Your Sword is Your Mind

Your sword is your mind. If your mind is not right, you cannot use your sword right. Thus, those who want to learn the way of the sword, learn how to keep the mind right. By Toranosuke SHIMADA

It is hard to define what “right” is because it is quite likely different from person to person. And I am sure that it differs from culture to culture. And of course, it differs from situation to situation. For example, many people learn not to apologize when they bump into a car. Probably this is a right thing to do to protect themselves legally. But it is not right in a moral perspective. If you know it is your fault then you should apologize.

Definition of “Right” at the Dojo

I would like to define this as the right attitude to learn. This includes…

  • respect everyone
  • be sincere
  • ready to listen
  • ready to learn
  • ready to accept mistakes
  • ready to work together
  • appreciate everyone who trains with you

People learn kendo for their own benefits. They have their own purpose of kendo. And those people with different purpose of kendo come to one place and do kendo. Some do kendo because they like Japanese culture/history, it is a part of their job (Japanese police force and educational institutes) , or they like kendo so much. And of course, there are different age groups at the dojo as well.

To train with everyone with different purposes, we must have the right mind-set to learn from each other.

Look For Flaws in Your Successful Strike and Appreciate Your Opponent When They Hit You.

This is the attitude we should have when learning kendo or learning anything. When your strike is succeed, you probably feel good. You hit your opponent, of course you feel good. But kendo teaches you to look for flaws even in your successful strikes. Why?

It is to improve your kendo skills and also attitude. Simply it is telling us, “Don’t be arrogant. You are not that good.” That is why kendo training lasts until our life ends. I would like to emphasize and ask you to remember this especially when you are training with lower grad holders.

It is easier for you to strike people with less experience than you. But if you are satisfied with your kendo because you can strike them, then you wont’ improve. Don’t be satisfied nor arrogant. Be sincere and think about how you can improve your strikes better. Ask your opponent for advice even when they hold lower grade than you.

very good

And when they hit you, accept it. Encourage them. If you hold a higher grade, then it is not so special for you to strike them. But if they strike you, then praise them.

If you are fighting someone stronger than you, accept the fact that they will hit you. But do not give up. Try your hardest. Don’t get frustrated because they hit you. Appreciate it because they are teaching you your weaknesses.

Good luck!

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