Muscle for Kendo

by Tadakatsu
(Michigan, U.S.A.)

This is more of a comment than a question, but if I were to phrase it as a question I would ask “Why does there seem to be a prejudice against weightlifting/muscle mass in kendo circles?”

I recently watched one of your weekly roundup videos (THANK YOU for so many excellent and helpful videos!!) and someone asked you what the best kinds of workouts were to help kendo.

The answer you gave was basically crossfit style training, running, and stretching. Why not weightlifting?

I have been lifting weights for strength and muscle mass long before I began my kendo training and I can tell you two things that were evident from the very beginning:

1) It was very easy for me to “kill my opponent’s spirit” just by showing up. Size and the implied strength behind it are intimidating.

2) I never try to hurt anyone, but my strikes are felt much more than those of my training partners. My kote strikes sting and my opponents think twice about closing quickly.

Now these things, of course, don’t matter a bit unless I truly work hard to develop good kendo, but it seems to me that good kendo plus size and power is a definite win.

One may argue that bigger guys are slower and that may hurt your kendo, but it is easier for me to develop my speed at this
point than it is for a smaller, faster guy to go out and develop his muscle mass.

I believe if the samurai had decent gyms at their disposal they would have embraced muscling up as an essential element of the Way of the Sword.

Any weightlifting kendoka out there with experiences similar to mine?

Answer: Thanks for your input! I get similar questions quite often. And I will tell you my perspectives.

I am not against weightlifting or weight training. If I don’t have injuries and have a good trainer who can tell me what to do, then I will do that.

And mind you that those top kendoists have MUSCLES! Man, they are really fit and muscular. And these muscles are not made by weightlifting but by through kendo.

But recently many top kenodists do weights as well as aerobics training. Especially those who cannot train kendo everyday. Which is the same as most of us in the world.

As long as you don’t overdevelop your muscles, I think it is fine. I don’t have big muscles, but I have a broad chest (maybe short arms?), I feel a bit tight to take chūdan. If I have more muscles around my chest, I don’t think I can take chūdan effectively.

To summarize my point, I agree with training muscles, but I disagree to make the muscles too big.

Hope this helps!

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