Written by Kimura Takahiko(CEO at Tozando)
The other day, I happened upon a news article about the major league pitcher Yu Darvish, in which he gave some guidance about the future of the Japanese baseball community. To make a long story short, the conclusion that he made was that “Going through harsh training and make effort only using spirit and will-power is not good enough. There is a need to incorporate the latest technology and science into your training to achieve better results”.
Kendo being a traditional Japanese competitive martial art, likewise puts a lot of emphasis on making an effort, will-power and of course spirit. In Kendo, the ultimate goal is to cultivate oneself as a human being, however, I believe that the act of practicing Kendo and the goal of cultivating oneself are different issues.I believe that there are quite a few instructors in Japan who believe and teaches that all you need to do to win, is to go through severe and extreme training. This is most probably because this is how they were once instructed to do and how they turned into the instructors they are today.
Overseas though, sports athletes have more established scientific methods for education, and by analyzing the movements of top athletes scientifically, it’s possible to educate upcoming athletes by imitating the superior movements and training regimes of these top athletes. In other words, knowing the abilities of the top leads to improvement.
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For example, the young generation of Japanese world level table tennis players, who not too long ago were said to not be even close to getting any medals in the near future. However after seeing Fukuhara Ai’s great efforts in the Chinese Super League and Mizutani Jun’s efforts in the German Bundesliga, it suddenly changed. By playing with and understanding the level of the top level table tennis players in their respective leagues, they raised the level of Japanese table tennis overall. For a very long time, we thought it was impossible to win against the Chinese table tennis players, but now we are at the point where we can actually win.
Using the same type of logic, there might come a day when the Japanese Kendo players will no longer be able to keep being the best in the world. To prevent such a thing from happening I think we might need to introduce more scientific methods for training and establish more modern training routines, taking inspiration from the top level athletes around the world.
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I happened to find out that there is software like the one in the link above, that can be used to analyze the form and technique of athletes. Couldn’t this kind of software also be used to analyze the striking form in Kendo? In the future, I think that Kendo will enter a new era that will make full use of the latest technologic innovations and I hope that Japan will be the first to pioneer and cut open a new path in the world of Kendo.
On the other hand, Kendo is not about winning or losing, but about cultivating oneself as a human being, which is the ultimate goal along the road. We can’t ignore the spiritual and mental parts that can be taught by experiencing the traditional strict daily Kendo regime. As a company making and selling Kendo equipment all over the world, I would like to keep cherishing the traditional values of cultivating oneself physically and spiritually, while also keep innovating by using the latest scientific advancements in this ever changing world to improve the experience for our customers.