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Cool Japan / Kendo (剣道)

File:Kendo.JPG
(Two kendoka in tsuba zeriai)

Kendo (剣道), meaning "Way of The Sword", is a modern Japanese martial art of sword-fighting based on traditional Japanese swordsmanship, or kenjutsu. Kendo is a physically and mentally challenging activity that combines strong martial arts values with sport-like physical elements.
52nd All Japan Kendo Championships Finals

Since the earliest samurai government in Japan, during the Kamakura period (1185–1333), sword fencing, together with horse riding and archery, were the main martial pursuits of the military clans. In this period kendo developed under the strong influence of Zen Buddhism. The samurai could equate the disregard for his own life in the heat of battle, which was considered necessary for victory in individual combat, to the Buddhist concept of the illusory nature of the distinction between life and death.
File:Takasugishinsaku kendo.jpg
(Late Edo period kendo practitioner.)

Kendo training is quite noisy in comparison to some other martial arts or sports. This is because kendōka use a shout, or kiai (気合い), to express their fighting spirit when striking. Additionally, kendoka execute fumikomi-ashi (踏み込み足), an action similar to a stamp of the front foot, when making a strike.
http://www.owarikenren.org/048_edited.jpg

Like some other martial arts, kendōka train and fight barefoot. Kendo is ideally practiced in a purpose-built dojo, though standard sports halls and other venues are often used. An appropriate venue has a clean and well-sprung wooden floor, suitable for fumikomi-ashi.
http://www.f-budogu.jp/shopimages/gcom732/001002000003.jpg

Modern kendo techniques comprise both strikes and thrusts. Strikes are only made towards specified target areas (打突-部位 datotsu-bui) on the wrists, head, or body, all of which are protected by armor. The targets are men, sayu-men or yoko-men (upper left or right side of the men), the right kote at any time, the left kote when it is in a raised position, and the left or right side of the do. Thrusts (突き tsuki) are only allowed to the throat. However, since an incorrectly performed thrust could cause serious injury to the opponent's neck, thrusting techniques in free practice and competition are often restricted to senior dan graded kendōka.

By TS on Jan 14, 2012
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