Welcome. We are a Kendo Association that wants to spread the word about this excellent Japanese martial art and sport that is growing in popularity around the world, among men and women. But there are still people who are unaware of the many wonderful aspects of kendo.
Not many people know that kendo has influenced other martial arts, and is a sport that comes down from the swordsmanship of samurais. Today, kendo is practiced by millions of people from around the world. There are many kendo championships held by associations around the world.
Kendo is practiced for various reasons. We hope to encourage more people to find out more about kendo, and perhaps test its benefits for themselves.
What is Kendo?
Kendo is possibly the closest one can come to re-enacting the lives the of the samurais without actually fighting with dangerous swords that could kill. It is a sport with its roots in martial art, with a rich and long history.
In competition, kendo involves trying to achieve an Ippon or a full point, through the correct use of the sword, the right spirit, and the right movements of the bamboo sword or shinai.
It is very easy to see why this sport migrated from island Japan to countries and households around the world. The practice of kendo can be very fulfilling. It is a great form of exercise, both for the body and the mind. It can be practiced at any age – participants range from three to four years old and those above ninety. This is proof of kendo’s enduring and broad appeal.
Reasons to Learn Kendo
Different people learn kendo for different reasons. Some people do so in order to find balance in the middle of a stressful life. Other people see it as a good form of recreation. Yet others enjoy the cardiovascular exercise that kendo can provide, when it is practiced in the correct form. There are also some people who enjoy the competitive nature of kendo. Many other people become dedicated practitioners out of a desire to achieve self-knowledge.
In practice, there are many different processes and elements in the training of kendo, besides technique. There is practice between people of two different levels, between a junior and senior. There is free-style training or Jigeiko with an equally-matched sparring partner, that many people particularly enjoy. In all the forms of kendo, full presence and concentration is essential.
There is also a lot of discipline involved. This is why kendo is able to offer so many mental and physical benefits to people who practice it religiously for years.
It can take years to master the philosophies of kendo and apply it in your own life. But for competitive kendo, the rewards of practice and discipline are easier to see.
Kendo in the Olympics
We believe that practicing kendo competitively is an important aspect of development. Ideally, kendo should be a way of life. This means there should be no gap between the practice of it in daily life and competition at an Olympic arena. The goal should be to balance the different elements of kendo that are available. Only then can true appreciation and understanding of the martial art – and its way of life – come about. Of course, practitioners can spend entire lifetimes trying to achieve mastery over their techniques and its application in their lives.
But in its simplest form, kendo is an enjoyable sport, though purists will not agree. Irrespective of whether or not Kendo will be included in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, it is clear that Kendo is a lifelong pursuit. Whether a kenshi is in their twenties participating in championships around the world, or in their fifties, having achieved your 8th Dan and greater maturity, Kendo can add value to lives.
The value of kendo as self-improvement doesn’t have to be at odds with the challenge and thrill of kendo as a competitive sport. Tournaments can be fun. And we believe they are a necessary stage in the growth and development of a kendo practitioner.
Whatever the reason for pursuing kendo, it is a fantastic introduction to Japanese martial arts that anyone can enjoy.