Why do we choose kendo? Is there any certain uniqueness of kendo we should take into account when we practice kendo?
The question above should be addressed by not only those who are thinking to learn kendo but also those who want to see more kendo-ka in the world.
Kendo is one of many martial arts. And as all the martial arts, its aim is to train ourselves physically and mentally to better ourselves.
What makes kendo so special?
Sword makes kendo unique.
However, we do not use a sword in our daily life anymore. If you want to learn a martial art, you might want to learn something more practical such as karate, aikido, judo and so on because you can apply them as self-defence.
Kendo, on the other hand, requires a weapon. So you really don't want to learn kendo if you are looking for a martial art as self-defence. *Mind you that aikido and judo were also in the samurai combat system.
Kendo is derived from samurai swordsmanship. A sword for samurai was and still is his soul. Thus, we cannot treat any kinds of swords such as a shinai (bamboo sword) badly.
In Japan, if you step over a shinai, you will be in big trouble. You show respect to your sword because it is to protect you and your loved ones. You treat it with respect.
Probably you do not want to step on your national flag, because it is disrespectful. Stepping over or on anything or anyone in Japan is traditionally considered to be rude or disrespectful.
That is one example of all the philosophies behind kendo. These are the essences of kendo.
Another good example is that even when you win a match you will not jump around and celebrate your victory. Why? Because you have an opponent right in front of you who has trained as hard as you have.
In the old days, your victory means your opponent's death. Your opponent has family like you do, loved ones like you do. You have ended his life for whatever the reasons were.
"Show your respect and mercy". That is the way of the sword. That is why we do not celebrate our victory with jumping around or yelling loud. That is very disrespectful and rude to your opponent.
Kendo carries historical and cultural values from the ancient Japanese samurai warriors. So at the dojo (training place), we have a lot of rules and etiquette that are inherited from the old days in Japan.
That is why kendo attracts me. Hope it attracts you too!