kendo
I recently started Kendo and had a sore left pinkie after my first practice. The proper grip of a Japanese sword relies on a grip focused on the pinkie of the left hand. Today, I learned that the tradition of chopping the left pinkie as punishment for disgrace was based on this fact. Without a left pinkie, it's quite difficult to grip a Japanese sword.

In the May 15 incident the Prime Minister of Japan, Tsuyoshi Inukai was assassinated by eleven young Naval Officers. After the court martial, eleven severed fingers were sent to the court house.

Today, the Yakuza continue this tradition, even though swords are no longer the weapon of choice.

21 Comments

when i had my first (and only one so far) kendo lesson, after an half an hour i tried to wipe the hair from my face (cause i was sweating like in a sauna).

kendo is quite exhausting for beginners and my arms were hurting badly. seems, i lost the ability to do anything with my arms besides using the sword.

so, instead of wiping the hair away, i bitchslapped myself with no apparent reason in front of all other students and the teacher. i think they must have thought i went completely insane.

kendo is great. i love kendo.

(another story not related to this is the one about the girl that always kept a wakizashi in her handbad. i think, she never got serious problems with robbers)

Funny, after a four-year break from Kung Fu, I'm restarting my studies again.

Though where I live there are no realy great Kung Fu teachers. The best teacher 'round these parts does Karate (he's 6th Dan) and Tai Chi.

Funny 2: in England, giving somebody the "V Sighn" is considered very rude- their equiv of giving somebody the middle finger. Imagine a Peace Sign with the palm facing AWAY from the person you're gesturing to and you'll get the idea.

This sign goes back to the middle ages. Back then the English army's secret weapon was the longbow (Battle Of Agincourt etc). So when English solideirs were captured, the French would chop off their index fingers, so when the prisoners were later exchanged for ransom, they still wouldn't be able use their longbows any more.

So in battle when the French and English armies would face off, the English would all holler and raise a "V Sign" to let the French know their bowmen still had their fingers in a "screw you Frenchie, we still have our longbow fingers and we're going to kick your ass" kinda way.

And this gesture still endures to this day...

In this day and age, you can buy your pincky back....well sorta

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/3722051.stm

Not good enough to be able to wield a sword well but probably (with some laser tattoo removal) enough to get you into your favorite onsen.

I've been learning some of this for years through http://www.bujinkan.com/ only it's with real swords and a slew of other weapons. What's so cool is how the control you learn with the swoard applies to everything else. Suddenly what you can do with a stick becomes endless.

My parents made me take kendo lessons for well over ten years when I was growing up. I absolutely hated it, and they wouldn't let me quit.

Still, I have a shodan rank to show for it, and I'd imagine if I had to defend myself in a fight, I'd do pretty well... as long as I had a stick handy. ^_^

This barely relates to anything, but it's a bunch of guys getting beaten with sticks, so it ties in slightly. Supposed to be a clip of Baath Party interrogations...

http://www.seanbonner.com/blog/archives/000562.php#000562

When I first started training kendo as an exchange student in Japan I had to do a month of training on my own without the gloves, just to get my arm strength up. Boy did I get blisters. But when they finally went away and just left a bit of thick skin I was able to put a lot more power into the training.

So expect some blisters and more than a bruised pinky (lower left arm in general (oh, and your right armwrist from all the kote hits)) but also a lot of fun practice! Kendo is a great and fun activity and i regret not continuing regular practice.

hi, dropped here by case... i practice kendo for 5 years and although i had some bad times i allways enjoyed it. mastering a sword teaches a lot on mastering yourself.
as i see in the foto, it seems that you put too much force just in holding the shinai. try allways to use as little force as possible. force in kendo is only needed in action (attack, defens, contoll). you must try to be as energy-efficient as possible.
this helps a great deal!
the second thing i'd like to say is that you might have better results when you hold the shinai foremost with the last tree fingers instead of the whole hand. a shinai is not an axe. you have to be able to move it quick and freely. for this it must rotate in your hands. you also have streched

hope it helps! good practice and much fun!

Kendo sounds interesting, something I would like to give a try. How does one go about finding a place where they teach it? Local community centre? I am in Nagoya...

nagoya, japan?
hmm... you are a lucky guy! in japan you will find a dojo easily (your country invented it...)!
best if you ask the all japan kendo federation (http://www.kendo.or.jp/)

i live in italy and it hard to find a place to practice nearby. however i must say i'm lucky because i found a good dojo that this year won the italian championship!
kendo is much about dedication and spirit!
i like it very much!
just came back form training: totally destroyed, but happy!
the hardest part is the slow growing... but when you reach a certain level its a lot of fun when you win over a higher grade kendoka! :-)

nagoya, japan?
hmm... you are a lucky guy! in japan you will find a dojo easily (your country invented it...)!
best if you ask the all japan kendo federation (http://www.kendo.or.jp/)

i live in italy and it hard to find a place to practice nearby. however i must say i'm lucky because i found a good dojo that this year won the italian championship!
kendo is much about dedication and spirit!
i like it very much!
just came back form training: totally destroyed, but happy!
the hardest part is the slow growing... but when you reach a certain level its a lot of fun when you win over a higher grade kendoka! :-)

i prefer my wakazashi in my strong hand and my S&W .40 in my left.
most people are more affraid of being cut than shot.

Kendo keeps teaching me different things from using my body and breathing in different ways to checking my ego and enjoying learning from others. The people I practice with are from many different cultures and backgrounds but are genuinely pleasant to be around. I think kendo releases all the New York aggression in practice and leaves us exhausted enough to only be kind.
It also motivated me to spend time running in order to improve kendo. Running was so loathsome before. So I suppose it has helped me become more physical.

Keep enjoying!

I use to take sword fighting lessons. It wasn't kendo, but it was in the same general style, same weapon. But it wasn't structured and didn't have the rules of kendo, it was just sword fighting.

Next time we see one another we should try beating each other up a bit. It would be fun.

kendo sounds like a lot of fun and I would love to learn it. But do you just show up and hope they let you in or is there a regisration I should get a hold of? thank you.Cheers.

I live at 18431 Commonwealth in Seattle. Been up here before?

your right-hand grip is wrong; the fist should not be tightly pressed against the tsuba (handguard). your hand should be gripped diagonally and in a gungrip position; pointer finger should be touching the tsuba, and rest of your hand 1 inch down the tsuka. for your grip, just slide your hand down a bit into a relaxed soft position, leaving your pointer touching the tsuba. also, relax your grip with both hands, should be completely relaxed, and your arms should be bent, not straight.

i suspect that blisters are quite common unless you wear gloves or keep your hands powdered. would samurai have special gloves they'd wear and what were they made of?

Getting hit on the pinkies is one thing but cutting them off is nuts. I guess they had it coming, but I hope they still had to go to court. I live in Gettysburg Pennsylvania and there is a ton of stories about the american civil war solider's they also have some odd traditions but no fingers getting cut off.

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