Kendo | Fighting Styles


Kendo, in a nutshell, refers to Japanese-style fencing. Based on the traditional Japanese legacy of swordsmanship as old as Japan itself, Samurai made use of the sword to create and keep order for centuries. Such people followed unwritten codes known as Bushido, of which the core was integrity, bravery, and honesty.

Kendo means “the way of the sword” and was developed from classical tactics of Japanese swordsmanship called kenjutsu. Kendo refers to a mentally and physically challenging activity which brings together sport-like physical elements and strong values of martial arts. Kendo practitioners are known as kendoka or kenshi.

The kendoka wear protective armor called bogu with traditional clothing and carry one or two weapons called shinai. Although known as Japanese fencing, kendo movements are quite different compared to European fencing since kendo swords are designed and used differently.

Kendoka make use of lightweight swords of split bamboo sword, and their protective armor set consists of gloves, a helmet, a groin protector, and a chest protector. Beginners, however, do not have any need for armor since they merely practice basic attack swings with the shinai. Proper footwork is also learned and matched with swinging strikes against their seniors.

After quite some time, they will be allowed to wear their armor and practice freely using full attack deliveries with other kendoka. Later, they will also be allowed to enter several tournaments or partake in matches that have judges.

Kendo ranking is quite similar to those of other martial arts, with six levels before reaching the black belt and ten more levels after that. In contrast, however, the belts aren’t colored and no signs of rank can be seen outwardly.

Also, kendo has no need for competitions with a lot of traditions and schools. Because of this, kendo would not be recommended for people who wish to have flashy or practical styles of overall self-defense.

The goal of kendo would be to mold the body and mind and cultivate vigorous spirits while striving for improvement, holding esteem in honor and courtesy, associating others with sincerity and constantly pursuing self-cultivation through rigid and proper training. Doing so will make a person love his society and country, contribute to his culture’s development and promote prosperity and peace in everybody else.

Training in kendo is a bit noisy when compared to other sports or martial arts since kendoka make use of shouting or kiai to reveal their spirit. Plus, whenever cuts or strikes are performed, the front foots hits the floor in motions that are quite like stomping. Almost eight million people from all around the world practice kendo, seven million of which reside in Japan. Kendo is considered a Japanese budo, which embodies the overall essence of fighting arts in Japan.

Nowadays, kendo students have the one-of-a-kind chance to study this art that has been passed down for generations. Its methods and theories have slowly evolved with time. Although contemporary kendo merely faintly resembles the feudal origins, the bushido concepts are still kept of hard work, dedication, patience, calm-mindedness, and seizing every moment.

Throughout the years, as with the majority of other Japanese martial arts, the overall emphasis of kendo has converted to training for physical and mental fitness and self-discipline instead of killing enemies. Kendo would be a great aid in developing poise, posture, agility, grace despite pressure, quickness, thought clarity, and concentration power.

Kendo is both a demanding and exhilarating art to learn. As with its older ancestors, kendo is forever beneficial to its practitioners with ideals of legendary formidable warriors. It can build one’s character, add strength, tone the body, relieve stress, and teach one to take full responsibility for his actions. Kendo would be ideal for people who wish to get stronger in spirit, quicker in action, and gentler in life preservation. Above all things, however, kendo comes from the heart.

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