June 2, 2020
To all members of the Canadian Kendo Federation and Associated Martial Arts:
I have been graciously invited by some members of our federation to speak virtually to each of you during this storm caused by a small, single-stranded RNA virus that is disrupting our lives, our work, our families and our social organization, while at the same time bringing out demons deep in our psyche, manifesting themselves as angst and fear.
It is therefore not as a President that I am addressing you, but as a practicing person who is sorry for the devastation caused by a non-living being with whom we will have to live from now on, under the recommendations of the National Health authorities.
I, like all of you, miss Kendo and its ceremonies and rituals of common practice. However, there is no good reason to indulge in Olympiads of suburis and other solitary feats at home. I have known many great Japanese masters, victims of diseases, professional or family problems who had to stop training for several months, and who have resumed the dojo practice with a shinai, a bo or a shinken to regain their martial qualities of high level.
Let’s not lose courage; and let’s keep our bodies and minds healthy with simple means.
“Mens sana in corpore sano” as the warriors of Ancient Rome used to say. Those of Asia extolled the merits of the “Bunburyodo”
Today, this feeling of panic and anguish created by the heart-rending news of the media is distressing, but we, practitioners of Japanese Martial Arts, have a remedy that comes from the advice of the Ancients and which must now be revived.
These are the four defects of the spirit (Shikai) that are fear, surprise, doubt, and anguish, which cancel out any quality to the martial practice of quality. They are also our real psychological enemies to pursue a path of technical progress and mental elegance during this global pandemic. It is also these four prohibitions of the martial mind that allow us to evaluate the situation of this pandemic and to act correctly personally and socially.
In fact, wearing the mask in public areas is also another expression of good manners and respect for others that we normally practice in our dojos.
During these viral waves that crossed Canada, the directors of the CKF did not remain inactive. We dreamed of a great project, led with great enthusiasm to create a well-documented, stimulating and comprehensive website to improve communication, transparency, and education, the three CKF mottos since 2014.
We are analyzing the best time to re-launch our programs, especially those of our tri-annual national championship, the annual grading, and the general meeting. They will most likely be held in Vancouver towards the end of the year unless Covid gives us no time off until then. We also understand the specific problems that may worry our Juniors parents and the presence of our distinguishing guests that require our best attention.
We are thus thinking about the best ways to start regular practices without putting our community at risk physically and financially. Certainly, the CKF will follow the recommendations of the national Health office.
Despite most of the important international events having been canceled, the AJKF maintains the May exams for September in Kyoto. The French Federation seems determined to organize the WKC 2021 on May 27 in Villebon-sur-Yvette, on the outskirts of Paris. As usual, we wish the success of our national teams and will support our manager, our national coach, and assistant coaches without fail.
Life is not always a long quiet river, just like our kendo, iaido, and Jodo practices. But life is beautiful in all its aspects. Let’s have fun together and enjoy our martial arts with dignity and sincerity, to persevere through these difficult times.
Christian D’Orangeville June 1st, 2020