kendō goes back to the Samurai or warrior class of Old Japan. We use bamboo shinai or practice swords, wearing protective armour. Training is under the watchful eyes of the Sensei, as discipline is necessary to master the sword techniques and ultimately oneself.
There are ‘4 Poisons’ to overcome in Kendō: fear, doubt, surprise and confusion. By confronting these, Kendō students can attain a calm mind to face their everyday problems.
The requirements in the training are: correct posture, cuts with the correct part of the shinai to specific targets, fast movement of the feet and ‘kiai’ with each cut. Kiai is the intense explosive ‘attacking’ sound made at the opponent when the cut is delivered. We also use the word ‘Reigi’ to describe the discipline or etiquette of kendō. It is this reigi or respect between kendōka, that is as old as kendō itself. It is said that ‘kendō begins and ends with reigi’.
Our Sensei, Roald Knutsen and his wife Patricia, worked hard to establish Kendō not only in this country but also in France, Belgium, Germany, and Sweden. Their task was officially supported by Field Marshal Sir Francis Festing, Sir Frank Bowden and Mr, Charles de Beaumont amongst others. The British Kendō Renmei is however particularly grateful to the efforts and invaluable support freely given over the years, by numerous very senior and respected 8th and 9th dan Hanshi Japanese Kendō masters, together with Dr. Benjamin H. Hazard, 7th dan Kyoshi, in California. Kendō swordsmanship has been in Brighton and Lewes for over 50 years under Japanese trained 6th and 7th dan teachers.
We follow the traditions of self-discipline and awareness through the use of the sword.