Kendo, The Way of The Sword – Kendo Practices
It’s estimated that somewhere around 14 million people world-wide are Kendokas, or active practitioners and students of Kendo.
Unlike almost every other martial art, Kendo has one global federation, and every country has only one national organization. This derives from a strong orientation towards cooperation and mutual respect in every aspect of Kendo – the blind competitive drive that has splintered other martial art federations is almost non-existent.
The beginners in Kendo have to go through the same process as beginners in every other martial art or sport. The first thing new students have to learn are:
Etiquette – Kendo values its traditions, and it succeeded in bridging different cultures and regions. Every dojo in the world is run in that way, so all new students have to learn it.
Movement – Kendo developed a specific way of movement that has show to be the most effective, but can at firs seem odd and unnatural. The correct body posture is probably the most important for any future development.
Basic cut – from the very first training, kendoka is given hers/his sword, and starts to learn the basic cuts that are the backbone of all other defensive and offensive techniques.
Kendo training is quite noisy in comparison to some other martial arts or sports. This is because kendōka use a shout, or kiai (気合い), to express their fighting spirit when striking. Additionally, kendōka execute fumikomi–ashi (踏み込み足), an action similar to a stamp of the front foot, when making a strike.
Like some other martial arts, kendōka train and fight barefoot. Kendo is ideally practiced in a purpose-built dōjō, though standard sports halls and other venues are often used. An appropriate venue has a clean and well-sprung wooden floor, suitable for fumikomi-ashi.
Target areas in Kendo
Kendo techniques comprise both strikes and thrusts. Strikes are only made towards specified target areas (打突-部位 datotsu-bui) on the wrists, head, or body, all of which are protected by armour. The targets are men, sayu-men” or yoko-men (upper left or right side of the men), the right kote at any time, the left kote when it is in a raised position, and the left or right side of the dō. Thrusts (突き tsuki) are only allowed to the throat. However, since an incorrectly performed thrust could cause serious injury to the opponent’s neck, thrusting techniques in free practice and competition are often restricted to senior dan graded kendōka.
Once a kendōka begins kendo practices in armour, a practice session may include any or all of the following types of kendo practices.
Striking the left and right men target points in succession, practising centering, distance, and correct technique, while building spirit and stamina.
Waza or technique practice in which the student learns and refines that techniques of Kendo with a receiving partner.
Short, intense, attack practice which teaches continuous alertness and readiness to attack, as well as building spirit and stamina.
Undirected practice where the kendōka tries all that has been learned during practice against an opponent.
Practice between two kendōka of similar skill level.
Practice where a senior kendōka guides a junior through practice.
Competition practice which may also be judged.
We will learn more about kendo techniques in the next post.
2. Images from Wikimedia Commons.
As I wrote in my previous post, I love konbini (convenience store) in Japan. I often use it, especially after work. And, I usually drink canned coffee when taking breaks. This time, I’ll be introducing about coffee of konbini that every Japanese businessman cannot live without. About product labels If you take a […]
In our last kotoba asobi post, we learned about goroawase or substituting number pronunciations to make a new word or phrase. Goroawase is used as a mnemonic technique, especially in the memorization of numbers such as dates in history, scientific constants, and phone numbers. Goroawase as mnemonics Mnemonics are used to aid memorization of certain […]
Peach Peach is one of the major local productions of Okayama. Although it had been consumed by people from a long time ago, it is said it was rather an ornament than a food because its taste wasn’t so good. In Meiji era (1868–1912), when a new, sweeter and bigger breed came from China, many […]
In our previous post, we featured fireworks as one of the things you usually associate to a Japanese summer. But summer is not only about fireworks, it also means commemorating one’s dead ancestors and summer dance festivals. Obon In Buddhism, they believe that the spirits of their ancestors visit their living relatives yearly and it […]
In Japan, except northern cold areas like Hokkaido, houses are usually built to suit Japanese hot humid summer. This means many Japanese houses are drafty, and in other words, it can be freezing even indoor in winter. Most of those houses are without a central heating system, so people keep warm with individual heating devices […]
Like any other culture, the Japanese have also traditional toys which children used to play and is now slowly being forgotten due to the rise of modern and high-tech toys and gadgets. One of these toys is the kendama. The Kendama Kendama (けん玉, can also be written as 剣玉 or 拳玉) is a Japanese traditional […]
Every 23rd of November is Kinrou Kansha no Hi (勤労感謝の日).The name of the holiday is made up of two words kinrou (勤労) which means labor, and kansha (感謝) which means gratitude. So, technically the holiday is translated as Labor Thanksgiving Day. As an effect of the Happy Monday System, because November 23 this year was […]
Just like other martial arts, practitioners also are ranked by kendo grades. The following two tabs change content below.BioLatest Posts harorudo Latest posts by harorudo (see all) Kaomoji: Expressing Emotions Through Text 2 – June 3, 2015 Kaomoji: Expressing Emotions Through Text – June 1, 2015 The Nomikai – Bonding Through Drinking – May 28, […]
When I visited my wife’s parents’ home, I also went to a nearby shrine called Kibitsu shrine. At that time, an interesting ritual was being held. I’m going to introduce about it on this post. “Chinowa-kuguri” The ritual that has been held there is called “Chinowa-kuguri”. “Chinowa-kuguri” is one of the rites of “Nagoshi-no-harae”, which […]
It was the summer of 2006 when I and my classmates at AOTS Training Center went on a study tour as a part of our Japanese training. We went to Miyajima Island and stayed at one of their traditional Japanese hotels. We were having some fun that night, eating Japanese foods and drinking sake (Japanese wine). […]