Halifax Kendo Club

Kendo and Violence

Adopt a Generous and Liberal Attitude toward your Opponent


Despite passing through various stages of development, the essence (honshitsu) of Kendo has remained constant: One person faces another, ready with the shinai, mind meets mind, and the opponents strike. By training ones spirit and performing Keiko correctly, honestly, and full of vigour, an ennobling of human nature takes place.

This may initially appear paradoxical, for how can human nature be ennobled by an act of looking for an opponents unguarded moment and executing a strike?

To appreciate this it should be realized that Kendo today is practiced in an environment removed from the everyday world. The act of attacking and parrying is carried out with the implicit understanding that no one actually intends to kill or wound the opponent. Rather, in engaging in such an act, opponents both
compete and cooperate with one another. Always remember to respect your opponent and to recognize his or her human nature, while at the same time resisting with all your might. In this way, each can ennoble the human nature of the other. Competition rules exist precisely to help maintain this vital balance. In addition, while winning a Kendo match is important in Kendo, it is equally important to conquer yourself in a difficult situation in which you are placed. In other words, it is essential when learning Kendo to form a spirt of self-denial, which can lead to an ennobling of self.


What is Kendo?


The practice of Kendo as a physical activity has a long tradition within Japanese culture. Originally a method of sword manipulation, Kendo came to be more fully understood through the observance of natural laws on the battlefield. It can be divided into the following three components:

1. The Way of The Body. How to hold the sword, maai, etc...

2. The Way of The Sword. How to execute strikes, when to execute strikes, etc...

3. The Way of The Mind. Correct mental attitude.

While these divisions represent a useful basis for a theoretical understanding of the main elements of Kendo, in practice they are closely interlinked, with the distinction between them not always so clear. Nevertheless, it is essential that those learning Kendo first aquire a grasp of these basic components and realize that the practice of Kendo is much more than a simple matter of overcoming an opponent.