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What is kendo about?

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  • What is kendo about?

    Sorry if this seems stupid and hope it doen't offend any one but after four years of doing kendo I still can't make out the point of it...
    I'm always moving back and forth between kendo being budo and kendo being a sport.
    I know that every one likes to think of kendo as a budo, a kind of link to the samurai and way to use the katana but is the really true?

    People seem to be mixed up as to whether kendo is a win loose game or if loosing actually helps you.

    Every ones sensei always tells us to 'cut big!!' but in shiai and keiko this kind of style forces you into a disadvantage.

    In the all Japan kendo championships all of the none police were knocked out and I really think this is because the police are 100% into kendo to win.

    Can we really have it both ways, the art of kendo and the sport and winning of shiai and honestly speaking is the latter any benefit at all? Or are we all doing our selves a big disadvantage in this way of thinking?[/B]

  • #2
    "Every ones sensei always tells us to 'cut big!!' but in shiai and keiko this kind of style forces you into a disadvantage. "

    There are people out there who win at shiai using big, straight, beautiful waza. Those are the people I admire and try to emulate. Those are the ones who really inspire and show that kendo can be budo, even at shiai. Of course they have been practicing for 20+ years, but they still maintain the ideal in kendo form and still win at the same time. Amazing...

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Musha
      In the all Japan kendo championships all of the none police were knocked out and I really think this is because the police are 100% into kendo to win.
      [/B]
      I can't really answer the topic, but I can answer this. Mainly a policeman/woman faces life and death situation anytime, anyday. They are trained to be very focus and alert in their surroundings. I don't really agree with them being 100% into kendo to win, but more of like thinking "either you die or I die and I choose to live".

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      • #4
        The police thing is because their job is to practice kendo... and sometimes walk a beat to look like they have other real work... jealous?

        Mushi, question for you now... you've been doing this for 4 years and you are still unsure as to how you wish to intrepret kendo's purpose... does it matter what others think... everyone will find their own meaning to it, which is why this sport/budo debate is alive... if you are looking for other people to help you through this, is this a sign that you are losing interest or just you like to debate things out... because ultimately everyone else's reasons are going to be different and really not matter, what matters is that you find a purpose to what you do and work towards that end... so... what do you think? Take this as a rhetorical or real question, it doesn't matter to me as long as you find meaning in what you do...



        The pessimist says the glass is half empty, the optimist says the glass is half full, the engineer says the glass is too big...

        Point of view... what matters to you?

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        • #5
          Whether or not Kendo is a sport or a budo depends on your own views of Kendo and how your sensei teaches it to you. Some sensei teach the best ways to get points and others encourage understanding the deeper aspects of Kendo and the points will come.

          I believe that Kendo has both aspects of budo and sport. The sport part is learning of the best ways to get points by doing various waza and the budo part is actually understanding the techniques that you are doing and performing the kata. Both of these aspects coexist in Kendo, but Kendo wouldn't be the same if one of these aspects were missing.

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          • #6
            sport n.
            1. a. Physical activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often engaged in competitively.
            b. A particular form of this activity.

            2. An activity involving physical exertion and skill that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often undertaken competitively.
            3. An active pastime; recreation.

            So I'd say kendo is a sport.

            Budo - The way of war. The way of Figthing(figther)

            So I'd say kendo was Budo

            Simply put if we see budo as it is, the way of war/figthing/the figther, kendo does not classify as budo. Figthing/war is something that is not beautifull, it is dirty and hopefully effective.
            I think the problem with budo is that it has been romantisized(sp?) as something that is mystical and involves a lot of philysofical elements. And is often confused with Bushido.
            So I would say Kendo has surpassed the budo stage like Aikido,Iaido, Wushu, JuiJitsu (this one is doudfull) and a lot of other martial arts.
            Because they have become beautifull and less effective in the battlefield.
            IMHO kendo not being budo anymore compliments it's beauty.

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            • #7
              Am asking this because the way I do things usually sticks to some kind of path on the way to an aim and the little things in between that build up to that aim.

              For one year I was working towards ikkyu trying to get good form and good men cuts etc. Then I did the same for shodan but a bit more.
              I couldn't take nidan for a year so I started working on seme and getting valid points and understanding shiai.
              Then I had to move to a new dojo that forced me into pure form and when I got back to the old dojo I was a weak on the seme and thing again.

