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Thread: Kendo and shinto

  1. #1
    jmedic Guest

    Default Kendo and shinto

    I'm looking for some information on the collelation and history of Shinto and its relation to Kendo, how it is still incoroporated in modern times, and also any relation to Taoism and Kendo. Any help would be appreciated!

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    I'm unaware of any explicit connection between kendo and Shinto, other than the fact that many people wear omamori from the Katori and Kashima shrines inside their do! There is of course more of a connection between Shinto and kenjutsu, especially TSKSR, however apart from the founder of that ryu having prayed at the Katori shrine for divine inspiration, I don't know whether there are any Shinto "practices" within the ryu's curriculum.

    There is not the same kind of link between kendo and Shinto as between aikido and Omoto-kyo, which is nevertheless a "modern" iteration of Shinto.

    You might try the Gedatsu-kai who are based in Kitamoto-shi, Saitama-ken. They host the annual Foreign Kendo Leader's Summer School, and seem to have kendo as one of the practices of their religion. Gedatsu-kai are referred to as a Shinto-Buddhist syncretist religion, which means a mixture of the two. Exactly what they mix and how I was never able to find out. There have been gaijin study there and learn their practices. There is also a book on them in English which the Baillieu Library Melbourne University holds: try Amazon.

    Again I'm not aware of any explicit Taoist influence on kendo, mainly because it is hard to separate Taoism from the Zen it influenced, when the two commingled in China. Of course the Do of kendo seems to recognise Taoism, but I've rarely heard this talked about as "Taoist" in Japan. I get confused because the Japanese often speak of "michi" (michi/do = way, road) in a more prosaic sense, "Watachi no michi wa...", "My personal philosophy is..." (e.g. ...don't mix beer and sake if you have asageiko next day).

    Of course Google is your friend, as is a trip to Japan or even your local library.

    HTH

    b

  3. #3
    Valaki Guest

    Default

    Ichibyoshi thats very interesting, I wonder how Shinto is incorporated into kendo practice by groups like the Gedatsu-kai. I have some experience in shamanism and as Shinto is one of the very few remaining shamanistic nature religions left in the world, i could think of a few ways.

    Supposing they used the esoteric elements in Shinto to aid them during kendo, they might use the aid of the spirit world or their Japanese egregoria, or even personal spirit helpers. Also, as kendo is basically the battle of two auras (chi/ki whatever you want to call it) they might also have some methods to manipulate this aural level.

    If anyone knows anything about this subject I would be very interested.

  4. #4
    hayakawa Guest

    Default There's a book you might want to pick up..

    I was fortunate to have attended the Foreign Leaders Kendo Seminar held yearly at the Gedatsukai in Kitamoto-shi in 2005. Learned a lot of great things - and continue to do so.

    I've been reading a book I received at the seminar called Kendo Kata: Essence and Application by Inoue Yoshihiko, Hanshi, 8th dan (Kendo). The translation is by Alex Bennett, Ph.D., one of the minds behind the e-bodu.com site, I believe. Thanks for all your hard work, Alex!

    There are a few notes about the relation to Shinto and Kendo in the book, although regrettably, it is felt by the author that "...few can now seriously draw the connection between kendo an dits Shinto links".

    Some Shinto influences like Kamiza still exist in many dojos. The book also mentions posture, breathing and kiai as Shinto influences. It would be interesting to learn more about this. Anyway, check out the Kendo World website - you'll probably be able to order the book if you're so inclined.

    Best Regards,

    Mark Kawabe

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    Default A sad goodbye

    I just went to my Kendo Dojo mostly destroyed by fire. Half the roof fallen in on that highly polished floor The dazzling bit was up at sensei's end. Buffed to a shine by the thousands upon thousands of times that students have gone up that end to get their medicine and done kakari geiko and kiri kaeshi up and down until they could no longer lift their arms.

    There was nothing left of the boards showing the names of the well knowns that had moved on. No photogaphs of our departed sensei. The shrine lies on it's back on top of the roof tiles. I tried to salvage something to keep as a memory. But even the sake cup used to offer to the gods is black and uncleanable. Sensei's subirito bokuto is is one piece but the tsuka is black and half burned away.

    On a sad note bringing back all those memories of 24 years ago. Of us biking there at 5:30 in the morning, At times so cold I had to break the stiffness and frost out of my keikogi to put it on. At times so hot around 40c that it was so wet and heavy it felt like I had hauled it out the washer. I held back the tears and put my hands in Shinto prayer clapped them together to summon the Gods and said goodbye.
    Hyakutake Colin

    All the best techniques are taught by survivors.


    http://www.hyoho.com

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    Very sad Hyaku. Thank you for your example to us here.

    Regards,
    Al Heinemann
    Canada
    Al Heinemann
    www.shofukan.ca

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    Do not let the flames quell your gambari, my friend.

    Jonathan Freeman
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    Jonathan Freeman

    Correct Thought Is The Essence Of Being.

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    Very sad news Colin. But I know it won't stop your training.

    Back to topic, I feel like my first post missed some of the most obvious connections. Thanks Mark for pointing them out. Inoue sensei's book that you mention includes an interesting one: the practice of sonkyo. Apparently sonkyo was originally a Shinto rite that represents the creation of the world by the first gods, and goes back 1000 years. This would explain why the Koreans don't sonkyo!

    b

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    Quote Originally Posted by hyaku
    I just went to my Kendo Dojo mostly destroyed by fire. Half the roof fallen in on that highly polished floor The dazzling bit was up at sensei's end. Buffed to a shine by the thousands upon thousands of times that students have gone up that end to get their medicine and done kakari geiko and kiri kaeshi up and down until they could no longer lift their arms.

    There was nothing left of the boards showing the names of the well knowns that had moved on. No photogaphs of our departed sensei. The shrine lies on it's back on top of the roof tiles. I tried to salvage something to keep as a memory. But even the sake cup used to offer to the gods is black and uncleanable. Sensei's subirito bokuto is is one piece but the tsuka is black and half burned away.

    On a sad note bringing back all those memories of 24 years ago. Of us biking there at 5:30 in the morning, At times so cold I had to break the stiffness and frost out of my keikogi to put it on. At times so hot around 40c that it was so wet and heavy it felt like I had hauled it out the washer. I held back the tears and put my hands in Shinto prayer clapped them together to summon the Gods and said goodbye.
    all sett-back's build your (soul, hart, mind) stronger....
    Riminds me of thinking about the real people/ samurais that went through this....

    You might have feelt a part if what the had to feel often.

    Im realy sorry about what happent and i hope ou go on you realy chould guess its pritty hard but i think maybe your suposed to (maybe you feels so to)

    sorry
    Jose Cornejo MY NAME!


    Silver Striped Hat

  10. #10
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    Default Shinto

    I'm doing a weapons seminar this month and checked out several books from the library to refresh my memory.

    One of the books that was very interesting was, "Legacies of the Sword." I think that it ties in a lot of Shinto with the sword.

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