Kendo is a Japanese martial art that descended from the sword fighting techniques that were used in the days of the samurai warriors. When samurai had time off because there wasn’t a war to fight in at that moment, they still needed to keep their skills up to date in case they were needed again. This sword fighting practice eventually turned into a martial art.
History of Swordsmanship
The swords that were used by samurai in Japan in the 11th century had a specific shape with an arched blade with raised ridges. Then, during a period of great social unrest in Japan in around the 15th century, many schools for learning the techniques of sword fighting were established. Because a higher-quality iron was used to cast swords at this time, the heavy battling style that was usual until then changed to a lighter style, influencing the techniques that Kendo practitioners use these days.
Then, a more peaceful period in the history of Japan started with the Edo period (1603-1868). This was the time when the techniques of using the sword changed from ways to efficiently kill an opponent to one of developing your personality through concepts of a disciplined lifestyle that was usual amongst samurai. There were many books written on this subject in the Edo period, and many of these writings still influence modern Kendo practitioners.
Samurai also faithfully read these books and learned important lessons from them, learning how to live austerely, cultivate your mind, learning how to tell good from evil, and completely focus on the refinement of your skills. They also learned how to sacrifice themselves for the greater good, for the clan and their feudal lord. These days, this samurai spirit can still be found in employees, who still learn that sacrificing yourself for the group is the done thing.
Nowadays, Kendo is practiced all over the world, as it is a great challenging physical activity for both body and mind. In Japan, it is even a part of the (optional) school curriculum for students. If you come to Japan and want to see a practice of Kendo, it is possible to watch from the sidelines at some schools. If you are interested in Kendo or any other martial art you can let us know when you are booking a tour, and we can work with you to incorporate this in your itinerary.