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"San-do" - Faster or Slower progress?

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  • "San-do" - Faster or Slower progress?

    Hi everyone,

    I've been practicing Kendo, Iaido and Jodo (which makes for "San-do") for as long as I've been practicing (since 2004 approx.).
    Having recently participated in International Kendo Taikai, I've started to wonder - does practicing all three arts really contributing as I've always felt, or is it perhaps hurtful for my individual progress in each art?

    I know Shiai should not serve as a measurement for my Kendo level, but I can't help but feel that had I spent all my time solely on Kendo I might have had better results.
    Of course that dropping Iai and Jo wouldn't mean practicing Kendo in that time instead, since there is no practice at that time in most cases - but even adding one more practice a week could be helpful - but on the expense of Iaido and Jodo? I can't help but wonder.

    What is your take on the matter? Do you feel Iaido and/or Jodo help improve your Kendo, or slow it down?

  • #2
    Hi Kanoken,

    Well, I think you're asking a much more complicated question. I've tended to find that performance during shiai isn't always so straight forward.

    How often do you practice Kendo? How often do you compete in shiai? Does your dojo focus on shiai? What is your competitive mindset on the day of shiai? Which is more important to you personally, winning a point or executing the best waza?


    • #3


      • #4
        Since you've been at all three longer than I have to wonder if what I say below isn't already well known to you. Anyway, here goes...

        I also practice all three but picked them up overtime. Sometime after I passed shodan in kendo I started iaido. Then soon after I passed shodan in iaido I started jodo.

        At the moment I keep them separate in my mind. Nevertheless, what one learns in one art does carry over to the other two. Because of my progression route, I got up to speed quicker in iaido than someone who never did any budo before and similarly I'm finding that many things in jodo come almost naturally having already done 4 years of kendo and 2 years of iaido before. I didn't need to be hounded about keeping my back straight during a strike in jodo for example (having been beaten over the head so many times about it in the other two arts). Jodo nihomme suigetsu employs a movement with the left arm that's a lot like sayabiki in iai. And it will be used again with any katate techniques in kendo though with kendo the striking arm is usually the left. Iai has improve my posture in kendo and helped me learn to move with my koshi. Jodo has taught me a wider range of movements that could later in my kendo life be used (still going straight at the moment). My sensei said he couldn't have passed 7-dan at the time he did without having learned jodo. I haven't gotten the story exactly why this is but generally jodo improves a kendoist's sense of maai and jodo kata can teach a lot about tame.

        So in a nutshell, I learn all three arts because they're all interesting and contribute to a fuller view of budo, how to use a sword, how to move, etc. I do not see iai and jodo directly contributing to my shiai performance in kendo but does improve how I move which benefits my kendo. However, I've never been one who really cared all that much about shiai results other than that I did the best I can and tried to perform my best kendo within the stressful situation of shiai. If I lose a shiai then I can see where my kendo has weaknesses that I can improve on. If I win, those things are a bit harder to see.

        While I don't want to say that daily kendo should be different from shiai kendo, from what I've seen those who do well in shiai have a certain hunger. This can be a good thing as it can drive daily kendo forward if taken in the right way (it's kind of like cholesterol, there's the good kind and the bad kind). At its best I would say shiai kendo is simply correct kendo with sharpness and determination. That is something that has to be worked on with each and every single strike one makes in keiko.

        Just my humble 2yen


        • #5
          The perception of progress is going to depend a lot on what your personal goals are in all three arts, which can blossom into the methods in practice, thought process during practice and even what dojo you go to and what their focus is in each art. Personally, I think that doing multiple arts can help augment one's understanding of all the arts that they are doing. And since Kendo, Iaido and Jodo are under the same umbrella, it's a bit easier to see that than someone who is doing Kendo and Tae Kwon Do, for example.

          I started Kendo in 2003 and then began Iaido in 2008 when I moved to Cincinnati and I'm seeing the benefits of doing both at the same time. The biggest thing I noticed is that, the mistakes that I am making in one art actually transfers to the other art while being approached at a different angle. Heck, my Iaido instructor tends to link concepts of Kendo into the Iaido lesson, which rubbed off on me so that I can link the Iaido concepts to Kendo to give people a better understanding of what they are doing.


          • #6
            If you want to win more at shiai, practice more shiai. That's just an obvious observation, and whatever else you are doing will have a much lesser effect on your shiai.

            Having said that, consider that you can't practice shiai more often, so your iai and jo practices given up will not give you any more shiai practice time. The question then becomes "does iai and jo hinder or help my shiai?"

            I assume the answer would be that it doesn't hurt, and might actually help (consider them as suburi practice) so carry on as before until you can convince someone to practice shiai more often.

            Sport-specific practice is always better than practice that is less directly related, and more practice is more practice. On the other hand, most other sports will help with general fitness levels, and usually don't directly interfere with any other sport. Think along the lines of: Bicycling in the off season can help speed skating and, while it doesn't usually help running directly, it doesn't hurt, although more running instead of cycling is better.



            • #7
              It depends:


              • #8
                I agree with the others. It probably is hindering your performance in shiai.

                But so what! Dude, you're practicing three arts! Awesome!


                • #9
                  Thanks rfoxmich for the link - great!
                  As mentioned, shiai needs sharpness; and a certain desire to win; thus, shiai needs shiai practice/training.
                  As for Iai, some Japanese police kendoka believe Iaido strengthens their Kendo. It seems the advantage of doing both is using a katana, whether "mogitoh" or unsharpened blade or count-your-fingers-after-"noto" one, helps keep in mind the shinai came from the katana so strike as if really cutting. Iai definitely helped my posture and "presence" or "ki" when doing Kendo kata.


                  • #10
                    Nakanishi Sensei had 9th dan in Kendo, Iaido, and Jodo. It seems nothing hindered him in such amazing achievements.