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One year later edition.

A thread to discuss Kendo/jutsu, Iaido/jutsu. OP post tailored towards Kendo since it is the most commonly practiced.

>What is Kendo?
Kendo is a modern Japanese martial art which combines traditional Japanese swordsmanship (Kenjutsu) techniques with sporting elements for competition. It is practiced with shinai (bamboo swords) and armor. The philosophy of modern Kendo is based off of Budo concepts and aims to develop the self through practice.

>What are the rules of Kendo?

>Am I too old to practice Kendo?
No. Westerns start later and many people practice Kendo until they’re dead.

>Is Kendo a martial art or a sport?

>Where can I find a Kendo/Iaido club or dojo?

Start with the International Kendo Federation (FIK) and navigate to your country or region. If you live in a particularly large country, your country’s federation will most likely consist of regional federations. Some federations also include Iaido clubs.

Previous thread
Kendo is fun
Allegedly. The nearest dojo is 2 hours away for me
>The nearest dojo is 2 hours away for me
Visit them monthly, maybe? The Kendo Show has a good zero-to-shodan series. As much as I discourage beginners learning by themselves, I recommend watching this series and periodically visiting a dojo for advice/feedback so you aren't straying too far. It may be better than nothing, but it can be argued both ways if you're careful.

Bumping with Eiga sensei

European Kendo Championship
TL;DR friday, saturday and sunday from 8:45 until 17:30 germany time


Will France, Poland and Hungary remain the strongest?
Let's see.
>Will France, Poland and Hungary remain the strongest?
Let's see.
I'm interested in seeing that as well. Hungary in particular, since their teams completely changed around 2 years ago.
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been doing kendo for a month after only learning the basics before a ten-year break
i always feel like i'm stumbling forward when striking, i'm very clumsy
at least i'm not too shy to kiai loudly, but i don't sound all that great yet
>i always feel like i'm stumbling forward when striking, i'm very clumsy
You're most likely leaning forward or lurching forward when you strike. Your posture should be erect, upright, almost as if you're touching your shoulder blades - this will help you keep your weight balanced so you aren't "falling forward" when you strike or perform footwork after a strike.

That's my best guess, but ask your sensei/senpai.
Some wartime-Kendo filmed post-war.

Has anybody ever combined hema and kendo before?
Why would you bother?
How do you even do that considering how different their goals and means are?
Yes, they have just never combined them into anything worth practicing.

Unlike most European systems, there are still surviving schools of swordsmanship in Japan that date back to when people really used swords. If you care about historical swordsmanship you're efforts would be better spent learning and perhaps spreading one of those systems. If you care about sparring and winning tournaments while still practicing something related to swordsmanship, there is Kendo. There are even older schools with Kendo like sparring if the historical part is really important to you.

Japanese manuals tended to be either very late period, even modern, or intentionally vague so as to avoid copycats. Reconstructing based on them, and people have tried, tends to be an exercise in futility.
>Reconstructing based on them, and people have tried, tends to be an exercise in futility.
And because historical schools with clear lineages exist, people who try to reconstruct them are more often than not fraudulous and trying to create their own thing rather than properly "revive" anything. The whole Cummins things is the most obvious examples, but then you have stuff like Tenshin-ryu and all in Japan as well.
I'd like to add: as >>99332 stated, there are lineages that date back to the warring period of Japan where the techniques were tested and proven in combat. If what you are referring to is the HEMA approach of looking at manuals and trying to reconstruct it: there is going to be some difficulty. As previously mentioned, the manuals were written later on, and during the Tokugawa peace period. During this time, there were schools of Kenjutsu that sprouted up with shaky claims of legitimacy. These schools taught kata that was not pressure tested either with sparring or through combat, and were backed with esoteric doctrine. These schools were referred to as "kaho-kenpo", or "flowery swordsmanship" because of their romanticized view of the sword.

There's been enough time in japanese sword martial arts for the bullshit to be weeded out. One of the driving factors of this was the introduction of gekken, or sparring with armor and bamboo swords. A lot of the Kenjutsu schools adopted this method of training and this eventually became Kendo. Some schools refused to adopt this method of training due to legitimate reasons (tradition, preserving the nuance in various kata, etc) which remain to this day as practiced lineages. The flowery swordsmanship schools dwindled or dropped off the face of the Earth once their techniques were proven ineffectual.