              The thing is, a really like the budo aspect of things and am at working on how to use a real sword. But if I think of this the reason I started kendo for the challenge of testing my skills slips away.

              I also find that different clubs force you into things like shiai and grading and the budo side of it.
              My first club I now realize was pure budo, the teacher had being practicing kendo in England for an extremely long time and he and most of the others at the club never went in for grading.
              The other club in England was half-way and now in Japan is halfway but towards the shiai and grading side of things.
              Now the last dojo I went to was back to the start again and really messed my head up again.

              The real think I wanted to get at was what other people thought about kendo. Not I do it for the fun of it thing more what is you aim for doing kendo. If you did not care I don't think more people here would really try so hard i'm trying to think of what people in the back of there minds are thinking when they step out the door to do kendo and come back to bed or go to the bar after .

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              • #8
                I do kendo because it is something that has no end. What I mean is that it is not something that has a trick to it which you learn and once you've learned it the only thing that holds you back is physical. Like athletics or soccer etc.
                In a way kendo is eternal.

                It's the same thing why I love being a software engineer. The field is ever changing and there is no trick, just understanding.

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                • #9
                  i approach kendo as budo.

                  it's not exactly a sports. nor is it 'way of fighting'. if it matters, the 'do' indicates that this is about 'way' to self cultivation, and not skill set for specific task. if this was skill set for actual fighting, it would be 'bujitsu' or more 'kenjitsu'.

                  during the turn of last century, there was no further need for all the skill set for actual fighting, so lot of japanese martial skills turned into 'martial way' or budo. it's all about self cultivation. in same way the flower arrangement, and golf is taken by some of the people in japan, and other countries.

                  shiai is just a part of that whole concept of finding out something about one-self. it will let you know how you are progressing, and how you handle yourself in given situatiion.

                  so far, kendo hasn't gone all the way that judo or TKD has gone to be a 'sports'.

                  back 25 yrs ago when i studied TKD in korea, i think i wouldn't have any issue saying TKD is a martial art. now.. hmm.. i can't really say that with straight face.

                  pete

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Ipp-on Ipp-off
                    It's the same thing why I love being a software engineer. The field is ever changing and there is no trick, just understanding.
                    You lie!!!!!! Please....... tell me you lie!!!!!!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by shred_lord
                      You lie!!!!!! Please....... tell me you lie!!!!!!
                      Uh let me check my resume.....
                      Yeah it's there I must be lying

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                      • #12
                        My sensei always emphasize of big swing, beautiful Kendo and I like that idea. To me, Kendo is like life which I want to live on straight path, no short cut, no cheating. A cut is a cut, not a tap. I will practice as long as it needs to have a beautiful perfect cut that I am going to be proud of. Budo or Sport, it doesn't matter to me.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by bullet08

                          back 25 yrs ago when i studied TKD in korea, i think i wouldn't have any issue saying TKD is a martial art. now.. hmm.. i can't really say that with straight face.

                          pete
                          Pete,

                          Where did you study TKD in Korea? I practiced in Seoul about that time at the gym in Yongsan.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by jimswanson
                            Pete,

                            Where did you study TKD in Korea? I practiced in Seoul about that time at the gym in Yongsan.
                            in seoul, gangnam.. that was back in '79. and at my elementry school.

                            i graduated elementry school, and was going to go to local jhs.. that jhs school from my understanding had very good kumdo team, and i wanted to join the team.. then i came to US and had to wait 25 yrs to really start the kendo..

                            pete

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                            • #15
                              As a student of judo as well as kendo, the distinction between budo and sport lies very much in how the sensei transmits it, and how the student recieves it. My sensei presents kendo, as well as iaido, in budo principles, which is to say, we learn them as principles of swordsmanship, not point scoring. However, he fully supports the competetive side of kendo which could be argued as being the sports-oriented aspect. One must consider, however, that the act of travelling to tournaments to compete is very much in the budo spirit of musha shugyo, the martial travelling that swordsmen would undertake seeking teachings of challenges.

                              What's the point of kendo? Well, that would greatly depend upon the kendoka.

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