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The history of Kendo (the way of the sword) is intrinsically linked to the very history of Japan. Modern kendo represents a method of training in the Japanese sword which is both safe and in keeping with contemporary society. Kendo was not originated or developed by any definite person or persons, but rather evolved naturally through long experience in actual combat.

After the beginning of the Edo period (1603 - 1867) the way of the sword developed less as a combat technique than as a method of refining both the minds and bodies of the samurai. The latter half of the eighteenth century saw the evolution of the prototypes of the protective devices called the men, kote and do and of the practice of using a bamboo sword called the shinai. Before the use of these protective devices, the danger of the naked sword itself made actual thrusts and strikes impossible.

But the use of protective coverings and non-lethal weapons contributed to a practice method in which strikes and thrusts can be carried out. This in turn stimulated the number of competitive bouts of swordsmanship, contributed to the conversion of swordsmanship into a kind of sport, and exerted an immense influence on the future development of kendo.

Shinai Kyogi, a pure sport form of kendo, was originated around 1952 when the All Japan Kendo Federation was formed. In 1967, the first International Goodwill Kendo Tournament was held in Tokyo. In 1970 the International Kendo Federation was founded with the aim of promoting kendo development in may countries.

 

The concept of kendo is to discipline the human character through the application of the principles of the katana.

The purpose of practising 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 honour,
To associate with others with sincerity,
And to forever pursue the cultivation of oneself.

Thus will one be able
To love his/her country and society,
To contribute to the development of culture,
And to promote peace and prosperity among all peoples.

 

Yuko Datotsu is an effective (scoring) cut in Kendo. In order for Yuko Datotsu to be achieved, five elements need to be included in the execution of a definitive cut. These five elements are:

  1. Kamaeru     Posture
    Objective: to be prepared to attack or defend.
  2. Semeru      Controlling Centre
    Objective: to break opponents chudan (kamae)
  3. Toraeru      Opportunity
    Objective: to determine where opportunity is in oppoents broken chudan
  4. Utsu           Datotsu
    Objective: Datotsu (effective cut)
  5. Zanshin     Remaining Heart
    Objective: to come back to a fighting posture (chudan) so that you are ready to cut again.

When judging, the following points should be closely observed in order for Yuko Datotsu to be awarded.

  1. Correct posture should be shown.
  2. The correct target should be hit.
  3. The correct part of the shinai should be used.
  4. Intention must be clear.
  5. Zanshin must be present.

 

 

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