Tokyo Podcast Kendo

Tokyo Podcast 37: Kendo Way of the Sword

This show is all about sports! We are going to take a look at the traditional Canadian sport of hockey and then the traditional Japanese sport of Kendo.

The origins of hockey can be traced back to one particular hardy Canadian named Pierre Lapin. During the winter months Pierre had to walk across a frozen lake to get to work and soon found that holding on to a curved stick would greatly increase his balance. On day as he was making his way to work at the Maple Syrup Factory he spotted a frozen beaver bladder and decided to give it a good whack with his stick!

A friend of Pierre’s who happened to be riding by on his pet moose saw the frozen bladder sliding across the ice towards his moose and was alarmed that his moose might accidentally step on the bladder and fall. He quickly jumped off the moose and kicked his leg out to block the oncoming bladder and became the first Canadian in history to execute what has become known as the beauty save!

Thus the tradition of hockey was born and soon spread form the frozen ponds of Canada to ice rinks, tennis courts, gymnasiums and back alleys around the world.

My first guest is Chad Goble who runs the Tokyo Street Hockey Association website. What started out as a rag tag group of hockey loving Canadians has morphed into a weekly game and international tournament.

Kendo, which means ‘way of the sword’ is the modern Japanese martial art of sword fighting that is based on traditional swodmenship that was practised by the samurai during the feudal era Japan. During the Edo period the Tokugawa shogunate has assumed control of Japan and had banned sword fighting. This was a relatively peaceful time in the history of Japan and so many samurai had to seek new ways to hone their sword fighting techniques.

With the invention of protective gear and a bamboo sword, known as the shinai the martial art of kendo allowed the samurai to practise their skills without doing anyone grievous harm. The sport has grown in popularity and is now practised by all ages and sexes in dojos around the world.

Lance Lindely practised kendo with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and achieved the rank of shodan. He joins me to talk about his experiences in studying this traditional martial art here in Japan.

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