By Baptiste Tavernier Originally published in Kendo World 7.3, December 2014. Introduction It is always interesting to see how events connect to form the stream of history. Who would imagine, for example, that one might find a link between an obscure disease called pébrine, which plagued France in the second half of the 19th century, and a martial art studied on the other side of the globe in Japan? Pébrine and flacherie are both diseases found in silkworms, and they spread rapidly in Europe from 1855. At that time, France was the world’s leading country in sericulture, but the plague of pébrine and flacherie wasRead More →

by Alex Bennett.  Originally published in Kendo World 5.4 Following Japan’s defeat in the Second World War, the martial arts were banned by Occupation authorities as they were considered to be “undemocratic” and conduits for imparting “ultra-nationalism” and “militarism”. All the budo arts were subject to the ban, but kendo was viewed as being particularly unsavoury due to the symbolism of the infamous Japanese sword. In reality, there were many diehard kendo enthusiasts who continued practising away from the wary eye of the authorities, but kendo in schools was absolutely prohibited. The eventual reintroduction of kendo into the education system and the community involved a prolonged periodRead More →

Then and Now – Kendo as a Foreigner in Japan in the 1970s By Geoff Salmon author of Kendo: The Comprehensive Guide and Kendo: Inherited Wisdom and Personal Reflections I was lucky enough to live and work in Japan in the 1970s. During the three years I was there I trained five times a week in Osaka and Kobe. I now live in the UK, although I have been back to Japan on numerous recent occasions for grading and shōgō exams, seminars, the Kyoto Taikai and just to see friends. My more recent guest status gives me an obviously different perspective to that of currentRead More →

Then and Now – British Kendo in the 1960s By Geoff Salmon author of Kendo: The Comprehensive Guide and Kendo: Inherited Wisdom and Personal Reflections The poet Philip Larkin asserts that sex began in 1963. Similarly, for me kendo began in 1969. Until then I had read about kendo in Judo and Black Belt Magazine, and had seen several Kurosawa films and some kendo demonstrations of varying accuracy, including one where an unpegged kodachi blade left its handle and flew over the heads of spectators. As a teenage judoka, kendo seemed to me to be incredibly exotic. Japanese kendo was part of an imaginary landscapeRead More →