TL;DR: not worth your time. The Japanese already performed what HEMA is currently doing 150-200 years ago.
Thoughts on Shinkendo?
ist there still a problem with flowery stuff and deviation with the tradition that develops through years? like, bamboo swords arent exactly the most 1 to 1 reflection of katanas in weight or shape and stuff. That, plus doesnt kendo have rather specific rules that get away from the original a la olympic fencing due to sportification process? Like only having specific targets and such?
You're right, there were many things in shinai kenjutsu that were not realistic. There was a famous guy who went around with a six foot long shinai and won lots of fights. Supposedly someone used a huge tsuba on their shinai the size of a small shield to counter it once. Less outlandish, there was alot of strikes with only the left hand pulled off at extreme range. Regardless, the most popular styles of shinai kenjutsu had a huge impact on the swordsmanship of the Bakumatsu, the Japanese imperial military, and of course modern Kendo.

Interestingly, the term koryu was originally derisive, referring to schools that did not adopt shinai shiai and carried the nuance of "old fashioned" or "outdated". I would have to check my sources on this but I believe kaho kenpo was used the same way.
Yah, that seems like the eternal struggles when it comes to martial arts. One: what you are actually trying to do (A simulation of an actual fight, or a compitition), and subsequently two: how you go about doing it. If you make rules so as to better illustrate combat in a safe way, you inevitably get people playing towards the rules rather than what they are attempting to simulate. But paradoxically, you need rules and an actual competitive situation to pressure test and actually create a simulation rather than route memorization. And then eventually what you try to do at its very center drifts from a simulation to a competition, which is nebulous (The letter of the law taking precedence from the spirit). Then you start changing the rules towards this nebulous vague idea of competition which is then informed by people playing to those very rules and creating a different stipulations (which might not actually even elevate itself in terms of fun/engagement, just effectiveness letter of the law style)

Like, in Olympic fencing, having a bendy wippy point it good to actually bend around and hit your opponent at weird angles, but thats not illustrative at all of an effective sword thrust. Then more blades actually developed to be even MORE wippy as the bendiness that was allowed by the rules influenced the idea which then compounded back to effect the rules. Doesn't even necessarily make it more engaging, its just an edifice of circumstantial development of playing to the rules. This is something that happens somewhat in hema two which is a much younger thing. With people using lighter weapons, or not paying as much attention to defending themselves and attacking.
As the other anon said, even during the Edo era there was questions about the efficiency of shinai geiko as a training exercise, they never stopped doing kata regardless. Then the pretty brutal years of the Bakumatsu came and the shinai centric schools like Shindo Munen-ryu, Hokushin Itto-ryu and Tennen Rishin-ryu apparently performed their roles very well and even the westerners thought that the japanese were fine swordsmen so... must have work alright somehow.

We also have to remember that shinai geiko and its competition were the opportunity to give the "warrior class" something to do and justify their status, have them play around. Samurai were like 7-8% of the population of Japan which is enormous compared to the nobility in Europe (in France or England it was under 1%). Still today, police kendo is one of the roughest because they actually rely on results in competition for promotion and advancement in terms of pay. So it made motivated people at least.
>and even the westerners thought that the japanese were fine swordsmen so...
yah, they also thought punjabis and afghans were fine swordsmen too, if not moreso. In fact, I think there was generally more fanfare at the time for the close orient in that regard (TO be fair, orientalism was in swing as well as burgeoning colonialism, but even later on those cultures were known to be particularly well skilled in mellee)

