Never mind that I spent my early adult years getting beat up by Kendōka (剣道家) with bamboo sticks (shinai, kendo bamboo practice swords) for most of my early adult life via my Kendo Training in Portland, Oregon. After realizing that fractured wrists and hamburger-feet weren’t conducive to my amateur tennis (Google Asian Males and Tennis), I evolved my martial arts training to Kendo’s natural progression; Iaido.
Growing up in a “John Wayne” culture in the early 1950s, I was often confused about my cultural identity, “Who was the Hero, Tanto or the Lone Ranger?” Was I supposed to be longing for a six-shooter or a bow and arrow and a knife between my teeth?
Well, it didn’t take too many sessions of me jumping on my Japanese Grandmother’s furniture pretending that I was Tarzan with a butter knife between my teeth before she introduced me to Japanese martial arts. I remember community events and picnics in my youth where my excited wide eyes and wide-open gaping mouth gave away what captivated my interest and what would later become one of my future pursuits of physical prowess.
Kendo Training: Discipline As a Young Adult
Important: Learn What’s Real and What’s Not; What Matters
I always appreciated my early martial arts training and more so of my Kendo Training because it separated the “Real” men and women from the children. Maybe I understood “Japanese Machismo” at an early age before most learned; I knew that if I was going to cry or complain, I had better need a hospital’s care or doctor’s attention. Needless to say, I laugh at how immature noises and complaints are “stroked” and coddled these days.
The Value and Need of Kendo Training in Modern Times
Kendo is a way to discipline the human character through the application of the principles of the Katana (Japanese Sword).
Kendo: The Way of the Sword (剣道 Kendō)
Dō: Path (Way)
- Disapline, Physical Conditioning, Connect Mind & Body
- Cultivate a Vigorous Spirit
- Improve, Nothing is Perfect
- Honor, Virtue, Respect
- Practice Sincerity
- Pursue the Cultivation of Oneself
What’s Next: Getting Into Fighting Shape
I’m applying these simple but valuable principles to find balance in my life and Kick Start this old body into “Fighting Shape”. Truth be told, since the elections in November 2016, I have been feeling a little off kilter and the inauguration in January pretty much put me in a dark place and I’m choosing to exercise extremely hard to get back into “Weapons” Shape.
Next: Kendo Tabatas
In the meantime, enjoy this movie clip from my childhood empowerment.