AND this year I got roped into it. I was really, really nervous about it (because quite frankly most kendo-ka hit way too hard, and I don't care what school you come from but a do cut does not land under the arm, but along the hemo of a hakama), but Sensei Nagae paired me up with a lovely lady from the Fudoshin dojo who - if I do say so myself - has very good kendo.
It was a little scary, but we had a whole lot of fun (even if she did get some humiliating strikes to my men) and every one enjoyed it. The round after us, with Kuan and the Budokai secretary, was really good. They both went for it, and it was probably a better match.
Anyway, afterwards Kuan and I compared bruises - none of which we felt at the time, but all of which we were really proud to have recieved. Bruises from shiai are like badges of honour or something, proof positive that we pushed ourselves and tried hard. The ouchiness afterwards is a reminder that we fought bravely, and did not back down.
Good old-fashioned machismo. Gotta love it.