Kendo

Discussion in 'Sword Arts Talk' started by PhotonGuy, Aug 26, 2017.

  1. PhotonGuy

    PhotonGuy Senior Master

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    Kendo is done with bamboo swords and its become a sport as opposed to a method of warfare, but by learning Kendo, can a person learn anything about real japanese swordsmanship and technique?
     
  2. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

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    Over many years Japanese swordwork has become intricate and faceted. It's one of the harder sides to learn. Wheels of a cart.

    Can you learn from it? Yes you can learn to fight without fear up getting killed or seriously injured.

    It's all sport. People dont walk about with Japanese swords killing each other these days. In Japan its what one calls 'Budo'. It is merits as a sportlike method of learning has helped it survive to this day. Through the Meiji Era and after WWll.
     
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  3. Anarax

    Anarax Brown Belt

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    I've studied both Kendo and Kenjitsu. In Kendo I learned the rules and the strategy to score points on a person with a Shinai. In Kendo you can only strike to certain areas and must do it in a very particular way. In kenjistu you learn the art of the sword, it's not about scoring points but about how to fight with a sword.

    Can you learn "real" Japanese swordsmanship from it? Maybe. If you have a Kenjitsu class you can attend I would recommend it over kendo, kendo would be my second recommendation.

    Good Luck
     
  4. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

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    I would have to disgree with you having practiced and taught both for over 45 years. It's Kenjutsu not kenjitsu. Generaly targeting unprotected areas although some wear specific protection. To have 'full cup' and have a reasonable understanding one needs to practice all the facets. I managed to do all as it was a job but the problem with most is having the opportunity and the time to do it.
     
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  5. Anarax

    Anarax Brown Belt

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    Wow, 45 years, you have a lot more experience in both systems than I do. I had two different instructors for both Kendo and Kenjutsu. My Kenjutsu instructor explained things more thoroughly and had a firm grasp on sword fighting strategy and tactics. My Kendo instructor, though very skilled, lacked the in depth knowledge my other instructor possessed. I learned a lot more in Kenjutsu and it felt I was being trained in combat as opposed to a sport. It could have been the difference between the instructors opposed to the styles though.

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge given your vast experience
     
  6. PhotonGuy

    PhotonGuy Senior Master

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    Based on the messages on this thread, it seems Kenjutsu is the way to go if you want to learn to use a real sword instead of just a Shinai and you want an art that hasn't been made into mostly a sport. That same kind of transformation happened with fencing. Also, Im wondering about Iaido if that would be a good art for learning how to use a real sword instead of a practice sword as those used in Kendo. From what I do know about Iaido it focuses mostly on drawing, and cutting from when you draw.
     
  7. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

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    If you want to learn the sword Kenjutsu/Koryu. if you want to learn to fight? Kendo. I said Kendo had sportlike/education attributes. But I would say that to anybody that does it. One of my students in the video below. Kendo people are advised by their association to also do iaido. Iaido people told to do Kendo. Kendo also has kata that is usually done with blade at demonstrations. However few spend much time on it once they realize how difflcult it is to deal with someone that cuts you back. So they concentrate on fighting.

    I have fought with people that do both. Many Iai people are very stationary and cut hard. Iai is based on someone moving in to your ma-ai (distance/interval). Kendo could be decribed as moving your maai around like spot light.

    You dont use live blades to start Iaido. The general concensus is to do that from Yondan upwards.

    The other facet that enters the equation is Batto Jutsu. Cutting targets to test the ability of both cutter and blade. I should stress this is 'not' backyard slashing. Both Kendo and Iaido exponents cant do it. You can fight, you can draw but it wont teach you how to cut to high degree.


     
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  8. PhotonGuy

    PhotonGuy Senior Master

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    So with Kendo I take it you would never use a live blade, that Kendo is done entirely with the Shinai, unless a practitioner is doing a Kendo kata. Nevertheless I was wondering if the same techniques used in Kendo with the Shinai can be used with a live blade. No doubt the techniques have been at least somewhat modified since Kendo is more of a sport than a method of warfare. I do know that lots of people who do Kendo also do Iaido in which a live blade, or at least an unsharpened metal blade might be used at certain points.

    Now as for getting a decent sword without breaking the bank, some of my research has indicated that you want good carbon steel for the blade material. 1060 is good steel. 1095 can also be good although it can be more brittle but it is really good at holding a sharp edge. Also you want full tang not a welded on rat tail tang and you want the blade to be properly heat treated. That's what my research has indicated so Im just checking up on the validity of that.
     
  9. Langenschwert

    Langenschwert Master Black Belt

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    Look at it this way, PhotonGuy:

    Learning sword arts requires triangulation. You need to learn the techniques themselves, generally in a kata-like setting like in most kenjutsu. Then you need to learn range and timing. This requires some kind of sparring, since no two situations will ever be exactly the same and you need to be able to read the situation quickly. But it's difficult to spar full speed with sharp weapons without people going to the morgue. So kendo is good for that. But you also need to learn how to handle a sharp weapon and cut targets, so batto or iai can be good for that. If you do all those things, you can get a good idea of how swordfighting actually works. And you should learn to grapple, since that's what you do when you are two close to bring your weapon to bear.
     
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