Kendo is the Japanese word for “The way of the sword”. “Ken” means sword and “Do” means ‘the way’. It originated and developed in Japan from the time of the Samurai warrior. The Samurai in ancient Japan were highly skilled warriors who protected their feudal lords from the time of the 8th century through to the 17th century. Proper Kendo schools appeared in the early Muromachi period from 1390-1600 AD and have continued to this day.
Kendo is a unique mental and physical discipline.
Kendo training was not solely directed at perfecting the Samurai warrior’s ability with the sword. Through his Kendo practice the Samurai also developed his inner strength, his mental power and his character. Kendo is a unique mental and physical discipline which contains many of the elements of Zen. Zen meditation, intense concentration, controlled breathing from the “hara” or lower abdomen are all integrated into Kendo training. Both the Samurai warrior of yesteryear and the serious Kendo student of today pursue a calmness of spirit and perfection of character through the principles of Kendo and Zen.
It is often very difficult for people to understand that such a seemingly ‘vicious looking’ art as Kendo is actually practised as a means of developing world peace. There are in fact over 7.5 million people studying and practising Kendo in over 60 countries throughout the world today.