I think that most of us have heard this sentence before:

The purpose of Kendo training is to make a better person but not necessary a better fighter.

I went to instruct Kendo at THU Kendo Club last night. During the break between suburi keiko and before putting on Bogu, I asked the students why do they like Kendo people? How do they feel about their favourite Kendoka?

I don’t know how to exactly translate those Chinese terms. However, all of those messages express that they feel very good about someone who can show an attitude of self-discipline. For those who make them feel they have good self-discipline, they also have good and strong Kendo, especially we can feel this from their vigour. And their “good and strong” attitude does not exist in Kendo Dojo only but “emitting” from them all the time! :)

I am very happy for this answer because this is what they really feel but not come from my mouth.

I use Kendo terms to explain to them that when we haven’t put on bogu, instructors can check your movement from the whole class and give you feedback. However, after putting on bogu, the sensei or instructor can only look at the person in front of them. And, it becomes very important that the students know and are willing to ask themselves to perform the correct Kendo techniques, rather than allowing the bogu “changes” their movement.

I think that you also know “hitting on your opponent” is not the main goal during Keiko especially in Ji-Keiko. The more important goal in Ji-keiko is to practice the technique you need to focus on and also to cultivate your vigour or mind. To achieve this goal, we need to have inner motivation that we are willing to achieve this. However, many beginners weight the “hitting” more then the “correctness” and waste the precious Keiko time.

To me, (this morning) this is my first time to make sense of the relationship between
yourself is your best enemy”.

Thus, I have better understanding about why Kendo can make a better person!

Hope to share my this new thought with you.


MrWoody said…
Very interesting, Sensei, and a timely reminder for us to focus on the appropriate things during training. It is easy for us at our stage to get excited about bogu and striking when perhaps seme and sen might be a better focus - and footwork of course.
I am going to focus on this today at training if we get a chance to strike our partner:

"many beginners weight the “hitting” more then the “correctness” and waste the precious Keiko time." [Sam]

This is an excellent reminder of the preciousness of each moment in training.. We have a short life to try to grow in kendo :-)