I have been doing Kendo for more than 20 years since I was 13 years old. Kendo is one of Japan’s traditional martial arts and is one of the most familiar competitions to many Japanese people.
It is often said that kendo is a martial art and not a sport. This is because kendo is influenced by Confucianism, Buddhism, and Shinto, and its purpose is to help people develop as human beings through the practice of the sword.
It is not just about winning, but it is important to have courtesy and consideration for others.
For example, if you win a game, gut punching will cancel your win. To show off your victory more than necessary is not very considerate of your opponent. That is because kendo has its origins in bushido. The idea comes that it is immoral to be pleased with the taking of a life.
Kendo is such a unique and mysterious “sport” that requires beautiful behavior and heart. This is one of the reasons why I love this competition and have been doing it for more than 20 years.
Many Japanese children also love this martial arts and practice it from an early age. Teachers teach children the importance of self-discipline. For example, even if the child is strong in kendo, if he or she is not organized, cleaned up and lacks consideration, it is not a successful cultivation.
Not only do we need to beat our opponents in competition, we also need to “discipline ourselves”. For this reason, punctuality and good manners are encouraged at any scenes like games.
For example, students are expected to put their shoes together nice and neatly at the entrance, making the bedroom neatly. If someone is in trouble, help them and don’t turn a blind eye to them. We believe that good behavior and discipline usually leads to victory.
Paying attention to the details of whether our actions cause discomfort to others and whether our actions are ethical will give us a wider view and better concentration while playing. Most importantly, we want to be such a humble and kind person.
The idea that not only training hard, but also keeping discipline in life is probably unique to the Japanese. However, I am proud of this beautiful belief. It is one of the things I want to keep in mind not only in Kendo, but also in my daily life and work.