The concept of Kendo
The concept of kendo is to discipline the human character through the application of the principles of the katana (sword).
The Purpose of Practicing Kendo
The purpose of practicing kendo is: To mold the mind and body, To cultivate a vigorous spirit, And through correct and rigid training, To strive for improvement in the art of kendo, To hold in esteem human courtesy and honour, To associate with others with sincerity, And to forever pursue the cultivation of oneself. This will make one be able: To love his/her country and society, To contribute to the development of culture, And to promote peace and prosperity among all peoples.
(1975 – All Japan Kendo Federation)
What is kendo?
Kendo, or Japanese fencing, is the art of swordsmanship. A characteristic of Japanese culture that developed from the lifestyle and spirit of the bushi social class, the samurai. Kendo is also the study of the properties of the sword, which Japanese warriors learned and acquired through the use of the sword in battle. In addition, it is important to master the spirit of the samurai beyond the properties of the sword, which is achieved through the study of swordsmanship through hard training. Therefore, the most frequently mentioned purpose of kendo is to be a pathway to personal development.
In the middle of the Edo period, bushi (warriors) mostly practiced kata (imaginary opponents, fictitious situations) with shinken (real sword) or bokuto (wooden sword imitating a real sword), but this was not effective enough in real warfare. At the same time, practising fencing with these tools was also dangerous. In the early 18th century, kendo equipment and bamboo shinai were first used as a substitute for the sword. In the mid-18th century, Chuzo Nakanishi developed and popularized fencing with the shinai in Japan.
Today, around 7 million people in Japan practice kendo. After the II. World War, kendo developed as a competitive sport and more and more people outside Japan started practising it. Today, there are nearly 1 million people practising outside Japan. In 1970, the International Kendo Federation was founded and now has 62 member countries. Every three years a world championship is held.
- By practising the basic movements of kendo, you will develop a quick, active use of your body. In particular, it improves the balance of the upper and lower body and therefore has a positive effect on the musculature of developing children.
- Kendo naturally strengthens the abdominal and back muscles needed to use the bamboo sword, allowing you to develop and maintain a truly healthy posture.
- Thanks to the use of the bamboo sword, the shoulder, elbow and wrist joints, as well as the knee joint, are flexibly loaded through the frequent use of short, quick leg movements, which is particularly important for the healthy development of children with growing skeletons. This helps prevent joint problems typical of athletes.
- Its movement culture, by presenting the practitioner with a variety of fencing situations, effectively develops the perception and correct use of distance.
- The practice of kendo teaches perseverance, persistence and tenacity in life.
- The techniques of kendo are extremely fast and sudden, so quick situational awareness and presence of mind are required when practising. In order to master these skills, it is essential to constantly strengthen self-control.
- It develops the patience and stamina needed to wait for a moment in the opponent’s movement when there is an opportunity to attack.
- Kendo is a martial art, but by practising the techniques, we can also learn the dangers of using violence. It helps us to develop a realistic self-assessment and situational awareness.
- By improving concentration, it can help improve learning ability, so children are not faced with the usual “sport or learning” dilemma.
- Since you cannot practice kendo alone, children need to learn how to cooperate and the importance of behaviour in social communication.
- Practising together teaches an attitude of respect for the opponent, because without mutual trust, we cannot improve ourselves.
- Kendo is part of Japanese and international culture. Only gradually can we understand its way of thinking, which teaches us to be flexible towards other people.