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  • Kendo/Kumdo revisited

    To continue on with a train of thought I had and not to hi-jack the other thread, I would like to clear up some things. Im not trying to be an elitist when it comes to Kendo, however I have read things that lead me to believe that Kendo and Kumdo are not the same.

    1st is this statement from http://www.kendoacademy.com/usa/whatkum.htm:

    Kumdo is an ancient form of martial art with its origins in Korea.

    That is not the Kendo that I know.

    2nd, the terminology and language. There were recent threads about Japanese language and the different terminology used. In the Kendo community, we use the Japanese terms and language, in Kumdo it is Korean. No other countries that practice Kendo change and use their own language, and those that do Kumdo are expected to use the Korean terms. This again points to Kumdo not being the same as Kendo.

    I have no animosity towards Kumdo or its practitioners. I know there are many very talented people out there doing Kumdo that would kick my ass. My point is I do not believe they are the same thing. They may have the same goals, the same equipment, and have the same motivations, but the Kumdo community itself has separated Kumdo from Kendo.

    Taking the side of my Sensei and many in the Kendo community, I am of the opinion that Kendo does not belong in the Olympics for many reasons, that is why I made the statement about getting Kumdo into the Olympics. Now if there are Kumdo practitioners out there who wouldnt want to see Kumdo in the Olympics for some of the same reasons (the sporting aspects takes away the budo aspect or not wanting to hand the governing body over to the Olympics), then I would also support that. But according to the Black Ship article, it seems like Korea is keen on having Kendo in the Olympics. So we could actually have a sport in the Olympics that is very close to Kendo, that Kendo practitioners who are into the sport/winning aspect, can participate in.

  • #2
    Well, you are right, they are not exactly the same. But if they were so different, you wouldn't see kendo and kumdo practictioners participating in the same tournament.

    To me, its just a waste of time debating and arguing about the differences. Who cares where someone thinks it originated. Its here today and thats all we have to worry about.

    I think the only thing we should care about are Mcdojos when people start calling something kendo/kumdo and it clearly isn't. Then we can say, "this is different from kendo/kumdo".

    But im my opinion. Kendo = Kumdo And I dont care about the differences.

    Comment


    • #3
      I think it's a mistake to characterise kumdo as only having one singular take on things. There are certainly organisations that are more sporting, but there are also other places that seem very kendo-ish, such as where Ahmed trains (from what I've seen). It seems a little simplistic to tar everyone with the same brush.
      And besides, a bunch of old guys saying that kendo isn't a sport doesn't make it so if most people practicing see it as one (which I believe they do).

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by kurisu View Post
        1st is this statement from http://www.kendoacademy.com/usa/whatkum.htm:

        “Kumdo is an ancient form of martial art with its origins in Korea.”

        That is not the Kendo that I know.

        2nd, the terminology and language. There were recent threads about Japanese language and the different terminology used. In the Kendo community, we use the Japanese terms and language, in Kumdo it is Korean. No other countries that practice Kendo change and use their own language, and those that do Kumdo are expected to use the Korean terms. This again points to Kumdo not being the same as Kendo.

        I have no animosity towards Kumdo or it’s practitioners. I know there are many very talented people out there doing Kumdo that would kick my ass. My point is I do not believe they are the same thing. They may have the same goals, the same equipment, and have the same motivations, but the Kumdo community itself has separated Kumdo from Kendo.

        Taking the side of my Sensei and many in the Kendo community, I am of the opinion that Kendo does not belong in the Olympics for many reasons, that is why I made the statement about getting Kumdo into the Olympics. Now if there are Kumdo practitioners out there who wouldn’t want to see Kumdo in the Olympics for some of the same reasons (the sporting aspects takes away the budo aspect or not wanting to hand the governing body over to the Olympics), then I would also support that. But according to the Black Ship article, it seems like Korea is keen on having Kendo in the Olympics. So we could actually have a “sport” in the Olympics that is very close to Kendo, that Kendo practitioners who are into the sport/winning aspect, can participate in.

        Kurisu,

        You need to broaden your reading.

        First, I'd say the "way of the sword" probably had its origins in China, not Korea. Don't get too wrapped around the axle over what one website says. It's there for marketing purposes, not present as scholarly research.

        By the way, what kendo do you do? Introduce yourself.

        Second, I know American senseis of Kendo (not Kumdo) who will use a lot of English terms (wrist instead of kote, head, instead of men, and so on) to assist beginners assimilate and learn - do you think they are not practicing kendo? Also, I've heard some really badly pronounced Japanese - is that not kendo, then?

