Kendo vs Kenjutsu - Martial arts have been an integral part of human culture for centuries, and Japan has contributed significantly to developing and popularizing various martial arts styles. Kendo and Kenjutsu are two martial arts that center around using swords as the primary weapon. Despite sharing similarities in their practice of sword techniques, they differ significantly in their origins, purpose, training, and techniques.
Origins and Purpose - Kendo vs Kenjutsu
Kendo is a modern martial art that developed from Kenjutsu in the early 20th century, with the primary objective of character and discipline development. During the Meiji period, Japan underwent a significant transformation, and the art of Kenjutsu evolved into a more sport-like version called Kendo. Kendo's founder, Naganuma Sirōzaemon Kunisato, developed Kendo as a way to help restore the Japanese spirit after the country's defeat in the Russo-Japanese War. In training, Kendo aims to develop a person's character and discipline using a bamboo stick, swords (shinai), and protective gear (bogu).
The practice involves:
Kendo's ultimate goal is to balance the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of a practitioner's life.
On the other hand, Kenjutsu is a traditional Japanese martial art that originated in feudal Japan, focusing on training warriors to use swords for practical purposes, such as in battle. The techniques and strategies were designed to be effective in combat situations rather than for sporting purposes. The art of Kenjutsu was used by the samurai class in feudal Japan as a means of self-defense and was taught alongside other martial arts like archery and horse riding. The ultimate goal of Kenjutsu was to develop practical skills that can be used in real-life situations rather than focusing on spiritual development or character building.
Training and Techniques - Kendo vs Kenjutsu
The training in Kendo involves the use of bamboo swords (shinai) and protective gear (bogu) for the practice of kata (predetermined forms) and sparring with other practitioners (keiko). Kendo emphasizes the practice of kata and sparring to perfect technique, speed, and accuracy, as well as develop mental and physical discipline. The practice of Kendo requires the use of protective gear, including a helmet, gloves, and a chest protector, to ensure safety during sparring sessions. Kendo also emphasizes the development of footwork, positioning, and timing, which are essential in sword fighting. The practice of Kendo can be quite strenuous and requires a significant amount of physical and mental discipline.
Kenjutsu, on the other hand, involves training with a real sword, emphasizing practical techniques such as cutting, thrusting, and blocking, as well as strategy and tactics for different combat scenarios. The training in Kenjutsu includes not just sword techniques but also unarmed combat, such as grappling and throwing. In Kenjutsu, practitioners learn how to draw, hold, and use a real sword, which requires an immense amount of focus and concentration. The practice of Kenjutsu can be quite physically demanding, as it involves various sword techniques that require a significant amount of strength, agility, and endurance. In addition, Kenjutsu also involves training in unarmed combat, which helps practitioners to develop the necessary skills to defend themselves in close combat situations.
Competitive Aspect - Kendo vs Kenjutsu
Kendo has a strong competitive aspect, with various levels of the competition held locally, regionally, and internationally. Competitions involve sparring with an opponent and scoring points by striking specific targets on the body. Kendo competitions are usually judged based on the precision of the strikes, the correct posture, and the correct use of footwork. The competitive aspect of Kendo is designed to help practitioners improve their technique and develop mental toughness and resilience. Kendo competitions can be highly intense and require significant amounts of physical and mental endurance.
While Kenjutsu does not have a formal competitive aspect in the same way as Kendo, some schools of Kenjutsu do hold competitions, and some practitioners choose to compete in other martial arts competitions as well. However, the primary focus of Kenjutsu is on training for practical purposes rather than for winning competitions. The art of Kenjutsu was originally designed to help warriors defend themselves in real-life combat situations, which remains the art's primary focus today. The practice of Kenjutsu can help practitioners develop practical skills that can be used in self-defense situations and develop physical and mental discipline.
Spirituality - Kendo vs Kenjutsu
Kendo strongly emphasizes the development of the spirit, with practitioners striving to cultivate a sense of respect, self-control, and discipline. The practice of Kendo is seen as a means of developing one's character and becoming a better person, with spiritual development considered just as important as physical and technical training. Kendo's practice can help practitioners develop a sense of self-discipline and a deeper understanding of themselves and their place in the world.
In contrast, while Kenjutsu also incorporates spiritual elements, it emphasizes the practical aspects of sword training and combat. The ultimate goal of Kenjutsu is to develop practical skills that can be used in real-life situations rather than focusing on spiritual development or character building. However, the practice of Kenjutsu can still help practitioners to develop a sense of discipline, focus, and mental fortitude, which can be beneficial in all aspects of life.
Kendo and Kenjutsu are two unique martial arts that have evolved with different purposes, training methods, and techniques. Kendo is a modern sport that emphasizes character and discipline development, with a focus on achieving a balance between physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of life, while Kenjutsu focuses on practical sword techniques and strategy for combat. Each martial art has its own training methods, techniques, and competitive aspects, which should be considered when choosing the right martial art for individual interests and goals. Ultimately, both martial arts offer unique benefits to practitioners, and the decision of which one to choose depends on individual interests, goals, and preferences. - Kendo vs Kenjutsu