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kenjutsu vs kendo?

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  • kenjutsu vs kendo?

    I'm not practising kendo myself but I'm interested in japanese martial arts and I was wondering what kendoka think of kenjutsu techniques?
    According to you, is kendo only a "sport-fashion degeneration" of kenjutsu or did it take the best of the different ryu existing at the time to be a modern continuity of them?

    The reason why I ask this question is because I have in mind the precedent of judo who has been adapted to be closer to wrestling than to original judo created by Kano Jigoro. But I don't know the world of kendo so I need some opinions to clear my mind.

    I hope I won't be misunderstood, I don't try to denigrate your art, I just want to clear up things for myself.

  • #2
    I don't think anyone here would regard kendo as a "degeneration" of anything, otherwise we probably wouldn't do it. Kendo allows a kind of practice which kenjutsu does not, and that is "jigeiko" or free-sparring. This means applying a small number of (yet infinitely variable) techniques in real time against an opponent who is trying to apply the same techniques against you. As a result "maai" (timing/distance) becomes a live and dynamic concept, rather than something you rehearse.

    Of course all the while you are trying to maintain the concept of the shinai being a cutting instrument, not a hitting instrument, which is the reason kendo takes so long to master. Modern kendo also marries well with kenjutsu and other koryu practice. The one does not 'ruin' you for the other.

    It does not have to be an "either/or" proposition.



    • #3
      Hi Kingu, and welcome.

      There should be a bigger French population in this forum... when you look at the site statistics... anyway...

      Don't know if you asked because Kenjijsu is what you practice...? In weapon arts, everything you had is about distance and timing, right? Main difference is that Kenjijsu allows cuts all over (no, actually the more lethal parts), but Kendo is limited to the targets. But to a serious Kendoka, they are less concern with winning points but rather development of skill, so I guess Sports Kendo is not what they'll be aiming for. Check out all the 8th Dan and you'll see.

      IMHO Kendo is the inevitable historical progression of Kenjijsu, and as a result Kendo has become part of it... Now you have the option of doing either one, or taking both to get the fullest picture of its history.

      Originally posted by ben
      The one does not 'ruin' you for the other.
      Kenjijsu "ruined" my Kendo footwork!! Arghhhh~


      • #4
        Thank you for your answers Ben and Mingshi.

        In fact I intend to start kendo after a little experience in aikido.

        I'm attracted by the fact of being engaged in "fighting conditions" who gives a concrete aspect to practice; but after seeing one training session I was wondering how far (or close) from original kenjutsu kendo was. As you pointed the fact of being unable to target all lethal parts (why not cutting under the wrists?) was a surprise for me. Also, where these footworks are coming from?

        Though, is it possible for someone who has a strong level in a kenjutsu ryu (not talking of me ) to apply his learning in kendo?

        I must admit my knowledge about kenjutsu is very limited and my level in "aiki-kenjutsu" is probably even more. However, I'd like to improve it, do you know where I could get informations on the relations between kendo and the different styles of kenjutsu?

        PS: I guess that if there are so few Frenchmen in this forum, it's probably because we're not very good at English.


        • #5
          i train aikido and iaido too, and inevitably you tend to mix techniques from one martial art to the other unintentionally. it could be a problem or an advantage, depending on a lot of things.

          now. this is a short insight on kendo and kenjutsu and it's differences to other martial arts:

          mingshi is right, there should be more french around here, considering that, perhaps france has the largest number of kenshi here in europe.



          • #6
            don't forget your resident Frog : ME !!!!
            i was one of the early ones on this forum, back in the good old days. OK, I live in London, but i am still French. I tend to avoid raising the subject after Confounds 'jokes' on my level of English.
            i suppose the reason there are not many French people here are: some of us lack the knowledge of English to join, and probably don't even know (or care) about this forum...


            • #7
              I have never said anything about your English, Antonin, I've only suggested that you do a bit of background reading before flinging muck on me.



              • #8
                One another Frog is coming on this forum

                Jarod <------------

                Hadjimemashte !

                Well, i think French are not more stupid than others to learn English, but "Kendo World" is not popular in France, i just discovered it
                (I am not very good in English and its the fisrt time i post on an another forum than a French One, so excuse my typing

                About Kenjutsu, i dont know a lot about it but... i was thinking that Kendo was the new form of Kenjutsu ^_
                Am i totally wrong ?

