July 1st. We will start slowly from practicing fundamentals. Some may still want to stay away from any gathering till Corona Virus Vaccine or effective medicines are created. That is OK and understandable. But keep on moving your body by walking, running, swimming or other means to keep your body healthy and strong to fight off any diseases.
I watch NHK news from Japan every week days to keep up with Japanese affairs. Almost all pedestrians and commuters are wearing facial masks though still not being able to keep up with social distancing because it is a crowed country. Cabinet members and government officials all come up to news wearing masks.
One of questions came up from foreign countries was why the rate of Corona Virus infections and deaths in Japan are relatively lower than other countries. The followings are some of guess works or convincing facts. 1. Japan does not have culture of hugging and kissing. Just bowing. 2. They remove footwear before getting back into houses. Less chance of germs coming into houses. 3. Japanese are generally clean and like to be clean. You can understand if you have been to Japan before. 4. Cruise ship arrived in Japan with many Corona Virus patients and quarantined in the ship for a while at early stage of this pandemic. During that time people get to know the seriousness of this virus. 5. At the early stage of spreading, a couple of famous comedians and stars contracted this virus and died. People realized that this virus don’t care if you are famous or not, rich or poor, men or women, young or old (though those old and with underlying condition get bad.) 6. When government officials asked them (they did not order them) to wear masks and stay home, many complied voluntarily. It is very important that leaders say and show what to do by themselves.
When I go around in Kendo T-shirt, some people come up to me and ask, “Do you teach Kendo?” I answer, “Yes, I do. But also I learn, too. I must have a student attitude to get better.” If you lose your “getting better” attitude, regardless your age and/or rank, your kendo stays in same levels. I see some kenshis who seem to like just to teach instead of trying to learn or improve themselves. Teaching is important but have to maintain learning element in it. You cannot teach what you have not learned or mastered.
Iwao Sato, Chief Instructor
Wahiawa Kendo Club