Introduction to Kendo (02:16)
Kendo, dating back centuries, is the oldest and most popular martial art in Japan. Miyamoto Musashi wrote "The Book of Five Rings," taught kendo, and also worked as an artist. Over generations, strategies became specific disciplines in kendo.
Practicing in a Dojo (03:47)
Competitors earn points by accurately striking or thrusting the head, wrist, chest, or throat. Every engagement begins and ends with a sonkyo. Today, practitioners use a shinai instead of swords.
Competing in Kendo (02:17)
Each competition includes referees, judges, and a timekeeper. Each competitor wears a colored thread and colored flags are raised to announce who earned a point. As the competitors strike, they announce the location of their attack: men, kote, bu, or tsuki.
The Competitors (02:01)
Miss Honga has practiced kendo for years while working at Japan Airlines. Another competitor works as an editor of science books and has studied kendo for 8 years. On the wall of the dojo is a banner that reads "No thoughts. No thoughts."
Another Kind of Kendo (03:43)
Children of the town of Yagyu study a unique combination of kendo and Zen. The priest explains that his teachings help both the mind and the body. Martial arts were banned for a time after World War II but recently began to flourish in schools and clubs.
At Katori Jingu Shrine (03:18)
Iizasa Lenao is buried near the Katori Jingu shrine. Few westerners visit the shrine because it is far away from tourist locations. Donn Draeger explains how studying martial arts is no longer about protection but about preserving cultural heritage.
At the Budokan (03:30)
Every year, martial arts experts gather to demonstrate their prowess at a specific type of ryu, a school or style. Watch a demonstration of Shinkage-ryu. Other styles employ naginatas, sodegarami, and tree limbs to defend oneself.
Experts perform training exercises for practitioners of martial arts. Watch demonstrations of Niten Ichi-ryu, Jijitsu, Jujitsu, shooting, and other martial arts. Each presentation concludes with a formal bow of respect.
Samurai Films (02:44)
Watch a martial arts scene from "The Bored Retainer" starring Hideki Takahashi. A fight coordinator shows the actors how to attack and die properly. Kendo has spread into New York City.
Credits: Kendo: The Way of the Sword (01:03)
Credits: Kendo: The Way of the Sword
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