Budo refers to the “martial ways” of Japan and is rooted in the bujutsu or fighting techniques of the feudal period. With the decline of the samurai class and social changes in Japan from the Meiji Restoration, traditional techniques for killing were no longer necessary, and martial arts evolved into forms of physical education focused on personal growth and discipline.

Teachings in budo emphasise the importance of cultivating physical and mental strength, courtesy to others, and unification of spirit, technique, and body. Budoka are encouraged to seek self-improvement throughout their lifetime, and to approach both winning and losing with grace and humility.

The dojo is the practice area for Japanese martial ways, and it is a space that is clean, solemn, and safe. It is here that practitioners work hard to learn the lessons of budo and apply them to their daily lives.

The special qualities of Japanese martial ways are recognized and valued by millions of people in many countries around the world. Budo has become world heritage and a medium for promoting mutual understanding and respect among different cultures.

Kendo: Culture of the Sword

by  Alexander Bennett  (Author)

Kendo is the first in-depth historical, cultural, and political account in English of the Japanese martial art of swordsmanship, from its beginnings in military training and arcane medieval schools to its widespread practice as a global sport today. Alexander Bennett shows how kendo evolved through a recurring process of “inventing tradition,” which served the changing ideologies and needs of Japanese warriors and governments over the course of history. Kendo follows the development of Japanese swordsmanship from the aristocratic-aesthetic pretensions of medieval warriors in the Muromachi period, to the samurai elitism of the Edo regime, and then to the nostalgic patriotism of the Meiji state. Kendo was later influenced in the 1930s and 1940s by ultranationalist militarists and ultimately by the postwar government, which sought a gentler form of nationalism to rekindle appreciation of traditional culture among Japan’s youth and to garner international prestige as an instrument of “soft power.” Today kendo is becoming increasingly popular internationally. But even as new organizations and clubs form around the world, cultural exclusiveness continues to play a role in kendo’s ongoing evolution, as the sport remains closely linked to Japan’s sense of collective identity.

This link is for Amazon.com, but it can be purchased from most Amazon stores in print and Kindle formats.

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