miércoles, 20 de enero de 2016

Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About KENDO

Kendo is a modern Japanese Martial art which literally means “the way of the sword”. It has been formally introduced in the Philippines with the foundation of the Manila Kendo Club in the 90s. Though a popular sport which is being practiced around the world, a lot of misconceptions are still going around about the nature of this martial art. These misconceptions stem mainly from the portrayal of the Japanese art of sword fighting by various popular anime series. If you think Kendo is Samurai X, then you have to consider knowing these facts first before sporting yourself a shiny:

Do you remember martial arts fight scenes when the fighter shouts in his stance? Yes, that’s pretty much it. Kendo players scream at the top of their lungs or make bellowing sounds before or as they charge towards their opponent. This is called kiai. In Kendo, a loud and fierce kiai is equated to a player’s strong fighting power. The louder and fiercer, the better. Kiai is also one of the points being considered in a Kendo tournament. For this matter, Kendo is considered one of the noisiest martial arts. If you are looking for a Zen sport, Kendo is definitely not for you.

Expect to get blisters on your soles– lots of it. The fundamental techniques and moves in this sport basically require good footwork. And the most basic stance involves a smooth, sliding footwork. You train and fight barefoot. So it is just natural to develop blisters on your soles as early as your first day of training. Accuracy and precision in charging stances are even attributed to excellent footwork. If, by the end of the day you have your soles some thick blisters, then you may actually be doing things right. That means your footwork is on the right track! As the sensei usually says (or screams), “Let them bleed!”

If at home you never even bothered to pick up the mop or broom for some domestic productivity, then it’s about time you learn your manners. The dojo is a revered place for training. And dojos should always be kept clean, whether before, during, or after the training.
So it is customary practice for each Kendo trainee to mop the floor the Japanese way, that is, body bent and head bowed with a wet rag on both hands while traversing back and forth the wide dojo floor – until it is squeaky clean. As with other martial arts, discipline is a core virtue.

Prepare to sweat real hard. And get body aches. As with other martial arts, Kendo is physically demanding and involves strenuous physical activities. And as a fighting sport, be ready to get hurt. Even when you are already wearing your bogu (full body armor), there are a number of possibilities and chances for you to get hit hard with a shinai (bamboo sword) especially when a strike accidentally lands on an unprotected area of your body. Displeasing your sensei will also do you no good. Therefore, expect nothing less when practice sparring without an armor.

You will be training under the tutelage of world-renowned, elite senseis (masters). Although assistant instructors may be in the range of 3rd dan to 4th dan level, Kendo clubs are usually supervised and led by 6th to 8th dan Japanese senseis. There are only a few high-ranking Kendo practitioners in Japan and in the whole world. So senseis higher than 6th dan are really rare. Training under these highly respected senseis is truly an honor and a very rare opportunity.

If you think that only teens and young adults are into Kendo, then think again. Or better yet, go to a Kendo dojo and see for yourself. Kendo practitioners have ages ranging from 6 to 65 years old, male and female. So you need not be shocked if training with you are the kids next door and your friend’s grandpa. But as commonly observed, a good percentage of Kendo practitioners belong to the older age groups, an indication of the sport’s health and physical benefits.

Yes, even in martial arts you will take exams. And they are never easy. Aside from the rigorous routine physical training, you will need to pass several exams to be allowed to wear the revered bogu and be authorized to join sparring sessions and tournaments. From then on, you will also need to pass the subsequent ranking exams to be promoted to higher kyu and dan ranks.

Most Kendo clubs are members of the International Kendo Federation (IKF) and are regularly invited to Kendo tournaments outside the country. These tournaments are usually the highlight of the year for Kendo clubs and their members. International championships are held all over the world. In Asia, championships are usually held in Hong Kong and Singapore and are participated by most Asian countries. In these tournaments, you will witness the best teams fight, and win the coveted cup.

Not all martial arts are created equal, especially when it comes to investments. Unlike other martial arts, Kendo is a fighting sport which requires accessories and protective armor. And these are a bit pricey. This is primarily because the accessories, the uniform, and the complete set of protective gear are made from special raw materials and are usually directly purchased from Japan. So if you are a Kendoka-wannabe, just a friendly tip – prepare to invest.


Though majority of younger Kendo club members’ reason for joining is the anime series Samurai X, it is with utmost apologies to say that being a Kendoka doesn’t make you Kenshin Himura. You won’t fly and learn the Hitten Mitsurugi technique. Though Samurai X is a personal favorite and has truly been a great inspiration to many, there is more to Kendo than the idea of it. Kendo is a special martial art which teaches one on the right way of the sword, as well as the core discipline, form, art, and life that comes with it. Kendo is a way of life.

Posted by CYRUS CATIMBANG at  NOV 18, 2015 in TOP SHIZ

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