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The Symbol of a Samurai
The Samurai Way and the Japanese-Russian Cultural Exchange
The period from the Muromachi era (1392-1573) to the beginning of the Edo period saw the birth of numerous styles of samurai fencing. And in the middle of the Edo period, training using special protective armor and bamboo swords came into practice. In this peaceful era, they began to attach great importance not only to the technical, but also to the moral and cultural aspect. After the Meiji bourgeois revolution (1868), at the beginning of the Taisse era (1912-1926), the art of samurai swordsmanship began to be called kendo - "the way of the sword." Kendo has gained wide acceptance as a budo (martial art) based on the spirit of the Japanese samurai. Kendo is now considered one of the main types of Japanese martial arts. Thus, more than 1,6 million Japanese have master ranks (degrees - dan) in this sport, and since 2012 kendo and other types of budo have been included in the compulsory curriculum of Japanese high schools.
The main value in kendo is not a purely sporting component, but a moral aspect - the formation of human dignity. In Sadamune Ogasawara's treatise "Xinxing Rondze" (1335), it is said that for the samurai's honor, "strict self-education with respect to one's words and deeds in everyday life is important, as well as giving more importance to the spirit of politeness than winning a battlefield." According to the definition adopted by the All Japan Kendo Federation in 1978, "kendo is the way to shape human dignity through improvement in the law of the sword."
Takenori Baba (7 dan Kesi) in his monograph “Spirit, technique and body: improvement through kendo” notes the role of etiquette in the formation of personality: “In kendo there are many elements of the“ path ”that highly values form, including etiquette, through which there is a formation of human dignity. " Masatake Sumi (8 dan Hansi) in the book Kendo: education of a person speaks about the formation of personality through perfection in kendo: “Kendo promotes the growth of a person’s spirituality through improvement of mastery”.
In all cities, towns and villages of Japan, there are schools and kendo sections, where a large number of children are engaged. When parents are asked why they give their children there, the majority responds: "We want through kendo they learn courtesy, etiquette, brought up the strength of the spirit." There are practically no parents who hope that if they grow up, their children will become professional kendoists or earn kendo for a living. Thus, in Japan, no emphasis is placed on the sports element of kendo, the main importance is attached to its moral component.
Kind attitude towards the enemy
One of the characteristic features of kendo, which is not often found in other sports, is the spirit of caring for other people and self-testing. It is necessary to always show respect to the enemy, thank him for every movement, and also constantly think about his actions.
In the case of a real sword fight, the outcome is always the following: the winner remains alive, and the defeated one dies. In this case, the winner looks at himself, whether he acted correctly, taking away the life of the enemy with his blow, and asks him for forgiveness. Such an act in kendo is called zansin (sediment on the heart, regret).
So, during serious fights with a partner, you can cultivate feelings of gratitude, respect for the enemy and a habit of self-examination. The possibility of mutual growth is the most outstanding feature of modern kendo.
It is believed that kendo in Russia began with the founding of the first club at Moscow State University in 1964. Then, in connection with the policy of the USSR, this martial art for a long time was prohibited, and from about 1989 the classes were resumed, primarily in Moscow. In 1998, former Prime Minister of Japan Ryutaro Hashimoto (then he had 5-dan in kendo) visited Moscow, who conducted a master class for Russian kendoists. In the same year, the first All-Russian Kendo Championship for the Cup "Peaceful Heart" was held, donated to them. Ryutaro Hashimoto took part in the second championship, and also exchanged with Russians in the kendo area.
Diplomatic representations of Japan in Russia hold various cultural events, seminars, master classes on modern and traditional culture, including kendo. In recent years, a number of master classes and championships have been held in cooperation with regional kendo federations in Moscow, Rostov-on-Don, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod and other cities of the European part of Russia, in the regions of Siberia and the Far East, including Irkutsk, Khabarovsk, Blagoveshchensk.
In August 2011, within the framework of the program of Japanese-Russian youth exchanges based on an intergovernmental agreement, the Japanese government sent a group of kendoists - schoolchildren and students (24) from Iwate Prefecture, who suffered from a powerful earthquake in eastern Japan, to Krasnoyarsk. During this trip, the Japanese youth, affected by the disaster, met and communicated with Russian kendoists. In December of the same year, members of the Kendo Section of the Fukuoka Pedagogical University (16 people) were invited to Moscow, where they took part in the exchange for 4 days. And in June 2012 in Fukuoku already went young Russian kendoists (29 people) who deepened communication with their peers through kendo and joint recreation, including walks in tourist places.
Through cultural exchanges within the framework of such intergovernmental agreements, exchanges between citizens of our countries are indeed becoming increasingly active, and in 2012, the number of participants in the programs of Japanese-Russian youth exchanges for the first time in their entire history exceeded 500 people. In March of this year, it is planned to send a group of young Russian kendoists (about 35 people) to Tokyo University Sofia and Kyoto.
In addition, the apparent lack of the number of Russian-language books on kendo and information about it in the Russian-language Internet also hinders the spread of this martial art, especially given the fact that the true essence of kendo is the spiritual culture, samurai philosophy that was cultivated by ancestors from ancient times. If you train without understanding such basic postulates, then even studying techniques and techniques of kendo, it will be impossible to talk about its development in the true sense of the word.
It is likely that the art of combat, like kendo, is widely spread among Russians - the reason for this lies in the Russian mentality. In Russian families, all respect grandparents, and harmony is honored between family members and close friends. Such traditions are very close to the spirit of Japanese courtesy and harmony, which is most appreciated in kendo. Japanese students who spent several days with Russian kendoists during the Japanese-Russian youth exchange were touched by the Russian mentality and in one voice said: “Russian kendoists have a lot to learn.” I want to believe that the Japanese-Russian kendo exchange is not only an exchange in the field of sports, but also an exchange of spirituality of the Japanese and Russians, and this exchange will contribute to greater mutual understanding between our peoples.