What is Kendo?

SamuraiFor the casual practitioner of Kendo, the sport merely serves as a convenient means of athletic catharcism; for the true kendoist, however, the feudal practice transcends the physical realm and embodies an aesthecism, constituting a deep spiritual passion – a way of life.

Albeit even the most renowned kendoists nowadays dare not duel without first securing their body with thick armor, though the principal weapon of the sport is a mere composition of bamboo and other trivial materials, the modern art of Kendo is actually a descendant form of kenjutsu, a fatalistic style of fencing practiced by the Japanese military and samurai warriors during the Kamakura period (1185–1333). Centuries prior to the establishment of nuclear warfare and gunfire militaries, potent countries relied on traditional forms of flesh-slicing weaponry and, even more so, on the rigorous mental and physical discipline of warriors for matters of national security and imperial prosperity. The practice of kenjutsu was more than a sport and the rigid discipline that characterizes the modern style is only a euphemized remnant of the severe reverence the martial practice received long ago, when the perfectability of swordsmanship and strategic forms positively-correlated to not only the honor of a warrior, but also the duration of his life during periods of military conflict.

Although the diminished existence of military clans in the modern day no longer warrants the necessity of such retentive adherence to the disciplinary principles of Kendo, the virtues relative to the ancestral form still pervade the evolved style of Kendo in the present day. As an organization that respectfully regards the sport of Kendo as an art form with an honorable association to several fundamental human virtures, Kendo Club strives to uphold the martial practice by promoting physical vigor, mental discipline, and the development of integrity and respect for others, ourselves, and the world that surrounds us.

(Article from the University of Califonia, Berkeley Kendo Club website)