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Why kendo?

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  • Why kendo?

    Why did people pick kendo as something to study?

    I think I've personally run across a few reasons, so I'll pose this question to the forum.

    For Japanese it could be a school thing, or it's part of a job requirement.

    For Westerners... hmm. I've heard a few: General interest in swords. Interest in Japan. Interest in Martial Arts or getting fit. Or my favourites; it was seen in a movie or documentary or in anime or some other info/entertainment media. Or even a combination, like myself.

    I briefly considered Tai Chi as my friend trains with a chinese straight sword, but it would have taken me too long to get to that level of development.

    Personally, I walked past sensei's travel agency when I was in high school for about 2 years and he had a manaquin in the window with the bogu on, and I thought it looked kind of cool. But I could not afford it.

    It was only in 2nd year Uni that I actually wrote down number and called in... incidentally this was right after the release of Star Wars Ep1, and I do watch anime on occasion - though I had not seen any good samurai themed ones or any live action samurai movies.

    In any case it was a combind interest in learning how to use a sword in a martial sense, rather than a purely sporting sense... and I had stars in my eyes.

    So, how/why did people here get started?

  • #2
    For the sake of Kendo, really. i've got no specific reasons.


    • #3
      yeah, that's what keeps me learning, but something had to spark the interest, don't you think?


      • #4
        Why Kendo

        One of the main reason's I started Kendo was, because I did Judo and damaged my knees. I then saw the National Geographic Documentary about the eight Dan grading in Kyoto and it interested me. Luckly there was a Dojo about five minutes from my house.

        I actually got to train at the Dojo from the Documentary In February which was really somthing. It was like a pilgrimage.


        • #5
          I kind of liked the idea of making a lot of noise while getting to hit someone with a substitute for a sword. And not causing actual damage, of course.


          • #6
            Hey Boso,

            We're not HITTING people, nor HURTING people, but KILLING them with a sword!

            Umm, actually this is what I doubt. As we are supposed to be killing each other out (okay, the "without causing actual damage" part is right), Kendo should be very violence!?

            What attitude should you have when you're fighting? (Obviously I was often referred to as being too agressive, although I'm not a hard men-cutter.)



            • #7
              Hmmm I think some guy once said <the true way is just to kill your enemy>Miyamoto Mushashi?..Which is why sword dancing<kendo>
              does not cut it for me, sorry about the pun.

              The glimpie One

              Hey hamish, alex.. bet ya know who this is from!!

              Kisses and cuddles


              • #8
                Yeah but, I wonder if you've ever actually met Miyamoto Musashi. He sounds like a psychotic murderer to me. But, if you want to take his advice why don't you just go out a kill someone, and see where that 'way' takes you nowadays. It's not the 16th/17th century any more, but some romantic disillusioned dills still have erotic fantasies of the joy of hacking somebody's head off, and imagining that they are real samyuuraiz. I think I'll stick to sword dancing. It's a lot more healthy for everyone concerned. If I ever do have to go to war, I'll take an Uzi and a few grenades.

                Hi Dean?


                • #9
                  For me is important that when I practice kendo I have to confess to myself that I have many shortcomings. So kendo is honest mirror to watch my reflection.



                  • #10
                    Does anyone else remember a book called "Rules of the Game"? Produced in the 70s, it was a compendium of (not quite all) world sports and their basic rules. Had lots of exotic sports like korfball and jai alai, as well as every class of sailing. It even differenciated between American and Canadian football (? )
                    I think that's where I first saw kendo. But for the life of me I can't remember how I finally came to be in a dojo doing it.
                    It's like I've always done it.
                    I think Star Wars (ep iv) is partly to blame.
                    The Book of Five Rings soon followed.
                    And Frank Miller's "Ronin"
                    Then all Kurosawa's jidai-geki films.
                    Then DT Suzuki.
                    Then Takuan Soho.
                    Then Kagoshima Chuo Keisatsu Budokan.
                    And my first bogu.
                    Then endless tenegui designs.
                    Then competition.
                    Then Makahannyaharamitashingyo.
                    Then teaching...