IDK, at least for the cloistered edo period of increased formalization, I have a hard time beliving there wasnt a very good amount of deviation and formalization through ritualized combat. What was the death tole like for the samurai class? I know in europe Death by dueling was a pretty signifigant problem and even then, in a rather dynamic era of the age of sails/empire, a degree of formalization came into play with smallsword combat. I guess it would be interesting how developments occured during Meiji restoration wit the more dynamic atmosphere and actual military expansion.
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>That, plus doesnt kendo have rather specific rules that get away from the original a la olympic fencing due to sportification process? Like only having specific targets and such?
It does, you're referring to what is called "yuko-datotsu", or valid strike. Kendo is indeed a sport (and it is Budo and martial art), but not in the sense that only the end-result matters which allows competitors to arrive at that result in any way they wish. Kendo is more of an aesthetic sport, similar to figure skating, where how you arrive to a result matters just as much as the result itself. See picture related. If Kendo was just about hitting the other person first, then there would be no need for judges - it would have adopted some form of electronic or "objective" form of scoring by now.
It would be interesting to study how and why it evolved this way. Arguably the criteria was derived from the necessities of an effective cut (as oppose to just tapping, or striking). I have to assume, and I am pretty sure its been confirmed in some cases, that the requirements have become stricter over time in an effort to promote "Proper Kendo".
>I have to assume, and I am pretty sure its been confirmed in some cases, that the requirements have become stricter over time in an effort to promote "Proper Kendo".
It has. It's why in the 1970's the AJKF adopted the "Purpose of Practicing Kendo" because it was becoming increasingly competitive and viewed as a sport in Japan, which really wasn't the intent of Kendo even as it was adopted into the school curriculum in the early 1900's. It was only relatively recently that the term "Budo" was reintroduced to describe Kendo and the other systematized martial arts from Japan. The term was originally used back at the turn of the century in 1900, but due to its ties to Bushido and militaristic ties to wartime Japan, it was temporarily set aside while a more sporting attitude sprouted up. If I had to guess, Kendo may undergo a small "desportification" process in the coming decades to promote an image of fostering life-long Kendo and self cultivation. Whether this affects the technical elements of Kendo is unknown - but I'd like mune-tsuki back.
Well, I think you're about as likely to see mune-tsuki reintroduced as you are to see the Kendo federation reevaluate its technical curriculum and teaching methods based on surviving lines of Itto ryu or other koryu, that is I don't think it will ever happen.

The militarism is something people bring up, what what you see less of is that the emphasis on the sporting aspects was kind of a reaction against the militarism post war.
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>what you see less of is that the emphasis on the sporting aspects was kind of a reaction against the militarism post war.
Kendo naturally was evolving into becoming a sport to some degree, but the creation of Shinai-kyogi (with its very western ruleset and adoption of western mannerisms) to placate the western occupation force during the post-war confusion certain didn't help things.

I think Kendo is in a comfortable spot to look back and re-evaluate and rediscover elements that were discarded due to the stigma against anything Japanese and militaristic in nature. Of course, this would not be a return to the wartime period where Kendo nearly reverted back to Kenjutsu, but a continuation of what was happening with the art before the war and the Japanese state using it as a vehicle to instill nationalistic fervor.
Alex Bennett just uploaded a summarized history of Kendo video:

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Wasnt there already some western elements in ot before occupation though? like during Meiji resoration it seems natural than some of the modernisation and westernization bleeded into it, but not expert on subject. I do know that there were different "Periods" of military swordsmanship though with more western style sabers comming into fashion, then an interesting mix of western and japanese stylings, before a more "japanese" look came in leading to the war itself, so IDK if it was just "post war" westernization at play and there might have been some pre war influence as well.

Im not specifically knoledgeable about japanese systemizations of swordsmanship, but I do know a little more about the material culture as well as general social history. A really great book I read published at the turn of the 20th century was Japan: An Attempt at Interpretation by Lafcardio Hearn that was excellent and really got across the social "feel" and intuition of japan at the time and society in general. Of course its rather Victorian in nature, but it was extremely insightful and informative regardless.
Its been awhile since I read up on the subject but there is a difference between the common kendo and the military swordsmanship. As part of modernization the Japanese adapted a one handed saber for military swordsmanship. Originally the used some french based system but within a decade or two they switched to something closer to a one handed kendo. Then by the 30's and 40's there was a push to readapt more traditional sword designs, which let to the shingunto you see you WWII. The training for this was a combination of Kendo, bayonet vs sword, and a battojutsu (quick draw) curriculum based on classical styles. The Battojutsu and occasionally some of the other drills are preserved in Toyama ryu and Nakamura ryu which are pretty wide spread in the west today.

Japanese military sabers are also a very interesting field, because some of them look like western sabers while other resemble Japanese blades with a one handed guard. There were even mounts for traditionally made blades that had a two handed grip with a saber style hand guard.
>There were even mounts for traditionally made blades that had a two handed grip with a saber style hand guard.
thats pretty neat, got any pics?
dat foot sweep.... I remember in the miyazaki dojo in chicago we had a guy who trained with tokyo cops sweeping people and then clobbering them when they fell down
Surely he warned them prior, kind of a dick move to make jigeiko a wrestling match without consent.
Police kendo always had the reputation of being rougher than usual so you probably should expect this sort of things. Today policemen rely on kendo for advancement and pay upgrade so you might that they are more agressive than others.

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