Friday, May 23, 2008

Bark: Ouch, my head

I had my first Kendo session in armour last night. You would have thought that the last thing a person with chronic tension headaches should do is engage in a sport where the primary action is hitting people on the head with big bamboo sticks, and of course, BEING HIT ON THE HEAD WITH BIG BAMBOO STICKS.

But no, I'm contrary like that.

First impressions: crikey. Well, that's different. Putting the armour on to begin with was a bit tricky, since I have a fundamental inability to be able to tie bows behind my back. I've been able to tie my shoelaces since I was about three or four years old, but take away being actually able to see the knot you're tying, and boy... EPIC FAIL.

Once you get the armour on, however, it's quite a strange experience. You do feel a bit badass, well... you would if you weren't flailing around like Robocop on Ecstasy in a techno nightclub, because you've lost about 50% of your vision, and you've got no idea what any of your limbs are doing anymore. It's not what I'd call an unpleasant experience, but not exactly a pleasant one, either. I guess it takes some getting used to. As does getting hit on the head with a shinai by someone who's not used to hitting people on the head with a shinai...

I'm going to have to remember to keep my head and chin up, so that the metal ring around the men absorbs most of the impact, because if the shinai doesn't hit that and strikes you behind it, on the padded part, let's just say it doesn't do your headaches any good. It's going to take a few weeks yet before I figure out whether I really like the whole experience when you're in armour, at which point I'll either never go again or I'll rush off to buy a set, but I think the latter is more likely.

So, yeah. As an experience, very different from just practicing kata or practice-hitting held up shinais, with a little bit of the thrill of mortal combat, but with rather less chance of death. All in all, it was definitely worth waiting three months for. I'll have to practice my tying bows behind your back madskillz before next week, though. Not being able to tie on your own helmet is pretty embarrassing for a 32 year old...
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