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  • #16
    Originally posted by Musha
    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. [/B]
    Why can't it be both?

    Originally posted by Musha
    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]
    That's part of the ningen shi sei isn't it?

    IMHO, deciding on what kind of kendo you want to do and how much that ippon is worth to you is very much a part of that whole self development thing.

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    • #17
      "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."

      This is one of those things where you can have both, but it is just a little bit harder, like my first example of those amazing people who can both win at shiai and do it using big waza. Form and seme can still coexist, but the learning curve to do so is just harder. Or maybe I am trying to be faithful towards something that few can obtain.

      I try and work on both aspects of sport and budo. Even when I am doing sport budo and using small waza, it is still helping my budo kendo. Example, to do effective small waza you really need to snap your wrists. The same idea is supposed to apply to your big men and will make it more effective as well. So even if I deteriorate into sport kendo for a little bit, it still helps with things that translate over to the budo kendo as well.

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      • #18
        At the recent IKF Asian Zone Shinpan Seminar, Inuoe Shigeaki (Hanshi hachidan) said that after more than 50 years of practicing kendo, he still was not sure "whether a constant focus on winning was a good or a bad thing."

        I agree with DCP. Why must it be a binary "either/or" proposition? Why can't it be "both/and"?

        Good question though Musha, and far from stupid.

        b

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        • #19
          Originally posted by nodachi
          So even if I deteriorate into sport kendo for a little bit, it still helps with things that translate over to the budo kendo as well.
          Why is "sport" kendo such a dirty word?

          Personally, I think in the same way that people talk about over-romanticing budo, people really blow the whole sport kendo thing out of proportion.

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          • #20
            I can't really answer what is Kendo about, but there is an excerpt from the Kendo Reader by Noma Hisashi that really nails it IMO

            Why Practice Kendo
            "Why do it?" Before starting any activity this is the first question that naturally comes to mind, and when one has fully satisfied oneself as to the reasons for doing it and the task is begun, not only does one feel reassured that one's efforts will not be misplaced, but one is also able to concentrate all one's strength on what is crucial for its achievement; consequently the task comes to life. Even so, if we must always be asking ourselves the question "why do it?" but embarking upon nothing until we have worked out the reasons for everything we will do, we are likely to run into problems.
            "Why was I born?", "Why should I carry on living?", "Why do I have to work?", and so on. This line of thought is not necessarily meaningless but if we try hard to seek answers to "Why do it" then our doubts and confusion will only increase, resulting in an unmanageable situation. Honen Shonin (1133-1212), founder of the Jodo sect of Buddhism, is recorded to have said, "Just continue, single-mindedly with the invocation" is a shortcut to nirvana.
            Again, surely it must be said that there can be nothing more detrimental to our endeavors than to consider as most correct our own shallow and immature ideas and to decide for ourselves all the answers to the question "Why do it?" During one's years of immaturity, one must be especially careful not to become a victim of one's own dogmatic attitude. When one's ideas and thoughts seem incomplete, seek the opinion of others or else just follow the instruction given by those who are senior to oneself; this must surely be the correct path.
            It is the same with the question "Why practice Kendo?" Because this cannot easily be answered, does one refuse to practice Kendo? Even if one inquired deeply into finding an answer to this problem one would find it a most difficulty problem to solve. Even if the problem could be partially solved, one's answer will not necessarily account for anything of real significance.
            That being said, it may be that the dwelling on this problem would in some sense serve to heighten one's perception and understanding of Kendo. Below I have related some simple examples of observations and attitudes pertaining to Kendo. Among them, I have also added some of my own thoughts on the subject and I leave it to the reader to judge their merits for themselves.

            [...]
            People practice Kendo for many different reasons. There are those who attempt to master it as Bujutsu, others practice it as a form of physical exercise, some emphasize it as a form of ascetic exercise, still others see it as sport, some simply because they enjoy it, and others because they have an interest in contest using Shinai. In general, however, it seems to be most broadly perceived to be either as a form of physical exercise or character cultivation and physical discipline.

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            • #21
              I'm not sure how well I can answer your question, but here's what I think.

              Some years ago Stroud Sensei said something that really stuck with me. Basically he said that the whole reason we do Kendo is because it gives us good feelings.

              The truth of Stroud Sensei's statement is undeniable: Nobody would practice Kendo if it only made us feel bad. But Kendo is so difficult and so frustrating at times that it left me wondering where the good feelings are supposed to come from. Here's what I've figured out so far:

              First, we get good feelings from accomplishment. We start not being able to do something, then with work and help, we can do it! That makes us feel like more capable people when we step outside the simple, straightforward setting of the dojo into the messy, complicated world.

              The second way we get good feelings from Kendo is by contributing to a positive group experience in the dojo. By trying our best with high spirits, we raise the enthusiasm level, and the spirits of everyone in the room. By trying hard to be a good partner, we can help others learn, and they can get that good feeling of accomplishment. When our Kendo friends walk out of the dojo after practice in good spirits, laughing, and with smiles on their faces, we feel good because we know we helped to put those smiles there.

              Life can be hard. There have been (and continue to be) times when the good feeling I got at the dojo was pretty much the only good feeling I had all day.

              So I guess I'm saying that to me, it doesn't matter whether we view kendo as sport or budo. When you boil it all down, the point is to give, and get, good feelings among our fellow human beings.

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              • #22
                It's what you make of it..

                At the end, budo or sport, what matters is your own approach, and what it does mean to you.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Musha
                  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.
                  I'm not sure you should call that approach pure budo as much as close-minded. A big part of budo is practicing with others, and comparing your skills against theirs. Whether you do this in a 'sports' context, or in gradings or whatever, its still an important part of budo. Either way, that dojo sounds a bit unbalanced as far as a total approach to all of kendo's elements.

