The Return of Kendo - June 21, 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Master Amsell explains the katana
The AMK returned to its roots this past Saturday and reintroduced the martial art of Kendo. As most AMK members already know, Kendo was Master Amsell's first martial art. In our school, it is the martial art that bridges the gap between Aikido and Taekwondo. Since our school does multiple martial arts, we have also purposely made our curriculum in a way where each martial art can build on the previous. Kendo is a martial art that we do not cover as much as Taekwondo, Judo/Jujitsu, Hapkido, or Aikido. The main reason is because Kendo is a very complex and difficult martial art to learn. The mental aspect of Kendo is one of the most difficult components. Once students have had exposure to our other martial arts, it is time to move into Kendo where students will discover that it will complements the other martial arts very well. Today's class focused on two main martial arts: Kendo and Aikido. Each martial art was taught independently and the focus was how Aikido and Kendo complement each other.

The day started with Lisa SBN using key Aikido warm-ups to help everyone with the footwork that will be used in Kendo. Then several exercises were done to warm-up with the shinai. Following that, Master Amsell started at the beginning history of Kendo: the katana. He explained it's purpose and how it was made. He then went into the next step from the katana which was the bokken. The bokken was finally followed by the shinai. Each part of the shinai was discussed and the proper way to hold it when not in use. The bōgu (Kendo armor) was explained next as well as the main targets. That was followed by the kamae (ready) position and how to not leave any openings to be attacked and how to keep the shinai steady. Next, the very important area of footwork was covered. The footwork was also explained in relation to Taekwondo and Aikido. The first strike: men (head) was also introduced. The class concluded with the proper finish as well as care for the shinai.

Aikido was covered in the next portion of the class. The class started with the ideogram meanings behind the Kanji characters for Aikido. That was  followed by the basic footwork exercises that Lisa SBN taught as an introduction to Kendo. It was now being expanded into actual applications. Heavy focus was placed on footwork as well as the three principles of Aikido: kokyu-ryoku (breathing power), tai-no-sabaki (body movements), and ki-no-musubi (tying or knotting ki). In addition to the three principles, Lisa SBN emphasized certain Ki aspects of Aikido to complement the chi sao training that was covered during the week at Boeing.

As most students are now fully aware, the class is taking a very focused direction. One main area that is now focused on intensely is how each martial art we teach builds upon another and how many components in different martial arts (such as softness) are actually used in all. One example to remember is that if you are too rigid in your techniques, your ability to adapt and "sense" change is absent (If you don't know what I'm talking about, ask me and I will demonstrate that concept for you). From now on, each instructor and student should work diligently to FIND the relationship between martial arts and how that knowledge can make you a well-rounded and complete martial artist. -LSA

Kendo men
Kendo shinai

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