Hi guys, I am interested in giving kendo a shot and was wondering if you could help me out with some answers. Most of my training in swordwork to date has been of the informal variety through a couple of iaido teachers I know and also through my training in Buko ryu. From what I have seen of kendo it looks very vigorous and the randori and shiai appeals to me alot. What I am worried about is the cutting style. It looks very "tappy" for lack of a better word. I am used to full blooded attacks and anything less just doesn't seem real to me. If I take up kendo I want to take it up as an actual pursuit in swordsmanship, not in a sporting manner cutting in an unrealistic fashion.
I don't mean any disrespect to kendoka with what I have said, I'm just trying to put across what I've seen. Can anyone shed some lght on the subject for me please?
Originally Posted by Yamaarashi
You'd be better off doing Kendo and Kenjutsu if possible. Ideally Kendo, Kenjutsu and some form of Iai.
Kendo looks great and I've heard good stuff about it but it does have it's limitations but then so does everything.
As I understand it Kendo will give you a good appreciation of distance and timing and besides how can you not like putting on a Darth Vader mask :)
One big thing I think of when looking at kendo is the fact they target the protected areas i.e. where there is armour where as in swordsmanship you are taught to go for the gaps and weak points.
Anyway I'm sure Dave Humm will pitch in he'll be able to add a lot more than I could, I'm just killing time.....
A strike with a shinai is different from one with an actual sword, and 'tappy' is a good way to describe it.
With a shinai, you're trying to hit a certain point and not waste any more energy than is necessary to make solid contact with that spot. With a shinken, you are cutting through the target.
This doesn't mean that Kendo isn't valuable in teaching other things, like timing, distance and how to deal with a fully resisting opponent.
I do kumdo (korean version of kendo). I agree with spooky that it is best to do some kenjutsu and iaido training as well if you can. Usually a good Kendo teacher will be well rounded should be able to teach all aspects of the sword. If it is just a kendo school with no kenjutsu training, then you will only be learning the sport aspect.
As for contact, trust me, when the shinai hits, you will know it. The armor helps a bit but over all you will still walk out with some nice welts.
Jeremy M. Talbott
Originally Posted by Phrost
Originally Posted by D.Murray
Originally Posted by hangooknamja88
As a kendoka, I'll do my best mate.
Originally Posted by Yamaarashi
What's the "mental intention" behind the sword skills you've studied thus far ? Is it to kill as quickly and effectively as possible or, as a means of maintaining a [koryu] tradition by which the ethos of "killing" has been essentially removed.
..//.. Most of my training in swordwork to date has been of the informal variety through a couple of iaido teachers I know and also through my training in Buko ryu.
The bottom line is this: Kendo only bears a feint resemblance to its former origins, today kendo does NOT represent the combative nature of a sword engagement, there are very real differences (as you've already identified) in the way a shinai is used over that of a Nihonto however; the psychological/mental attitude necessary to succeed in kendo is EXACTLY the same.
..//.. From what I have seen of kendo it looks very vigorous and the randori and shiai appeals to me alot. What I am worried about is the cutting style. It looks very "tappy" for lack of a better word.
Use of the shinai is different to that of Nihonto but this is a means to an end, with nihonto you physically cut but with shinai you metaphorically cut though actually striking, the action is different but as I stated above one's mental state is that of cutting your opponent. When you've adopted/accepted that, the fact that you're actually 'hitting' doesn't matter at all because it all becomes one and the same.
Let me assure you that faced against someone who knows kendo well, you'll understand that being in shiai is all about "full blooded attacks" and many other things besides.
..//.. I am used to full blooded attacks and anything less just doesn't seem real to me. If I take up kendo I want to take it up as an actual pursuit in swordsmanship, not in a sporting manner cutting in an unrealistic fashion.
Many kendo dojo ensure/encourage their students to actually study iaido in conjunction to their kendo (which also includes kendo-no-kata with both long and short swords), this practice ensures the kendoka remains connected to the origins of the discipline and does not entirely study for sporting reasons, in a good kendo dojo you will not feel as if your study is "unrealistic" - It is what it is.
No offence taken mate, you call it as you see it, I have no issues with that at all, all I do suggest is that you find a dojo and try it to the point where you are studying in armour (may be several months of kihon before hand) and experience jikeiko where you are intentionally up against someone of much higher skill, they will provide you with many openings for you to observe, recognise and then exploit; but equally, they will always provide you with a good working over and capitalise on whatever weaknesses they see in you, you will quickly learn to close those openings.
..//.. I don't mean any disrespect to kendoka with what I have said; I'm just trying to put across what I've seen.
Good luck mate, please let us (me) know how you got on - positive or negative - either way is fine.
PS where are you geographically ? If you're in the UK and want to visit my dojo, I would be happy to grab a couple of my students and offer a taster class one weekend where you can experience all aspects of the discipline. This would give you a very good overview without you having to commit yourself to a dojo nearer to home. Just a suggestion if you are my side of the pond.
Spooks mate.. when you getting your arse over to my dojo and show me some of your kenjutsu ? I'm hoping to get Steve Delaney over again before September, we had an excellent session of tameshigiri before Christmas.
Originally Posted by spooky
Let me know when Steve is coming over I'll do my best to make it. Training is already looking busy this year and it's only bloody January some where in between it all I have to move house and try to convince the wife to let me go back to Japan again !!!
Please say you are going to Japan to train at a good school and not the Bujinkan Larp-bu.
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