                Version Franaise for Kingu and Antonin ^^

                Argh c'est horrible de devoir parler Anglais, j'ai du mal a m'exprimer
                Salut Antonin, et Salut Kingu
                Je fais du Kendo depuis septembre dernier (un dbutant quoi, 5eme Kyu). Kingu je t'encourage dbuter le Kendo, si tu veux des renseignements (en Francais lol) tu peux venir les demander sur le forum de mon Club de Nice, j ai mit l url en signature). Dans quel coin es tu ? Je peux peut etre t indiquer le club de Kendo le plus proche de chez toi.)


                • #9
                  vous etes pas un peu parano?


                  • #10
                    Pourquoi a ?


                    • #11
                      well well antonin looked so.

                      anyway you could also make fun of Confound's french, and you should tell her you practice crazy kendo.


                      • #12
                        There are many different schools of kenjutsu in Japan (sounds like an obvious sentence but...). The compatability of kenjutsu to kendo totally depends on the individual school and, just as importantly, the attitude of the soke or shihanke (head master) to modern budo. Some love kendo and do it as well. Some hate it like the devil. This attitude often colours the whole school's attitude.

                        Cuting your opponent's head in half from top to botom is a lethal cut. Cutting off the arm is maiming, only sometimes lethal. Do is probably lethal is done properly. The issue is not so much that kendo ignores "lethal points" such as the underside of the wrist or the inside of the thigh, but whether the school of kenjutsu in question is dealing with fighting an opponent wearing yoroi (full battledress) or only hakama and kimono. The pre-Tokugawa period (ie Warring States Period) schools have techniques for cutting vulnerable points according to the construction of armour, not the human body. The younger schools (1600s-to the present) tend to have more techniques against the unprotected body wearing soft clothing.



                        • #13
                          I thought I'd give some input into this subject. I have been studying kashima shinryu kenjutsu and aikido with my sensei in london for the past two years. We take our teachings from Inaba sensei at the Shiseikan Dojo - Meji Jingu.

                          If I remember correctly, the cutting techniques we practice are aimed at penetrating the opponent's armour, and yes we are allowed to attack any part of our opponent's body.

                          For example, the first basic kata (and also fundamental cutting action) kesagiri, brings the katana blade down on the opponent's neck and out the other side around the mid torso area (maybe). And if done properly would cleave him / her apart!

                          More advanced techniques also require the judging of maai and timing since the kata is done at 3 paces away from each other and both people "charge" or "launch".

                          I was privilaged to see a video of Inaba sensei last night of the kenjutsu (plus some of the more advanced techniques )
                          and I did notice that his footwork is similar that of kendo where one propels forwards with the left foot. Other things I saw was equally amazing such as getting in close to the opponent and taking them down whilst disarming them.

                          And yes kingu, I am trying to apply the kenjutsu and kendo knowledge both ways, but it seems at this early stage (especially in kendo) I have found conflicting ideas on cutting technique. But if you think about it... the two are different in its fundamentals, so if you were to "marry" them together, you must really think about which bits to use together.

                          On a historical note, I think kendo was derived from the Yagyu ryu who were in favour with the Tokugawas whilst the Kashima
                          Shinryu were not and I think were forced into exile and not allowed to practice their art.

                          Wow that's my most lengthly reply to date!

                          Must stop.



                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Marine_Boy
                            I was privilaged to see a video of Inaba sensei last night of the kenjutsu (plus some of the more advanced techniques )
                            and I did notice that his footwork is similar that of kendo where one propels forwards with the left foot. Other things I saw was equally amazing such as getting in close to the opponent and taking them down whilst disarming them.
                            But isn't the feet position in a T shape and not in the parralel form used in kendo? In all kenjutsu schools I've heard about, the feet position was the first one, I happened to think that the one used in kendo was a consequence of the sport adaptation, I guess it would have been impossible to use on a battlefield.

                            Isn't kendo derived from Itto-ryu? All I've heard or read about seemed to agree on that point.

                            And yes, I also regreted the absence of kesageri in kendo.


                            • #15
                              Kingu, the origins of kendo was acutally a guess .

                              On the position of the feet, I can definately tell you that they are not parallel as in kendo. But the starting stance has the right foot infront of the left (about half a step in front) and turned / facing out.

                              centre line
                              | /
                              | /
                              | /
                              \ |
                              \ |
                              \ |

                              But I can't really comment on the T shape you described. Perhaps I'll get back to you when I've posted that question on the e-budo forum or asked my sensei.


                              ps I don't think my diagram works well when displayed in this format...
                              Last edited by Marine_Boy; 12th March 2003, 07:43 PM.