Kendo is combat. It’s highly stylized, even ritualized combat, but it’s combat nevertheless. For all of its simplicity, it’s not easy.

Most people can hit someone in the head with a stick. You don’t need to have any particular skill to seriously hurt someone doing that. Striking with the coordination and form kendo requires is more demanding.

Of course, there’s more to kendo than hitting. How you hit is important too. Accuracy, speed, control, being able to out-maneuver or out-think your opponent is also necessary for your success.

One part people often overlook is the fact that in kendo, you also get hit. Stay long enough and you’ll get hit in the head, wrist, torso, or throat with a stick. Sometimes by a person without superior accuracy, speed or control. Poor strikes can leave bruises, even with armour. Especially when people miss the armour. Ouch.

Kendo’s tough, and it should be, because one of the main benefits of kendo is the development of a strong character.

Sure, you’ll improve your physical condition, your aerobic and anaerobic fitness, your breathing capacity, balance, coordination, posture, probably lose weight and improve your overall health. In addition to all that, you’ll gain internal strength, improved self-esteem, confidence, discipline, and respect for yourself and for others. In short, you’ll improve your mind, your body, and your spirit.

Overcoming challenges helps develop internal strength of character. I believe activities that require heavy exertion on all levels are the best way to do this. To me, kendo is an ideal way to develop all parts of one’s self, in the relative safety of the dojo.

If you are looking to improve your life, you first need to improve your self. Kendo is one of the best ways to challenge yourself to improve on all levels. It’s hard, but the results are worth it.

You are worth it.

I hope to see you in the dojo soon.