Sport

Nov 1, 2017

BUDDHIST SPIRIT

The Japanese martial art created in the 14th century is now a sport of high competition and a purely performance art. But there was a time in which to wield a sword, could establish a line between life and death.

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By PIOTR PETROVICH

This art is developed from traditional combat techniques with swords of the Samurai, from the times of feudal Japan.

The sword was regarded as one of the most noble arms, by picking a closeness where the warriors were put to the test in the face of the enemy to their honour and bravery. For this reason, were also offered to Buddhist temples as divine treasures or as a symbol of the appointment of a big job.

It is one of the many weapons used at that time in battles and there are many stories, myths, and traditional Japanese legends about this true art.

The story tells us that from the mid-15th century and for a hundred years, Japan went through a period of civil wars between clans. During this period, the sword fighting technique was perfected by the warriors and there were born many tendencies of combat with the sword.

This clearance was due to the fact that the drills were not practiced with bamboo swords, or body protectors. Each school had its own methods, techniques and movements that were repeated over and over until the movements of attack and defence were absorbed by the practitioner (kenshi or kendoca).

It is from the early 17th century that the feudal system and a system of classes in Japanese society is installed. It's from here on, under the influence of Confucianism and Buddhism, that the combat techniques and the learning methods are improved and acquire the moral and spiritual values which are currently recognized to most of the Japanese martial arts.

It's these character improvements that lead to the practice of several of these arts were rooted in Japanese culture under the leadership of the clan chiefs, but in a manner to cover all society, thus spreading the culture of moral and social values. It is only in the middle 18th century that the use of primitive protections are introduced along with the Bamboo swords, what brought the practice of Kendo closer to what we know today.

The art kept evolving and gathering even more the spiritual and moral components always with the formation and education objective.

In 1866, due to the continuous peace, the use of fire arms was abolished and the development of these artifacts was stopped by the emperor's order. In other hand, the use of the sword lasted throughout the centuries, laying on the much Japanese premise of "the path should be walked within the law of the feather and the sword".

The class of the samurai warriors was extinct in 1876, again by the emperor's orders, and under the modern vision Japan wanted to hold. For this reason, the practice of Kendo was extinct from curricula activities of schools until 1890, the year it returned as part of the educational system, although as an extra curricula activity.

The discipline was targeted over a policy of promotion and development from 1895, thanks to the creation of Dai Nippon Butokukai Association which gathered all the schools and techniques of the Kendo practice.

According to the discipline's practice philosophy, this should serve to mould the body and mind, cultivate a vigorous spirit through the hard and rigorous training, maintain a courtesy, education and honour spirit and always maintain oneself in the path of self-perfection. It's important to refer that during the practice of the discipline, kenshi (or kendoca: Kendo practitioner) should not strike blows to unsuited spots, nor should he waste strikes, rather attack the opponent with the objective of breaking is posture through strikes appliance with the thought of death.

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