Likes Likes:  0
Results 1 to 4 of 4

Thread: Origins of Kendo

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    JAPAN
    Posts
    1,616
    Likes (received)
    108

    Default Origins of Kendo

    A translation from Kendo Nippon below was posted my [susume] who is listed as working for Nihon Kokubunka. He posted it on the Kendo World Forum but a direct link is not available. If one logs on to

    http://www.kendo-world.com/

    It can be found in the forum under Kendo Concepts.
    I thought it might be of interest to anyone who does not log on there.

    I have heard this before but have found it too embarrasing to take up.

    Hyakutake Colin
    ..............
    August issue of Nippon Kendo covers, as could be expected, the soon to come world championship. Still, the perspective lacks anything international.

    Instead of providing the Japanese readership with a word view of what Kendo is, we have another Korea vs Japan paper spiced up by a long article by the French Federation Technical Expert, M. Yoshimura about the "Origins of Kendo", in a reaction to the Korean correspondant arguing that Kendo's root are in Korea. As for the "what is to be expected form this year's tournament", it is relegated towards the end of the issue in a short one page paper.

    Wherever the roots are (notice the plural here), it seems to me that there is something that goes beyond the roots and that explains the possibility of Kendo practice all over the world.

    Kendo is much more that what the local (read Japanese) federations say it is, ie. "kendo ha [...] minzokubunka de ari [...]" or "nipponminzoku dokuji no bunka de aru kendo [...]"

    By defining Kendo that way the Japanese federations totally alienate any possibility of "international" kendo. Kendo has to be "Japanese". Ie. a "budo" is not what is translated as martial arts, a "budo" is a _Japanese_ martial art.

    By extension, a budo, defined as such is nothing more (or less) than a defined social practice that aims at reproducing a related specific social frame.

    Whatever non-Japanese Kendo players do, it will never (or only very exceptionnaly) be considered "budo" because by being non-Japanese they cannot grasp the subtle nuances of Japanese society transmitted through this social practice.

    It seems to me that this restricted definition is extremely harmful. Of course, the sheer number of Kendo practitioner in Japan makes it hard to deny the claim that Kendo _is_ mostly Japanese. So what ?

    What is the "critical mass" necessary to create a non-japanese high level base of Kendo ? European experiences could teach us a lot about that.

    What are the "universal" or common values that are understood as shared by Kendo practitioners around the world ? Not to be confused with the ritual decorum that pervades dojos and Kendo clubs all around the globe.

    Since, as a martial art, Kendo is so much related to death, what is the (quasi-) religious experience that comes with it ? Its relation to zen for example ?

    Why do we have to mix Kendo with confucean values (maintenance of a specific social order) or shinto values (related to japanese identity and nationalism) ?

    Why do the Japanese federations refuse to accept that the difference between a "sport" and a "budo" is only ideological and not at all related to the reality of the practice, and, more importantly, to the interpretation each practitioner has of the practice itself ?

    Keeping in mind all the above questions (while sweating a lot ) is necessary to improve one's practice because it is important to refuse the cultural neo-colonialism of budo-ideology to find one's own "path". A "do" is something someone has to experience on one's own. A "do" does not allow for groupal behaviorism, it is mostly a non-ideological individual choice
    Hyakutake Colin

    All the best techniques are taught by survivors.


    http://www.hyoho.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Cherry Hill, NJ
    Posts
    136
    Likes (received)
    0

    Default

    Mr. Colin:

    While there's no question of Japanese superiority in Kendo, I think--as you've pointed out--that's almost certainly due to the large pool of Japanese participants. I also find the claim that budo (or anything else) can only be truly understood or appreciated by a particular society or group to be incorrect. Does 'Godzilla' of the New York Yankees need to understand American culture to appreciate the nuances of baseball? What nuances? You hit the ball and run around the bases. Do I need to be Jewish to describe what a fine bagel should taste like? I can explain quite well even without millenia of suffering by my people.

    As far as I can tell, kendo teaches you to hit someone with a stick which we pretend to be a sword. The 'way', honor, respect, values, sportsmanship etc. will never be cultivated by going to kendo class three times a week. Those things are learned from one's parents or you figure them out by yourself over time. A farmer can understand honor. A lifelong martial artist can remain fearful and pretentious. IMO, the only thing budo should teach you is to win. And when someone else wins, the Japanese will stop talking smack about kendo, the Koreans will stop yammering about taekwondo (I'm Korean), and the Canadians will ease up about hockey, aye?

    By the way, I'm a little confused, did the third volume of Kendo World already come out? Thanks.
    Richard Kim


    "We'll say we're frightened and we have to go home." -- George / Seinfeld

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    1,654
    Likes (received)
    0

    Default

    In re: Kendo World, it's up to the fifth volume, actually!

    Edit: That is, five ISSUES, in it's second volume (4 issues per volume).
    We are the Sherlock Holmes English Speaking Vernacular. Help save Fu Manchu, Moriarty and Dracula.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    JAPAN
    Posts
    1,616
    Likes (received)
    108

    Default

    Originally posted by Sapporo Ichiban
    Mr. Colin: By the way, I'm a little confused, did the third volume of Kendo World already come out? Thanks.
    This was a translation from Kendo Nippon, not Kendo world.

    Hyakutake Colin
    Hyakutake Colin

    All the best techniques are taught by survivors.


    http://www.hyoho.com

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 16
    Last Post: 4th January 2007, 22:05
  2. Grappling
    By glad2bhere in forum Sword Arts
    Replies: 140
    Last Post: 5th May 2004, 15:21
  3. Kendo & Sport Kendo
    By Óscar Recio in forum Sword Arts
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 10th October 2002, 21:18
  4. kendo kata origins
    By Goon Jhuen Weng in forum Sword Arts
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 9th December 2000, 22:51

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •