Kenjutsu

Kenjutsu is the umbrella term for all (ko-budō) schools of Japanese swordsmanship, in particular those that predate the Meiji Restoration. Kenjutsu, which originated with the samurai class of feudal Japan, means “methods, techniques, and the art of the Japanese sword.” The exact activities and conventions undertaken when practicing kenjutsu vary from school to school, where …

Japanese Dojo

The dojo is the place where the Way is studied (practiced). In modern times, the dojo is usually perceived as a place where martial arts are taught. But the true spiritual concept of a dojo is much more precise. The Sanskrit word bodhimandala is the basis of the Japanese understanding of the dojo. Bodhimandala means …

The Hidden Blade

The Hidden Blade (隠し剣 鬼の爪, Kakushi ken: Oni no tsume, literally “Hidden Blade: Oni’s Claw”) is a 2004 film set in 1860s Japan, directed by Yoji Yamada. The plot revolves around several samurai during a time of change in the ruling and class structures of Japan. The film was written by Yamada with Yoshitaka Asama …

The Twilight Samurai

The most successful Japanese film of the beginning of the new century. Winner of the most prestigious awards in Japan, triumphant at many international festivals, nominated for an Oscar for non-English film. Many films in the samurai genre showing the samurai arts Iaijutsu and Kenjutsu deal with the drama of their code of ethics and …

How important is Seme?

The Japanese word “zumeru” means both “to fill a gap” and “to shorten the distance.” In kendo, distance can be viewed in both a spatial (“maai”) and a temporal dimension (“ma”). Today we will talk about how to overcome these two types of distance, pressing the opponent. When we shorten the distance, it is important …

Zanshin – the spirit that remains

Zanshin is a term used in Japanese martial arts. It translates as “remaining mind / spirit”. In addition, “Shin” also means the heart (the place where the senses and the spirit are concentrated). In a narrow sense, zanshin means the position of attention in which we remain after we have performed the last of our …