My Tokyo experience; Kendo

Arriving in Tokyo mid-July and working here until September 1st. A fantastic city with really nice people. I’m loving it to bits.

The focus is my work for Dualog and NYK, but in the weekends, I get to be a tourist. Visiting the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) was great. Seeing the old solar telescope in action was rather cool. Lots of old and new equipment. The 10-year old inside me was truly excited.

Beautiful Tokyo

Then, last night I went with Kaz san to his Dojo for Kendo practice. Kaz is a 5th Dan Kendo master, having practiced the art for decades. The Dojo where he practices is where the 5th to 7th Dan masters train (the highest in the world is 8th Dan).

Kaz san invited me and my son Niklas (19) who is with me on this trip to see the Kendo practice last week. I did train Kendo some 30 years ago and a spark was again ignited. Kaz picked that up and he invited me to join the training. In the picture below, Kaz san is at the bottom left.

Kendo practice

In the middle of the training one of the 7th Dan teacher came over to me and started training me. I got to hit him (rather hard) on the helmet dozens of time, practicing my newfound moves. He corrected me swiftly along the way while driving me to exhaustion.

Today my arms hate me. Its hard to lift them, let alone carry anything. Apparently I have used muscles that I didn’t know I had for the last 30 years. Kaz is a great teacher; so empathetic and focused and skilled, he is good at correcting one thing at a time and making sure I do it right enough. I believe I’m on the right path now that I’ve decided to start training again, even though my body doth protest.

My interest in the art goes beyond the mere techniques of sword fighting. Kendo embodies a mental discipline, honor and decency that attracts me. The art is very specific. With most other martial arts, one can train to always be able to hit back. With a sword fight, there would usually be no opportunity to hit back. You get that one chance of doing it right. I think I need the practice to become more patient.

The purpose outlined for Kendo is:

To mold the mind and body.
To cultivate a vigorous spirit
And through correct and rigid training,
To strive for improvement in the art of Kendo.
To hold in esteem human courtesy and honor.
To associate with others with sincerity.
And to forever pursue the cultivation of oneself.

Thus will one be able:
To love one's country and society;
To contribute to the development of culture;
And to promote peace and prosperity among all peoples.