Mainly based on “swordsmanship” is an East Asian form of martial art form known as Kendo. This “weapon” based form of combat is said to have originated from Japan from elements belonging to the “Kenjutsu” style of fighting. Apparently, Kendo was created on a concept of a fighter acquiring “discipline” through the use of the principles of katana. Furthermore, this form of combat has also been created for a “purpose” which has been stated in words. Those words stating the purpose behind developing “Kendo” as a martial art form are as given below:
“To mold the mind and body.
To cultivate a vigorous spirit,
And through correct and rigid training,
To strive for improvement in the art of Kendo.
To hold in esteem human courtesy and honor.
To associate with others with sincerity.
And to forever pursue the cultivation of oneself.
Thus will one be able:
To love one’s country and society;
To contribute to the development of culture;
And to promote peace and prosperity among all peoples”
a. History/origin of Kendo:
According to the cultural history of Japan, Kendo has been developed using elements belonging to the ancient “kenjutsu” martial art form. Apparently, the formal exercises used in this form of combat known as “kata” were actually used many centuries ago by kenjutsu practitioners. Furthermore, it was during the Shotoku Era in the 17th century that weapons in the form bamboo swords (i.e. shinai) and armor (i.e. bogu) were first introduced in this form of combat. In addition, it was during the World War II period that Kendo as form of martial art was banned from public life. However, it was in the year 1952 that this form of martial art was restored, and an organization known as “All Japan Kendo Federation” (AJKF) was established. This organization was basically formed to promote Kendo not as a combat form but more as an educational sport. It was in 1970 that a governing organization made up of national as well regional and federations belonging to this martial art form known as the “International Kendo Federation (IKF)” was created.
b. Weapon used in the Kendo:
The weapons mainly used in the Kendo are as follows:
- Shinai: Is basically a type of a sword that is made from four bamboo slats which is attached together by leather fittings.
- Bokuto: Are basically type of swords that are made up of wood.
In addition, a protective armor known as “bogu” that protects essential parts of the body such as the head, arms, and body is used by a fighter while in combat.
c. Technique involved in the Kendo and training availability:
In terms of technique, the Kendo involves the use of two basic types, and they are as follows:
- Shikake-waza: “To initiate an attack” is the purpose behind why this technique is used by a fighter.
- Oji-waza: “To respond to an attack” is what this technique basically is used for by the fighter during combat.
As for training centers/schools, there are many available around the world for those interested in learning this “weapon” based Japanese martial art form.