what it means to wear a national team zekken...

So, I decided to wear mine at training in two of my Dojo where its a bit less formal.

Tonight I did some shiai practice after keiko and ippon shobu, I got my first bitter taste of disappointment while wearing the zekken this time around.  

I didnt "let the zekken down", but, I feel that way. I gave everything, but my shiai was too predictable. my opponents were very strong, and Im not expecting to beat the 3 lads very often. But I made a number of silly mistakes that I should not have made. 

That feeling in the back of my head every second, of what wearing this zekken means, of the privilege, to be able to wear it, the pressure that comes with it. The feeling that everything you do has to be perfect, not excuses.

I wear it in training because it makes me train harder, no excuses, no pain, more kiai more effort. While I feel my kihon keiko and jigeiko were alot better than last week, I just couldnt hold it together in Shiai. I think its important to get that kind of feeling setteled into your mind early. 

So that you dont walk away from a real shiai feeling the same.

So ill take this bitter feeling, sleep on it, and wake up tomorrow with a new hunger.

I know im lucky to be able to represent my country. I want to do well, to make people proud of Irish Kendo. This type of "setback" is only adding fuel to the fire.