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 we learned in our first post about Hanafuda (花札), they are Japanese playing cards that are used to play a number of games. The name comes from two Japanese words hana (花) which means flowers and fuda (札) which can mean cards. Some call it “flower cards” in English. In this post, we will […]
One of the things I noticed during my first visit in Japan is the custom of riding an escalator. In my country, I haven’t really thought about which side of the escalator to stand. But when I came here in Japan, I noticed that people stand on one side to give way to other people who are in […]
Kamishibai (紙芝居, literal meaning: “paper drama”) is a form of storytelling that originated in Japanese Buddhist temples in the 12th century, where monks used emakimono (picture scrolls) to convey stories with moral lessons to a mostly illiterate audience. The following two tabs change content below.BioLatest Posts harorudo Latest posts by harorudo (see all) Kaomoji: Expressing […]
Mastering karuta requires a combination of quick reflexes and memorization. And for the Japanese language learner, karuta also offers the perfect blend of procrastination and productivity, a way to work and play at same time. The following two tabs change content below.BioLatest Posts harorudo Latest posts by harorudo (see all) Kaomoji: Expressing Emotions Through Text […]
Tomorrow in Japan is Shōwa Day. It is the start of the so-called Golden Week (ゴールデンウィーク, Gōruden Wīku). Often abbreviated as GW, Golden Week is a term applied to a series of public holidays between April and May. Golden Week The current holidays celebrated during this period are: April 29 – Shōwa Day (昭和の日, Shōwa […]
The National Foundation Day (建国記念の日, Kenkoku Kinen no Hi) is a public holiday in Japan and is celebrated every year on 11th February. The day is celebrated to commemorate the formation of the nation and also for the establishment of the imperial line by the first Japanese ruler, Jimmu. Holiday History The day originally coincided […]
For some other parts of the world, Christmas is the time for sending holiday greetings through postcards and mail. It is not much like that in Japan though. The Japanese receive holiday greeting cards in New Year’s Day (January 1), thus called Nengajou or the New Year’s Card. The New Year’s Card or Nengajou The […]
As we continue to our last post about judo, we will learn modern notable judo practitioners and judo influences in other martial arts. Judo has been one of the primary martial arts displayed in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) competitions since MMA’s inception. Several judo practitioners have made an impact in mixed martial arts. Notable judo […]
In our last post about the Japanese traditional martial art sumo, we learned about its history. In this post, we will learn more about its rules and features. 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 […]
If you go to the Fukiya village by public transport, you need to go to Takahashi, which is also a lovely place to visit. There are old samurai residences, a temple with Japanese garden, and above all, a castle on the mountain. The name of the city is “Takahashi”, but the train station is “Bicchuu […]