Thread: Kendo & Aikido
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Old 01-07-2003, 05:44 PM   #13
Kent Enfield
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Location: Oregon, USA
Join Date: Jul 2002
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Re: Re: Re: Kendo & Aikido

Edward Karaa (Edward) wrote:
Is it true that striking style is different between kenjutsu and kendo? I heard that in kenjutsu (as well as aikiken) strikes are intended to cut down an opponent, hence the wide movements, while kendo uses short movements because the purpose is to hit the opponent with the shinai as fast as possible, but the point winning blows in kendo would not be effective in cutting down with a real sword.
Sort of. In kendo you usually do not try to cut clean through the opponent. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that doing so results in concussions and broken arms (or other body parts, if off target). The second is that if you miss completely, your recovery time is longer, which is quite important when your partner is actively trying cut you as well. However, you do try to strike so you could cut cleanly through, if you wanted to. That said, if you cut shomen down to the chin or down to the waist, which gets the opponent deader?

Now, in the kata, the cuts that miss go all the way through. The ones that don't stop before making contact.

The small movements (called sashi waza) are usually saved for tournaments, and usually disappear as a person becomes more skilled and creates better opportunities for attack. However, sashi waza are still done strongly and I wouldn't want to receive them with a real sword.
Edward Karaa (Edward) wrote:
One more point, the areas which get you points in kendo are normally heavily protected by armor. Therefore, kenjutsu techniques are usually aimed at unprotected areas such as armpits, knees, back... etc. and these are illegal in kendo.
I see this a lot, and it shows a basic misunderstanding of what kendo is. The practitioners wear protective gear to avoid serious injury, but they are not wearing armor. Kendo is about unarmored combat, in which the wrists, head, throat, and abdomen are all good targets. Yes, there are only a few specific targets that earn points in contest, but they're all the main ones.

And if you can hit someone in the back, you can hit them in the head.
Edward Karaa (Edward) wrote:
Having practiced competitive Judo for many years, I sadly found out that I reached a certain stage where I could not consciously do a full simple technique anymore, but was continuously concentrating on feints, switching techniques, and counter-attacks. I am not sure how it is in kendo, but I worry that shiai conditions would produce a similar effect.
This seems odd to me. Did you never do uchikomi?

Anyway, in kendo, it's pretty much impossible to switch techniques once you've begun to do one.

Responsive/defensive techniques are usually considered mid- to high-level (sandan or so and up) techniques. You'll certainly be exposed to them at lower levels, but you'll probably not be expected to be able to perform them at low levels. There's actually a good chance you'll be discouraged from practicing them. What's the point of learning to set up men off your opponents strike, when your men itself still needs a lot of work?

That all said, kendo people don't consider high skill to be the ability to pull off fancy and intriquate waza. It's the ability to strike men (which you'll be introduced to the first lesson) cleanly.
Fiona Darbyshire (Fiona D) wrote:
What I've seen so far from the bokken suburi in the aikido sessions is a completely different kind of cut - almost looks like more of a 'hit', where the arms drop down first and the tip of the bokken blade flicks down sharply just afterwards.
I've seen that in kendo as well. It's popular among children and is considered bad form. It's easy to do and less tiring, but it reduces your reach significantly and more importantly is no good for cutting. Even sword schools that use a more compact cutting style don't let the tip trail the hands.
Chuck Gordon (LOEP) wrote:
If you can, try to find a dojo that teaches the kendo no kata and some iaido.
Maybe things are different in Germany, but in the US all kendo dojo teach the kendo kata. If they didn't, the students would be stuck at nikyu. Beyond that, must even low level yudansha grasp the importance of kata practice. Iaido pracitce certainly emphasizes different things than kendo, but with exceptions of batto and noto, the only thing that's in iaido that's not in kendo is cutting at some slightly different angles and at some slightly different targets.

Now besides just contradicting people, I'll respond to the initial question. If you're interested in improving your aikido sword work, by all means take up kendo. However, practice it as its own thing.

You may not like it, but you won't know unless you try it.

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