British Kendo Renmei
Our Sensei, Roald Knutsen and his wife Patricia, worked hard to establish Kendō not only in this country but also in France, Belgium, Germany, and Sweden. The British Kendō Renmei is however particularly grateful to the efforts and invaluable support freely given over the years, by numerous very senior and respected 8th and 9th dan Hanshi Japanese Kendō masters, together with Dr. Benjamin H. Hazard, 7th dan Kyoshi, in California.
The intending novice who aspires to practise Kendo – the Way of the Sword – or Iai-do – the Way of Drawing-Sword – really needs some guidance so that he or she understands that there is a great difference between the old traditional arts and ways followed by the Japanese samurai and their descendants down to the closing decades of the 20th century, and the increasingly divergent sports- or competition-based Kendo and Iai that have rapidly managed to dominate the modern systems.
The Butokukan is the founder member of the Eikoku Kendo Renmei (British Kendo Federation)
Kendo Traditional Japanese Swordsmanship has been in Brighton & Lewes for over 50 years under Japanese-trained 6th & 7th dan teachers.
We follow the traditions of self-discipline & awareness through the use of the sword.
Two major classical systems of Budo are practised in the Butokukan Dojo: Kendo and Iai. The Iai is of the Muso Jikiden Eishin-ryu.
The Dojo Mon (Badge) suggests a Dojo with a sea coast. This Mon can be found as a warrior famly emblem in the early 17th century in Japan.
Our Dojo maxim is that ‘kendō begins and ends with reigi (respect)’.
If you are interested in the Japanese martial traditions – specifically Kendo – and feel that you would like to find more than competitive sport which, after all is said and done, may only appeal to the younger and physically active, then your enquiries will be welcomed.
Joining a Dojo
We would emphasise that from our point of view Kendo and Iai are NOT sports and the former is only superficially sports-like. We do not deny that there are many perspectives in all the Budo traditions and from the more specific aspect of Kendo and Iai-do it is perfectly feasible that those who see these entities in terms of sport are quite correct and that little from the old tradition has much relevance to-day. Maybe we have evolved and changed these particular Budo to something better, more modern, more up-to-date, more applicable to our undeniably more comfortable lifestyles? This Renmei’s aim is to offer those who are interested an opportunity to probe beneath the modern surface and find out something for themselves of the extraordinarily rich areas that underpin proper swordsmanship.
The student who takes up these traditional entities of Budo needs to keep in mind that the greatest obstacle to advancement and understanding lies within oneself, not in seeking to prove how superior one’s technique is over another. Mastery of the self is far more difficult – and rewarding – than mere victory over opponents. These are the principles contrasted in katsujin-ken and satsujin-ken.
In these notes we do not propose to describe, even in outline, the physical or intellectual make-up of either Kendo or Iai, or to define the difference between the latter-day forms in comparison with those of the classical period. Such knowledge is only to be found in the dojo, or practice hall. It can only be imparted by those with insight and long experience. As we have said before, if this is what you think you are seeking then it is you who must make the choice. There is a famous adage in Kendo that may be worth quoting here.
‘The master does not necessarily need a student in order to improve; however, a student cannot learn without a master’.
Kendō goes back to the Samurai or warrior class of Old Japan. We use bamboo shinai or practice swords, wearing protective armour. Training is under the watchful eyes of the Sensei, as discipline is necessary to master the sword techniques and ultimately oneself.
There are ‘4 Poisons’ to overcome in Kendō: fear, doubt, surprise and confusion. By confronting these, Kendō students can attain a calm mind to face their everyday problems.
The requirements in the training are: correct posture, cuts with the correct part of the shinai to specific targets, fast movement of the feet and ‘kiai’ with each cut. Kiai is the intense explosive ‘attacking’ sound made at the opponent when the cut is delivered.
We also use the word ‘Reigi’ to describe the discipline or etiquette of kendō. It is this reigi or respect between kendōka, that is as old as kendō itself. It is said that ‘kendō begins and ends with reigi’.
Kendō swordsmanship has been in Brighton and Lewes for over 50 years under Japanese trained 6th and 7th dan teachers.
We follow the traditions of self-discipline and awareness through the use of the sword.