        Lastly, I'm not sure why you feel that kumdo people want to see it in the Olympics? Vast majority of the kumdo community does not want to see kumdo/kendo in the Olympics. Alex is writing about one splinter organization, WKA, which is not the mainstream and for all intents and purposes, can be ignored. KKA doesn't say a lot about it officially, (as AJKF and FIK doesn't say a lot about it officially), but I have not yet met a single kumdo practioner who wants to see kumdo/kendo in the OIympics. It's just not a big issue for the KKA. A lot don't even follow the WKC. Alex has been very responsive - if you have questions about his article, you should PM him.

        I belong to both a kumdo dojang and a kendo club - they are the same, with minor stylistic differences which one would expect between any two senseis. If you have the opportunity, you should go practice with a legit kumdo dojang and see for yourself.
        Last edited by johnkichu; 12th January 2007, 09:38 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Sorry, there's very little doubt that the above 'origins' of kumdo are heavily revisionist.
          Further, the only non-Japanese teacher I've ever met that did not consistently use Japanese terminology when naming techniques, was Korean.

          Comment


          • #6
            Could we maybe just agree that it originated in Taiwan?

            Comment


            • #7
              Why is this thread in FLAMES? Is this upsetting to you?

              This comes down to personal beliefs. If you believe kumdo and kendo are different - so be it. My only advise is to be open minded and broaden your knowledge base.

              At any rate, practice hard and sincerely, and have fun.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by johnkichu View Post
                Why is this thread in FLAMES? Is this upsetting to you?

                This comes down to personal beliefs. If you believe kumdo and kendo are different - so be it. My only advise is to be open minded and broaden your knowledge base.
                I put it here because it's a bit controversial and I felt it might someone might be offended by it, so I thought this would be the appropriate place for it.

                As for the introduction, theres not much to say, Im non-ranked and into my 5th year of Kendo, a mere beginner and as such, heavily influenced by my Sensei and other higher ranking Sensei I have had the opportunity to practice with.

                I live in Seattle and regularly practice at 3 dojo in the area and make an occasional visit to one other. Ive never had the opportunity to practice at a Kumdo dojang but I have had the opportunity to fight with a few Kumdo people, and they definitely are doing the same thing we are doing, but not hearing them kiai with men or kote is a little weird for me when receiving strikes from them while Im playing motodachi.

                As for broadening my knowledge, there have been more than one site that I have been to that promotes Kumdo as being something different than Kendo, the link I posted was just the latest one I been to.

                Originally posted by johnkichu View Post
                At any rate, practice hard and sincerely, and have fun.
                Most definitely!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Nanbanjin View Post
                  Could we maybe just agree that it originated in Taiwan?
                  HAHA. You know, one taiwanese dojo website i visited does say that kendo originiated in china but has become a japanese national art. Which i guess is some what true, since, dao (do) is a chinese philosphy. It even went on to site the term jiandao (Kendo) used in ancient chinese books, dating back to over 3000 years. But then again, they use dao (do) for a lot of stuff, since, it does just mean 'the way'. A lot of westerners think too much into the mystical meanings behind chinese characters when most of the time chinese people just use the characters like how alphabets are used.

                  And for people out there who doesn't understand Korean and Japanese languages. More often than not, the words are based off CHINESE CHARACTERS, especially kendo stuff. They may SOUND different to you, like kendo and kumdo. Guess what, they are THE SAME WORDS. So stop talking about those minor differences. You go to Taiwan, Hong Kong or different regions of China, guess what. They'll say the techniques in their OWN dialague too while they're all based off the same chinese characters. Taiwanese, Cantonese, Mandarin, whatever. But, they are still the same words. It's like talking about Canadians pronounce 'about' like 'aboot' and saying they're different words.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Shazzanzzz View Post
                    And for people out there who doesn't understand Korean and Japanese languages. More often than not, the words are based off CHINESE CHARACTERS, especially kendo stuff. They may SOUND different to you, like kendo and kumdo. Guess what, they are THE SAME WORDS. So stop talking about those minor differences. You go to Taiwan, Hong Kong or different regions of China, guess what. They'll say the techniques in their OWN dialague too while they're all based off the same chinese characters. Taiwanese, Cantonese, Mandarin, whatever. But, they are still the same words. It's like talking about Canadians pronounce 'about' like 'aboot' and saying they're different words.
                    True - if there is Chinese character for it, it's a Chinese word.

