This fascination led me to try a Kendo experience, a traditional Japanese martial art using bamboo swords, emulating the style of samurai katana duels. And I have to say I was quite impressed by the experience provided to me by Samurai Trips and have become a huge fan of Kendo.
I had never done any such martial arts, and I was quite excited. Upon meeting the sensei, I was given a brief but insightful introduction to Kendo, its history, and its cultural significance.
Putting on the Kendo armor and attire, with assistance from the sensei, was a fun experience in itself. I have to say I felt a step closer to understanding the samurai spirit. My colleague, Josip, was also getting ready to participate in the lesson.
Guided by the sensei, we started with basic leg movements and sword techniques. An essential part of the training was understanding the etiquette of Kendo, including the proper way to bow.
The primary moves – Men (head strike), Kote (hand strike), and Dō (torso strike) – were practiced intensely. These strikes, though forceful, were safe due to the well-designed armor. It was actually quite fun to stand there as sensei strikes you in the head multiple times, and you feel no pain.
The rhythmic sounds of bamboo swords clashing and the focused footwork added to the intensity of the training. This practice not only honed our physical skills but also instilled a sense of discipline and respect, fundamental to Kendo.
As we progressed, the sensei emphasized the importance of precision and control, ensuring that each strike was a blend of strength and technique. This was important since you didn’t want to be afraid of both giving and taking strikes.
The highlight was the duel with Josip. As you might have guessed, I was quite excited to see who would come up on top! The duel started with proper ceremonial bows and preparations, reflecting the respect and discipline inherent in Kendo.
The sensei tied balloons to our heads, with the goal of bursting the opponent’s balloon first. It was an intense and exhilarating battle, but I managed to win in the end!
But the ultimate challenge was a two-against-one duel with the sensei. Despite our best efforts and many attacks, the sensei, with his skill and experience, easily outmaneuvered us, showcasing the true artistry of a Kendo master. And when he decided to attack, it was all over in a few seconds. I was stunned by his speed and accuracy.
My Kendo experience was an eye-opening look into a discipline that perfectly marries physical and mental skills with cultural depth. The lessons learned in the dojo, from the focused duels to the insightful teachings of our sensei, have left an impression on me, and I think I will start practicing Kendo myself when I get home.
This art form, deeply rooted in the samurai traditions, offers a unique perspective on Japanese culture. For those planning a trip to Japan and looking for an authentic and engaging experience, I highly recommend checking out the Samurai Trip website.
Whether you’re a martial arts enthusiast or simply curious about Japanese heritage, a Kendo session here promises to be an unforgettable part of your journey.