This year's test less had excitement; apprehension; stress and nervousness than our Shodan grading but nevertheless, the satisfaction of passing was great. With a more discerning eye, we could appreciate the finer details in the waza performed, especially by the higher grades; That itself is a significant step in our education!
Interestingly, our attitude towards our waza seems to have changed. Where before we sought to learn different techniques to add variety to our repertoire, we now look for quality over quantity (i.e. To do the same waza repeatedly, and to get it perfect, correcting all the little details.) It's an impossible dream but we will try nonetheless! At a personal level, there was an elevation of skills, a deeper commitment to correcting our mistakes, and most importantly, a can do attitude in the face of difficulties. This shift in mindset can come only from preparing; training and going for gradings, preferably out of Singapore and out of our comfort zones.
Besides these personal gains, travelling together and mingling with other iaidokas from other countries, the Singapore dojo was able to maintain it's good standing within the community. Then there is also an expanded vision we were not aware of before. We are actually learning and spreading an ancient sword art. Indeed, we are a small link in a chain of many others, keeping alive an old yet relevant way of self-mastery in this modern age.
In January of 2015, I concluded an article titled “In the Air” with these words:
“Good luck, success and a big thank you to all who made the time and effort every two years. You are building up a strong, united and vibrant dojo!”
This seems to ring even more true this year and I hope it continues for many years ahead.