The Meaning of Kendo
Kendo literally means “the way of the sword” in Japanese. It refers to the art of traditional Japanese fencing that was originally developed and practiced by Bushi or Samurai. Kendo originated from the various sword fighting techniques of hundreds of years of combat and study. It deals with the physical and mental skills necessary for sword fighting.The goal of Kendo is not only to develop the physical capability for fighting but also the moral and spiritual aspects that may be applied in coping with real life. In Japan, it is one of the most popular martial arts. Kendo has spread to other parts of the world.
The concept of Kendo is to discipline the human character through the application of the principles of the Katana.
The purpose of practicing Kendo is: To mold the mind and body, to cultivate a vigorous spirit, and through correct and rigid training, to strive for improvement in the art of Kendo; to hold in esteem human courtesy and honor, to associate with others with sincerity, and to forever pursue the cultivation of oneself. Thus will one be able to love his country and society, to contribue to the development of culture, and to promote peace and prosperity among all people.
The Basics of Kendo
The equipment used for Kendo practice are the bamboo sword (Shinai) and a set of protective armor (Bogu). The shinai is made of four carefully prepared staves or pieces of bamboo that are fitted and held together at both ends by a leather handle, tip and special string designed to designate the back of the sword. The protective equipment consists of four different parts: Men, Do, Tare and a pair of Kote. Men is the helmet which protects the face, throat, top and sides of the head. Do is similar to a breastplate and covers the chest and stomach. Tare is the waist protector. Finally, Kote are like gauntlets and protect the hands and wrists.
In Kendo, there are four general areas to attack, subdivided into left and right sides ofthe body – each worth one point. These are strokes to the head, the wrist, torso and a thrust to the throat. In order to be considered successful,the attack is to be a coordination of the spirit, proper usage of the sword and correct movement of the body so that it would be a clear and proper stroke, as if it were made with a real sword.
An official Kendo match is a three-point match and has a five-minute time limit. The player who scores two points first is the winner. If neither player scores two points before the end of regulation time, the one in the lead at that point is declared the winner. If the score is tied after five minutes, an infinite sudden death overtime is held. Three referees judge whether or not a point is scored. Kendo tournaments are held in direct elimination form.
Original article posted on Santa Barbara Kendo Dojo
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