Well, it was that time again this weekend where I get to show how good I am at iaido and completely fail to get past the first round. Either my teachers are telling me that I am better than in actual fact I am, or they are not reading the same guidelines as the referees. It could also be that the referees are not reading the same books as my teacher and that they are also in fact wrong. This is not outside the realms of possibility.
Things were going reasonably swimmingly with me winning the first two matches, one with a 2 to 1 judgement and the other 3 to 0, but during the third match everything went pear shaped. Firstly, the judge who scored against me in the first match was sitting directly in front of me, so I already felt that there was no way I was going to convince him this time because my opponent was (imho) very much better than my opponent from the first match.
Then to my opponent: this is someone who trains in the same dojo as I, so I cannot blame differences in teacher or whatever on the fact that he won (with 2 flags to 1, I might add). I admit I was beaten psychologically before we even started. The funny thing is, I actually don't think that he is better than I am, although I admit he is good. I guess the point is that I will not permit myself to lose against him because I have been training longer. Thus these thoughts in my head, I go to compete and I even felt that I was not as "in the flow" as the previous matches.
I guess the upshot of all this is that when there was no question of winning or losing (only doing my best) then my iaido was much better and I felt more one with myself and my sword, but when these thoughts came into my head, my technique started to fall apart and I came out of balance. Food for thought indeed!
By the way, my opponent went on to win the silver medal, so that takes the edge off it a little.