English 1 A
Kendo is a popular swordplay sport, but it is restricted in its targets; wouldn’t it be more interesting if you didn’t have these limits? In Kenjutsu, the origin of Kendo, the targets are not restricted, and it’s not some sport, it’s almost a way of life. Kenjutsu was the original technique that the samurai of Japan used. Many styles have branched off of this main teaching but we don’t care about them. The Japanese sword technique of Kenjutsu is a wonderful way to learn respect, get into physical shape, learn a bit about the past, and you may be able to try it!
To start out on why Kenjutsu is beneficial to your life, you should learn some of the history and general facts of the art. The art of Kenjutsu was used by samourai and other warriors. It’s an older art from which many other styles came from. The most popular of these is Kendo. The difference between Kenjutsu and Kendo is mostly Kendo is a sport, Kenjutsu is an art; Kendo has limitations to where you can strike, Kenjutsu doesn’t. A good summary is found on this martial arts site: “This art was studied and praticed by the bushi (warriors) and samourai since the 11th century. In the 16th century, there was an explosion of styles, with many being formed between then and the present. Kenjutsu is the ancestor of Kendo, a pacifical martial art.” (Kenjutsu) Illustrated in this is quote is the background of Kenjutsu. The samourai used this art for a long time, and many other styles were able to use it. This means Kenjutsu is a worth while art. An art worth learning is Kenjutsu, it’s been used for 100s of years, and many other styles were based off of it. Only a successful art could produce something like that.
One of the best things you can learn from Kenjutsu is respect. When practicing Kenjutsu the student must show respect to his dojo, his sensei, his sword, and his training partner. Each one of these is done uniquely and carefully. Above all when ever a student is standing up they NEVER learn on their sword for support. It would be better to fall on their face then to disgrace themselves by leaning on their sword when getting up. (David T. Bish) The first bow that one does is to the dojo and looks something like this: “When bowing into the dojo or to the alter, the sword should be transferred to the right hand with the Tsuka toward the rear and the Ha toward the ground. This is a sign of deepest respect and trust since holding the sword in this position makes it impossible to draw.” (David T. Bish) This bow is known as Hairei. This is only the first bow out of four. The process of bowing, each one unique, teaches respect to the pupils that learn Kenjutsu, as well as any martial art. Again we see how Kenjutsu is a great way to improve your life, this time with respect
When one wants to learn Kenjutsu, they should know if they are up to it. The art of Kenjutsu may require some background skill in some areas. The training for the art itself takes about 2 years, and that’s only with wooden swords. (Kenjutsu - Japanese Sword Training) This is from the United States Tae Kwon Do Academy website explaining the 2 year training period: “This approach is primary for SAFETY and to teach the student basic history, basic attire, equipment and skills.” This is what it takes to learn Kenjutsu, the United States Tae Kwon Do Academy allow you to do it if you are a 1st or 2nd degree black belt. This is unique to their teachings. Now we have seen what it takes to learn the art of Kenjutsu, it may be a good idea to try. The benefits don’t stop here.
Finally we can know about the main benefits of Kenjutsu. Some of these are apparent others may not be. Exercise is an obvious advantage to practicing Kenjutsu. But so is good foot work. Good foot work is big in most martial arts, and if you can strengthen it, that’s always a plus. (The Budo Page) On The Budo Page: “Practicing kenjutsu also helps you mentally in many ways. Although we are pretty laid back as far as formality goes, your training should be deadly serious. What I mean by this is; in kenjutsu you must realize that most of our techniques and teachings are designed to kill your opponent.” As you can see, Kenjutsu doesn’t just strengthen you physically but mentally as well. If you can strengthen your mind, that’s a great benefit. Kenjutsu isn’t just an art for swordplay it’s also a work out in more ways than one. A good idea to try it right?
Learning to sharpen your mind, respect your elders, some history and knowing if you can learn the art of Kenjutsu, is a great idea. Kenjutsu was used hundreds of years ago, where samurai used constantly. Not only do you learn swordplay in Kenjutsu but respect for most everything; morals are a huge benefit. If you do want to learn Kenjutsu, you should have some background in martial arts, but it will take a while to learn the actual art. Also when practicing the art, one can learn foot work and sharpen the mind, only two pluses out of the whole 2 or more years you spend mastering Kenjutsu. The art that the samurai used years ago isn’t gone, it’s got great benefits, why not give it a try, you can learn many things.
Bish, David T. "Kenjutsu." United States Ju-Jitsu Federation. Web. 22 May
"Kenjutsu - Japanese Sword Training | United States Tae Kwon Do Academy."
Welcome to the United States Taekwondo Academy | United States Tae Kwon
Do Academy. Web. 22 May 2011. .
"Kenjutsu." Martial-Way.com : The Martial Arts Portal. Web. 22 May 2011.
"Kenjutsu Sword Techniques : A Brief Intro." Web. 22 May 2011.
"Kenjutsu." The Budo Page. Web. 22 May 2011.
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