Kaifukan Kendo

Kendo, which is one of the most traditional of all Japanese martial arts, is popularly conceived as a technique of self-defense. But let's stop to think for a moment whether kendo truly is an effective art of self-defense. In this day and age when we no longer carry swords around, I doubt seriously that kendo can be much use as a self-defense martial art. Then, why are so many people interested in kendo?

People who are interested in learning some form of art of swordsmanship obviously are interested in swords. There are those who choose to take up kendo because of their interest in Japanese culture and/or its samurai history. These are natural inducements to take up kendo. But hopefully their interest in swords and swordsmanship does not directly connect to their expectation that the techniques they learn in kendo can be utilized in real street fights. If this is the reason, they will be disappointed because it is not what they will be taught in Kaifukan. Moreover, those with this misconception will not be allowed to become Kaifukan students.

Kendo, the application of the principles of the sword, demands strenuous physical training, and through this, it will make your physical constitution strong. Moreover, the strict and correct training requires perseverance and tenacity, and this will make you both spiritually strong and mentally focused.

Kendo is deeply rooted in the Japanese culture. When you practice kendo you will be taught, not only sword techniques, but 'rei' - the most fundamental requirement for a civilized person. 'Rei' means respect, consideration, honor, regards for others, appreciation, admiration, esteem, politeness and all other values that characterize a noble human being. In kendo, 'rei' is considered more important than the sword technique itself. There is a saying, "The practice of kendo begins with 'rei' and ends with 'rei.'" For those who may not understand what this sentence means... it DOSEN'T mean 'rei' starts when you come into dojo and you leave it behind when you leave the place. It CORRECTLY means 'rei' permeates throughout our practice in order to make it the primary attitude and nature of one's life. Kendo is the quest to cultivate and practice these lofty values through the way of sword.

Kaifukan kendo, in short, is strictly and purely the training of the mind and body. Although persons of all ages and gender can practice it, it is physically strenuous and often times mentally exhausting. You may join and practice kendo at Kaifukan dojo if you have a strong determination, an unwavering commitment and above all, respect and trust in your sensei's instructions under any circumstances. 

Kaifukan students will not participate in ‘shiai’ or tournament. Shiai can be fun and exciting. But the extreme emphasis on shiai driven kendo leads to excessive sportification and that it deviates from the orthodox, traditional art of Japanese swordsmanship. Regretfully in the last few decades, shiai has become the main purpose of kendo training, robbing it of its authenticity and beauty, for the vast majority of the young kendoists, dojos and the collective dojo associations or federations worldwide. Kaifukan believes that shiai will destroy not only the traditional heritage of kendo practice, but moreover, shiai hinders the students from their pursuit of the real objective of “ken-do,” which is "the way of sword' or "the way of life."