                    Speaking of Chinese characters - doesn the character for kum/ken, 劍,actually refer to the double bladed sword, and there is another character (do - but not the "way" do) which refers to the single bladed sword?

                    Also, since the term kumdo/kendo (劍道) was never trademarked or copyrighted, anyone who teaches any sword art can use it - to the chagrin was many in this forum.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by JSchmidt View Post
                      Sorry, there's very little doubt that the above 'origins' of kumdo are heavily revisionist.
                      Further, the only non-Japanese teacher I've ever met that did not consistently use Japanese terminology when naming techniques, was Korean.
                      believe it or not, when i was growing up in korea, saying thing in japanese were rather considered bad manner. saying things in english was also consider something that we shouldn't do. there was big movement toward nationalism. some of my father's friends were actually told by their fathers not to mention anything about japan in their house. i think some of that still carries over to today. but i do see things changing. i actually saw a korean tv show where actors were speaking in japanese... which was almost something never heard of when i was growing up in korea.

                      as someone said 'shit happens', or happened over 100 yrs ago and that still carries over to today.. as long as we know we are practicing kendo, and that kendo came from japan.. what does it matter?

                      i think almost everything came to korea and japan from china. other than kimchee.. KIMCHEE'S OURS!

                      pete

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by kurisu View Post
                        but not hearing them kiai with men or kote is a little weird for me when receiving strikes from them while Im playing motodachi.

                        As for broadening my knowledge, there have been more than one site that I have been to that promotes Kumdo as being something different than Kendo, the link I posted was just the latest one I been to.
                        My kiai isn't "men" or "kote" or "do" or "muri" or "sonmok" or "huri." Probably because of my TKD background, my kiai is simply a yell. Neither my kumdo mates or kendo mates seem to mind or notice.

                        There are many websites - many are filled with nationalistic fervor, both Korean and Japanes. My guess is that over time, you will be able to see through them, as you become more experienced.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by bullet08 View Post
                          i think almost everything came to korea and japan from china. other than kimchee.. KIMCHEE'S OURS!
                          There's even debate over kimchee! And there is a kimchee R&D lab in Japan, which is busy filing patents over minor variations of kimchee, most of which already exist in Korea - who knows, maybe the Japanese will claim that kimchee is theirs one day.

                          I didn't know this, but the red pepper is not indigenous to Korea, and neither is garlic. Both were introduced by westerners (Portugese?). Wow - Korean cuisine must have been really different 1000 years ago.

                          Anyway, getting back to kimchee - there is what looks like white kimchee in Chinese cuisine, and that's probably where the Koreans got it. Koreans did, however, "invent" today's kimchee when they decided to put red pepper in it.
                          Last edited by johnkichu; 12th January 2007, 11:47 PM. Reason: completeness

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by johnkichu View Post
                            True - if there is Chinese character for it, it's a Chinese word.
                            That's an over-simplification. Japanese people combine the Chinese characters in different ways. Sometimes they mean the same thing, other times not. Show the average chinese person the characters for kendo and they'll translate it as "knife road".

                            As far as tracing the history of kendo back to Korea, China or wherever... just complete crap. If you read any realistic history of kendo (and the one I put in the JSA FAQ is in drastic need of revision BTW), you will see that most of the way we do things now is down to quite recent events, within the last century or so and driven in large part by Japanese and American regulation/bureaucracy.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Neil Gendzwill View Post
                              That's an over-simplification. Japanese people combine the Chinese characters in different ways. Sometimes they mean the same thing, other times not. Show the average chinese person the characters for kendo and they'll translate it as "knife road".

                              As far as tracing the history of kendo back to Korea, China or wherever... just complete crap. If you read any realistic history of kendo (and the one I put in the JSA FAQ is in drastic need of revision BTW), you will see that most of the way we do things now is down to quite recent events, within the last century or so and driven in large part by Japanese and American regulation/bureaucracy.
                              I did say "way of the sword" not kendo, when I made statement about tracing it back to China. And you are absolutely right - kendo that we know today is relatively modern, and ties to samurais and the actual fighting (killing) arts are getting more and more tenuous. I just read COMPLETE KENDO, by John Donahue, and he does a good job detailing it.

                              I'm sure there are 100% native Japanese words which cannot be written in Chinese (as there are native Korean words which cannot be written in Chinese - Seoul is a good example), but kendo isn't one of them. 劍道 is unmodified Chinese characters.
                              Last edited by johnkichu; 12th January 2007, 11:59 PM. Reason: fix typo

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