                    • #11
                      Hmmnnn....I think it was watching this ultra violent samurai flick called Lone Wolf and Cub. Lots of cool sword fights etc. Then came Kurosawa films.

                      Then I happened across Eiji Yoshikawa's book Musashi and I was hooked.

                      Didn't really kick in until Uni when one of my japanese friends (who was teaching our club) asked me to check out Kendo. After a year I kinda got lazy but I started again and am going full on.


                      • #12
                        I first found Kendo through my partner, who did Kendo as part of Bukatsu when she was an exchange student. Then, when we travelled through Japan and visited her old town, we went and visited the Kendo club. After that, I was hooked.


                        • #13
                          Primarily three reasons. One, as a former collegiate wrestler, I missed the one-on-one competition. Kendo does a good job of reproducing this level of competition, although without the physical strenuousness (and levels of injury that accompany it) that I found in Judo, and the other 'competitive' martial arts.

                          Two, after wrestling and playing judo for so long, I particularly wanted to learn swordsmanship or some other weapon system. Iaido/kendo was taught at my university and all the other arts I investigated (tai chi, karate, aikido, etc.) wanted me to practice for many years before teaching weapons, and even then it was clear weapons were a distant cousin to the weapon-less forms.

                          Lastly, I was drawn to the inherent focus on spirituality in iaido and kendo. After twenty years of doing something for 'sport', or as I see it, for external purposes (i.e. winning and other visible achievements), I wanted and still want something with more personal meaning and more akin to a way of life.

                          That is why I got into it in the first place. However, as so many respondents have said, those initial needs/reasons have faded and now I am just in it for the 'kendo'. It fills that spot in my life.


                          • #14
                            I CAN ADMIT THIS!!

                            I'm going to go ahead and dig my own grave.

                            I originally got interested in Kendo after reading Hagakure. It made me think. I wasn't some idiot though, I knew I wasn't going to be commiting seppuku or chopping heads off (a la whoever posted this, THANK YOU! It was good for some latenight laughs!)

                            Then I saw Rurouni Kenshin the anime and I thought "well, I've been thinking about Kendo, why not go ahead with it. I want to learn about discipline etc." And no, I didn't expect to be doing the Ryu Tsui Sen. I have half a brain.

                            I then read "Gorin No Sho" and I became really interested. I have always been very idealistic and societal (and a visonary), and I thought to myself that Kendo would be the perfect road to self-improvement. I began to realize and seek self-discipline through Kendo.

                            I e-mailed Shindogakuin to find out about class. I went to watch a class one day, and my father and I were totally engossed by it. I bought my shinai and signed up excitedly.

                            I have come to greatly appreciate all that kendo has taught me about myself, and its gone from a meager interest to a lifetime of work and improvement, all with great and ardent effort.



                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Alex
                              It's not the 16th/17th century any more, but some romantic disillusioned dills still have erotic fantasies of the joy of hacking somebody's head off, and imagining that they are real samyuuraiz. I think I'll stick to sword dancing. It's a lot more healthy for everyone concerned. If I ever do have to go to war, I'll take an Uzi and a few grenades.
                              Amen to that. i have a buddy in the marines, and from what i've seen of him, killing people can do nasty things to your psyche, even if you're doing it in war, not as part of some already bizarre idealistic crusade to prove your skill with a sword. Though that kind of activity was beneficial to society several hundred years ago, I'd like to think that our institutions have progressed to a point where the safety of t he average citizen is ensured by laws rather than the brute force of a single sword.

                              all this is pretty prattle. it comes down to this: i don't study kendou to injure other people. it seems rather counterproductive. i study kendou because it is beautiful. That seems like an odd reason compared to the other ones in this thread, but it's my reason.