Kotomi seems to be really enjoying kendo. She has admitted that one of the reasons for starting was that "all the kendo people look so young and happy." I laughed and suggested it might have something to do with all the yelling and hitting people.
But there is one thing that is really annoying her, and it is a point that I have taken into consideration as it relates to myself too. It seems that everyone wants to teach her kendo, and everyone has different ideas about how best to do kendo. Sometimes, within half an hour, several different people will tell her to do completely conflicting things: swing your arms back, no, don't swing your arms back, hit softer, hit harder, cut forward, cut downward, and so on. She's getting really pissed off.
I now see how important it is to start kendo under the instruction of a single competent teacher, in a dojo with an organised class schedule. (The dojo I started at had two teachers, but they agreed, at least I think they did, so that is basically the same).
I think that some of the people who come to offer advice to Kotomi are not very good at kendo, and tell her wrong things, but Japanese etiquette requires that she listens politely, which in turn makes the person think that they are being good teachers. If she asks me afterwards whether what they said was correct I just tell her to ask one of the senior teachers (Grumpy, Hirai or Sensei-Sensei). And in any case, I tell her, I don't think there is one best way to learn kendo, and if there is then it is not that important to follow it: you just simply listen to what people have to say, think about it, ask someone who knows for sure, and then continue on with "practice, practice, practice."
But all this reminds me of when I was a beginner (which I still am, but just a little less so). I went around telling people they were doing things wrong, how to correct it, how to think about things correctly, and so on. Even though I was right in most cases, and I knew how to do things correctly, I had no right to try to teach. Simply repeating what your teacher said, or what you read in books, because it makes some sense to you does not mean that you understand it or are able to practice it correctly, and even when you can do it correctly, you still need to go a lot further before you are tell others how to do things. Because of all this I realised the need to shut up, leave things as they are, and let people learn at their own pace, and in their own way: I realised it is not up to me to teach anyone, or change anything. This, of course, would be different if I am ever a teacher of anything, but until then I hope to accept things as they are.