Kendo training camp (http://nihonjinjanai.blogspot.jp/2012/08/kendo-camp.html ) and even
my first competition (http://nihonjinjanai.blogspot.jp/2012/12/my-first-kendo-competition.html ).
Yet it occurred to me that I’ve never written an introduction to Kendo.
Kendo is, simply put, the Japanese martial art of the sword. We use what we call a 竹刀(shinai), which is
really just a bamboo sword.
If you’re looking to play with a real sword ( 真剣 - shinken), you might want to check out 居合い度 (iaido) instead. You won’t get to have a fight with a partner in iaido though.
There are, for me, two basic things in kendo – suburi-ashi(the way of moving), and kirikaeshi(a pattern of
Suburi-ashi (素振り足) is a way of moving that resembles gliding. Your left foot is supposed to push, while your right food glides over the floor. It is much harder than it sounds.
I suppose that’s why whenever I’m in a match, you can hear my senpai’s yell “ashi
(足)! ashi!” at me.
must be mustered if you want to improve. If you can’t do this properly, you can’t do the more advanced moves properly either.
When you’re practicing kendo, you’ll be wearing a hakama(袴). It’s a two-piece outfit, consisting of a top and baggy pants. That may not be an accurate description (._.). It’s actually very comfortable, and has the added bonus of making you look like you’re from Edo-period Japan. But, there’s a certain way of wearing and folding it, and if you’re a new-er member, one of your duties is going to be that of folding your senior’s hakamas.
On top of your hakama, you’ll be wearing your bougu (防具). A bougu is basically your armour, and it consists of a breastplate (胴do), gauntlet (小手kote), faulds (垂れtare) and a helmet (面men). I think my happiest day (after being allowed to wear the bougu), was when I was given my name to be put on my tare.
(Here, you can see my Kendo club name, as well as see what a hakama + bougu looks like. Illustration by Elena Yeo, a freelance graphic illustrator/designer - *http://ellustrate.net/)
If you’re looking for a martial art to do, I whole-heartedly recommend kendo. It’s awesome fun, and you get to learn discipline at the same time.
For more on kendo, you can take a look at this post from Tofugu (http://www.tofugu.com/2012/05/22/kendo/comment-page-1/)
a Singaporean Gal saying "Hi" from Tokyo, Japan!