weapons

This is the final edition of an epic five-part series that details the beginning of world-renowned swordsman Dana Abbott's training.

The everyday practice and study of kendo in a climate where the temperature reaches and exceeds 90 degrees plus applicable humidity is stifling. Japanese call this "mushi atsui", but in New York City it is just known as "muggy". Hot thick air makes the practice of any sport difficult and energy zapping. Just imagine you are in heavy cumbersome kendo gear combined with this weather. After a few hundred strikes into a workout one's lethargic body becomes immune to its surroundings and that "can't get started" feeling is diminished. Soaking wet kendo gear combined with the stench of hundreds of students doing the same thing creates a thick pungent layer of air that you could literally cut with a sword.

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This is the fourth edition of an epic five-part series that details the beginning of world-renowned swordsman Dana Abbott's training.

Over the course of my daily studies I was already warmed up and feeling pretty good about myself with a good mindset. Kinda like a cat waiting to pounce on a mouse. As I slowly step inwards, I eye my adversary. I seek an opening and begin my frontal attack. Then "crack" I get whacked with a deafening blow to the top of my head from my opponent's bamboo shinai, which really promoted my awareness. As Shizawa sensei repeatedly said, "don't blink your eyes...because it does not hurt any less".

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This is the third edition of an epic five-part series that details the beginning of world-renowned swordsman Dana Abbott's training.

During the course of my studies at Nihon Taiiku Daikgaku I discovered I had become a productive member of their society based on their standards. Not because I worked or paid taxes. It was because I was learning kendo. In Japanese culture anyone who learns and performs kendo keeps the spirit of the samurai alive and is a very positive role model for generations to come.

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This is the second edition of an epic five-part series that details the beginning of world-renowned swordsman Dana Abbott's training.

My first day differed for me than it would have for a Japanese student. First of all, I was a foreigner. Second, since I was foreign everyone felt the need to accommodate my aspirations. Japan is so very different than where I was born and raised, and their attitudes are completely opposite in many ways. The semester had just started as all freshman students were in new uniforms and upperclassmen were returning for the start of the new scholastic year in Japan. It was interesting for me to note that school terms began in March instead of September as is done in the USA.

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This is the first edition of an epic five-part series that details the beginning of world-renowned swordsman Dana Abbott's training.

My first memory of Japan was standing in front of the Budokan. It's a fairly brisk spring morning and I can see my breath as it mixes with the crisp Tokyo air. But there I was…absorbing all these new sights and sounds. Their history and culture were now within my reach as I pressed my hand on the entry door. I hear a voice saying sumimasen (excuse me) to which I turn around and see my master for the first time. I respond saying I just moved to Japan and am here to study the way of the sword and learn your culture! He looks at me with a puzzled face as he did not speak English, nor did I speak Japanese. I try again blurting out another English sentence with his same response. At that point I look him in the eye and say...kendo.
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