                  The whole 'sport is bad' crap that a lot of people in budo keep on about seems to be more of an excuse as to why their 'true budo' kendo doesn't beat anyone. The two aren't mutually exclusive.

                  Take a look at the Olympic ideals, and listen to a lot of top sportspeople, and you'll find its all pretty similar to budo. 'Its not about winning or losing, its how you play the game' is something a lot of sportspeople have been saying for more than 100 years, what's bad about that?

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Hamish
                    I'm not sure you should call that approach pure budo as much as close-minded. A big part of budo is practicing with others, and comparing your skills against theirs. Whether you do this in a 'sports' context, or in gradings or whatever, its still an important part of budo. Either way, that dojo sounds a bit unbalanced as far as a total approach to all of kendo's elements.

                    The whole 'sport is bad' crap that a lot of people in budo keep on about seems to be more of an excuse as to why their 'true budo' kendo doesn't beat anyone. The two aren't mutually exclusive.

                    Take a look at the Olympic ideals, and listen to a lot of top sportspeople, and you'll find its all pretty similar to budo. 'Its not about winning or losing, its how you play the game' is something a lot of sportspeople have been saying for more than 100 years, what's bad about that?
                    If Musha is talking about the Dojo I think he is, then he has (unintentionally I'm sure) given you the wrong idea. The sensei has nothing against grading, however he has nothing against not grading. Nor does he have anything against competition (indeed, I think he competed as a younger man).

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                    • #25
                      I definitely see the connotation of 'sport' in terms of kendo as negative. Even though I know that as Hamish states, true Budo and Sport are not mutually exlcusive, one cannot help but sometimes fall to one side of the fence.

                      The reality is that if one equates shiai kendo to sport, they are adding to the stigma. The issue is not that shiai kendo is sport and different, the issue is that yuko datosu is evolving in shiai. Although Yuko Datotsu should be black and white, it is not and is up for interperetaion. That is why there are 3 judges.

                      I think the only saving grace to shiai is that I always see the level of shinpan[ing] go up with the level of kendo being performed. When you watch the all japan tournaments, one cannot help but see buth the Budo and Sport side in it.

                      fwiw

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                      • #26
                        Hi, kendo lovers

                        Murakami sensei(Monterey Park dojo, LA) used to tell me "Enjoy kendo! Enjoy yourself! That's what kendo is all about."
                        I first started kendo back in US and moved back to Korea after 7 years of studying and working.
                        The biggest reason I didn't want to leave US was that I had to leave my dojo, my kendo buddies and all the senseis who tried to show me the fascinating side of kendo. They gave me too much lessons and inspiration to understand or even to perform a single of them, yet I'm overwhelmed just to practice hard to make them a part of myself.
                        Whether kendo is budo or a sport, it gives us pleasure. Pleasure of knowing new people, pleasure of sweating after harsh physical excercise, and even pleasure of peeking into the deep phylosophical wolrd of life.
                        All the things on kendo is pure fun to me. Like exploring a new world.
                        When you feel stuck and blocked at a certain level and cannot proceed forward, I think giving yourself a nice good motivation could be one solution.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Musha
                          I'm always moving back and forth between kendo being budo and kendo being a sport.
                          Budo is the "way of war," so to speak, so budo is also all about winning. In fact, I think budo is more about winning than sport because in the budo context, to lose is to die.

                          "Sport" is a recreational activity. Professional sportsmen don't practice it for recreation, but the only reason that they can do it professionally is because watching it is recreation for someone. That is why, I think, it has a negative connotation. Sport is "just recreation" so people think that it has no "real depth" to it. But that is not really fair; living well entails a certain amount of recreation. If the goal is to just "have fun" then kendo is unquestionably "sport," the way I see it. There is nothing wrong with that.

                          I think hitting big and beautifully is something different from both of these, though. At least in the sense I think you are talking about. There is a beauty in a properly executed and terribly effective movement even if it is small and chaotic. But I think you mean something a little different since you are describing beautiful strikes that don't really work. Similarly, the goal of "improving yourself," perhaps through losing, is different from both sport and budo.

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                          • #28
                            Well

                            To be quite honest I'm not sure how exactly I percieve Kendo. As with every day I walk this earth my view changes, I learn new things and with every day new influences enter my life as does with kendo. With every lesson my views change and so on. To define kendo simply as a sport or budo would be to simplify its grand complexity, it's spiritual and mental attributes and the way that it has been passed down for centuries. Kendo in my eyes can not merely be thrown into a catagory just for the sake of better understanding- it must be accepted as being one in itself full of the wisdom of generations and enjoyed just for that reason.
                            That's my bit!

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                            • #29
                              sport or budo

                              Years ago , when kendo was still exclusively practiced inside the walls of imperial japan it was purely budo. However as it spread towards the west and its popularity grew it became a "sport" in order to foster friendly relations between countries. So i think kendo can be both and therefore a practitioner can be flexible in growing thru its practice irregardless whether he is executing a waza in shiai with slightly... sharp cuts or during solitary practice with emphasized cuts.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by koteslasher
                                Years ago , when kendo was still exclusively practiced inside the walls of imperial japan it was purely budo. However as it spread towards the west and its popularity grew it became a "sport" in order to foster friendly relations between countries. So i think kendo can be both and therefore a practitioner can be flexible in growing thru its practice irregardless whether he is executing a waza in shiai with slightly... sharp cuts or during solitary practice with emphasized cuts.
                                No offence, but this is one of the more off-the-mark posts that I have seen inrecent months. What are you talking about?

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