Understanding the meaning of kendo kata

2011-06-01 07:05:00

A few weeks ago I'd found a few interesting articles about the meaning of kendo kata, mostly focusing on kata #1 through #3. The other day I was practicing kata with a visiting kendoka Raoul, from Amstelveen, and he was teaching me kata #3. While going through the motions I failed to grasp the riai (theory or reason) behind a certain movement and the both of us couldn't figure it out on the spot.

The question I had was: "What is it that motivates uchidachi (teacher/attacker) to drop his sword after already successfully parrying two of shidachi's (student/defender) thrusts?"

Now, thanks to the earlier reading I already knew that in kata 3, shidachi has no intention whatsoever of killing or hurting uchidachi, meaning that the two thrusts (or actually one thrust and one push) weren't parried to begin with. But again, why would uchidachi give up and simply lower his sword?

Sometime this week I realized what could be the answer: the seme (willpower) of shidachi completely supresses uchidachi's will to attack and uchidachi has realized that he's lost. Uchidachi is being backed against the wall, so to speak. After some more reading I've found materials that seem to support my theory, so I wasn't too far off :)

This is one of the aspects why I love kendo: figuring out puzzles is part of the kenshi's learning process.

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