About The Milwaukee Kendo Club

The dojo is not just a place to practice kendo, but a space where people gather both to enrich and be enriched by kendo. It is sacred without being a religion. Willingness, patience and acceptance are of greatest importance in kendo. Physical strength counts for very little. During practice one should always give 100%. Progress may be fast or slow, but no one will judge you. The atmosphere is one of support and community. Kendo embodies the samurai spirit. People who diligently practice kendo position themselves to become respectable members of society and be able to handle challenges thrown up by the world.

Principles of our dojo:

Embrace the spirit of learning and maintaining the right foundation, achieving breakthrough via exploration and transcendence. Then you will realize personal growth, harmony, peace and inner beauty.

Revere that which is sacred. Honor your parents. Respect your elders. Respect the property and rights of others.

Be thankful for everything, especially life, love and friends. Gratitude will bring happiness.

Discipline your mind and body so that you are the master of both. A disciplined person can achieve his or her goals.

A person's character is judged by their sincerity and integrity. Only those who are sincere and possess integrity are worthy of your friendship and trust.

Unity of mind, body and spirit are essential to success. Concentrate on the task at hand in the moment at hand.

About Kendo

Kendo is the modern martial art of Japanese swordsmanship, developed from traditional techniques of Japanese swordsmanship known as kenjutsu. Since 1975 the goal of Kendo has been stated by the All Japan Kendo Federation as "to discipline the human character through the application of the principles of the katana (the Japanese standard two handed sword)". However, Kendo combines martial arts values with sport elements, with some practitioners stressing the former and others the latter.

Taught using swords made of split bamboo called shinai and extensive protective armour (Bogu), practitioners are called kendoka or kenshi. Kendoka merely means one who practices kendo. Kenshi means swordsman. Both terms are used, though many clubs have a preference for one term. Kendoka also use bokuto (wooden katana) to practice set forms known as kata. On formal occasions, real swords or metal swords with a blunt edge, called habiki, can be used. There are 10 basic kata.

History of Kendo

Kendo, "The Way of The Sword", embodies the essence of the Japanese fighting arts. Since the earliest samurai government in Japan, during the Kamakura period (1185-1233), sword fencing, together with horse riding and archery, were the main martial pursuits of the military clans. In this period Kendo developed under the strong influence of Zen Buddhism. The samurai could equate the disregard for his own life in the heat of battle, which was considered necessary for victory in individual combat, to the Buddhist concept of the illusory nature of the distinction between life and death. Since that time many warriors have become enlightened through Kendo practice. Those swordsmen established schools of Kendo training which continued for centuries, and which form the basis of Kendo practice today. The names of the schools reflect the essence of the originator’s enlightenment. Thus the Itto-Ryu (Single sword school) indicates the founder’s illumination that all possible cuts with the sword emanate from and are contained in one original essential cut. The Muto (sword less school) expresses the comprehension of the originator Yamaoka Tesshu, that "There is no sword outside the mind". The Munen Muso Ryu (No Intent, No preconception) similarly expresses the understanding that the essence of Kendo transcends the reflective thought process.

The formal Kendo exercises set down sometimes several centuries ago are studied today using wooden swords in set forms, or kata. Training using bamboo practice swords and substantial armour includes both formal exercises and free fencing. Thus today it is possible to embark on the quest for spiritual enlightenment followed by the samurai of old. Concepts such as Mushin, or empty mind as professed by exponents of Zen are an essential attainment for high level Kendo. Fudoshin, or Unmoving Mind, a conceptual attribute of the deity Fudo Myo-O, one of the five Kings of Light of Shingon Buddhism, implies that the fencer cannot be led astray by delusions of anger, doubt, fear, or surprise arising from his opponent’s actions.

In 1920, DaiNippon Butoku Kai (developer of the Japan Martial Arts Foundation) changed the name of Gekiken "hitting sword" to Kendo.
History of Kendo by Victor Harris, http://www.kendo.co.uk