Are karate and kendo compatible?

by Martin
(Montreal, Canada)

I've been practicing karate for the last 25 years. I've started kendo almost 2 years ago, but I have a really hard time in ji-geiko: I have a natural tendency to retreat and to fight defensively and wait for an opening. I feel like the people from my club don't really like to spar with me because of that.

I'm trying very much to change those reactions, but I've been fighting like this in karate almost all my life.

Any advise for me?

Answer: Thank you for your post and sorry for the delay of my reply.

I always encourage those who came to kendō from other martial arts to use their experiences in what they've done for such a long time; in your case, karate.

You know kendō encourages moving forwards and strike a lot, if you are young and a beginner. That is how we learn opportunities to strike and the principle of seme and so on.

But if you have good experience, 25 years of karate!!, I think other people also should learn from you.

Of course, this is my personal opinion and I am assuming you have good understandings of what budo is.

I also like you to challenge yourself. You can also try to learn some more movements besides your favourite one.

There should be limitations in how to attack your opponent. Certainly your favourite one is one of the ways we can use in kendō. But you should expand your movements.

Try to use more body movements from karate. I am not encouraging you to punch/kick when you get into tsubazeri-ai :)

Hope this helps.

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