I have searched a few times for some good discussions about Kendo, and other Japanese sword arts, and have been a little more than frustrated with what I found. Seems that even on a board that debunks things, there ares still some misperceptions about kendo out there and where it fits into the "Whole idea" of Japanese swordsmanship. Many people say that their "art" is the true art of swordsmen. The following is an edited version of a post I placed on the Kendo-World forum a while ago.
True swordsmanship...Hmm Difficult to define. True swordsmanship (I believe)comprises many different components, and each sword art, Kendo, Iaido, Batto, Kenjutsu, etc, posess only part of the "whole", and the last part I don't think we want to touch...Ill get to that at the bottom of the post.
The previous posts (kendo-World) have some flaws, in that it is not nessecary to "Slice" when cutting with a Japanese blade, this is why the curvature is there. Only in some circumstances do you need to "Slice" or pull the blade.
Kendo deals with intent, use of distance, perception of openings, "Reading" your opponent and much more. The biggest thing to me that kendo deals with is the mental attitude while facing another person, which Iaido and Batto do not. Kendo does not deal with the finer points of using a sword which Iaido teaches, and it does not teach you how to cut.
Iaido teaches perfection of form and concentration in the face of a perceived opponent, proper sword handeling, how to turn a sword during use..kiriage to kesagiri, or tsubamagaeshi (sp?) concentration and balance among many other things. An Iaido practitioner is closer to cutting than a kendoka, but to assume that because someone can cut air, they can cut even a stationary target is flawed. Put a real sword in many Iaido practioners hands and they do strrrrange things. This is also not to say that there are not Iaido practioners out there who can cut the first time you put a real blade in their hands. on a continueum(ok sp again ?) Iaido ka are closer to cutting than kendoka. Iaido does not teach you how to use distance, the intent to strike a real person staring you down, or to cut a real person staring you down with a sword in their hands. It does not teach you intent in the face of a real person.
Batto, or cutting, teaches just that, how to cut a stationary or moving target, proper handeling of the blade, footwork, proper hasuji, and a lot of proper blade handeling....cant make the same mistakes you can in Iaido without feeling a bit-O- pain at the least, (Assuming use of an Iaito in Iai. as many people use shinken.)
Each art holds a certain portion of the truth, you could study all of them and still not be a real swordsman.
What is a "Real Swordsman?" someone that knows how to use a sword? someone that knows how to cut? someone that knows how to kantei a blade?
Lets say you know all of this.... In my mind, your not a real swordsman untill you have once faced another person who holds both a live blade and the intent to kill you in his heart and you have lived to tell the story. It is for this reason that I think looking for "Real" swordsmanship classes, or considering oneself a "Real swordsman" is unrealistic in todays age, unless you consider certain groups of the modern military.
Study your art, understand its advantages, benefits,and disadvantages and don't be deluded or disalusioned with it.
Im looking forward to a good discussion.
Except that kenjutsu is an end-all term for practical Japanese swordsmanship.
Your correct in its Definition, however, it is used more and more often as a definition of a sword martial art other than kendo and Iaido.
Those who use the term kenjutsu today are trying to disassociate themselves from Kendo and Iaido and trying to create a perception that they hold the complete swordsmanship truth....
Just because the definition is thus does not mean that when someone calls their martial art kenjutsu, that their martial art is an end-all art for practical Japanese swordsmanship? If we accept the perfect definition, Kenjutsu is an idea, not a martial art. If so then Kenjutsu would encompass all of the ideas in the first post.
Last edited by Kirioroshi; 1/21/2005 5:52pm at .
Where are you located in CA, and what style of Kenjutsu do you study?
I'd rather not answer either question. It's not like I'm trying to cover up a lack of martial arts experience (Because I have none)(None at all)(I suck), it's just that I'm paranoid, and refuse to give more than a state or basic description to anyone who I don't know intimately.
You mean "know" in the biblical sense eh?
Originally Posted by MEGA JESUS-SAN
“We are surrounded by warships and don’t have time to talk. Please pray for us.” — One Somali Pirate.
What are you talking about?
"The screen helpfully informs him that he is currently ranked number 863 out of 890 people who have ever participated in a sword fight in The Black Sun.
Number One, the name and the photograph on the top of the list, belongs
to Hiroaki Protagonist. "
Originally Posted by MEGA JESUS-SAN
And that is just fine, cause your not going to know me intimatly.