[TRANSLATED INTERVIEW] - Introducing Kendo Athletes Vol.2 – Miho TAKENAKA

The All Japan Kendo Federation just uploaded the latest episode of 'Introducing Kendo Athletes' with this volume introducing previous member of Team Japan: Miho Takenaka:
Here's a full translation of the interview:
Here's the translation of the provided transcript from Japanese to English:
What do you cherish and think about in pursuing Kendo?

It's a heart/mind that always pursues. From many teachers, I try to show an attitude that I can receive as much guidance as possible and always value having a constant ambition. I'm thankful for those around me. I can practice Kendo now because of guidance and support from many people. I try to repay this by showing gratitude through my results and actions.

Looking back at your childhood, what experiences do you feel have been useful now?

It's about setting basic foundations. The basics that I practiced repeatedly until I could do them properly are ingrained in me and serve me now. I remember thoroughly practicing footwork and basic strikes even before putting on the Men during my beginner stages of Kendo. I practiced with the image of sending my right foot with my left foot.

What kind of training did you do in your childhood?

It was game-style training. Before practicing in the dojo, physically taxing exercises like burpee jumps and distance running were turned into relay or competitive styles to make them enjoyable. In junior high, I recall practicing 1,000 basic strikes daily on a flat balance ball, and if I fell off, I'd start all over again.

How do you cope when you're in a slump or when you can't feel any progress?

It's about creating opportunities. I try things like shouting for a longer time, striking without hesitation, or finding any other trigger to change my mindset. Recently, I've revisited my Kendo notebook from high school or decided that today's practice would be just about striking regardless of whether I hit or miss. I value creating such opportunities. And sometimes, it significantly changes my mood. If there's an upcoming match, I think I must practice, but there are times when I decide not to practice too much. When I feel good, I practice a lot.

In terms of lifestyle, do you have any hobbies or things you're particular about?

I usually wear sportswear, but on my days off, I like to buy and wear casual clothes. I enjoy watching comedy, so I watch it online or listen to radio shows of my favorite comedians. I also use saunas to relieve fatigue from practice.

Have there been any setbacks or bitter memories in your Kendo life?

It's the experience of losing. In my first year of college, the first team match I participated in was the Kanto Student Kendo Championship, and the Senpo had lost their match, and then I lost my match as the Jiho. My loss affected the momentum, and our team lost, which is a bitter memory from my student days.

How did you overcome such setbacks or bitter memories?

My university classmates all gathered and surprised me by preparing a meal for me. They encouraged me.

About your father (Kentaro Takenaka, Kendo Kyoshi 8th Dan)

To me, my father is a role model and a swordsman I aspire to surpass. My father has competed in the World Championships but has also experienced not being selected for it. I respect him for providing guidance and advice based on these experiences, which resonates with me.

Lastly, please give a message to the next generation of swordsmen who have dreams!

There might be some who don't find joy in the repetitive basic actions or can't win matches now. However, Kendo is a sport where you can excel even as you age. The time will surely come when you'll realize the joy of interacting with many through the crossing of swords. Let's work hard together!

Miho Takenaka
Kendo 5th Dan
Team Employee
Tochigi Sports Association
Sports Instructor
From Tottori Prefecture
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