Concept of Kendo:
Kendo is the path toward the formation of human character (that is gained) through practicing the true principles of the Japanese sword.
I was invited to a Kendo and given no background in sport photography, I was terrified of what I would be able to achieve. What I love about photography is catching the moment and with babies, they are sleeping… with weddings, they are still… with food, its stationary. I suppose I could compare this to taking photo’s of an almost two-year old which I did recently and any photographer would say, a complete workout of running and squatting and Jumping through hoops and fences! Needless to say a lot of hard work.
So I go, not knowing what to expect from the photography aspect. I’ve been in this hall before, my older brother has been doing Kendo since he was 12. He is now 30 and has worked extremely hard to get to where he is now (so much so that his wife who he met through kendo is also a kendo champion!!).
Me and my three sisters would go to his competitions and were known as the ‘Aziz fan club’. This was when I was about 10 years old. But now I was there as an adult, looking at this even from a whole new perspective.
Kendo is definitely a sport for the senses. As you walk in to the hall the smell of kendo hits you, it’s the smell of the heavily soaked armour from people training since the early hours of the morning. Women, men and children as young as 5 fill the spaces around the court. I sat on the side getting my camera ready and the people competing began to get ready. They sat down to dress their helmets. There is a way to sit, a way to position your helmet, a way to place your shinai on the ground. There is a whole ceremony for how you begin the fight. It’s all very respectful with bowing and positioning. Everything was accurate. One man was told off for having the strings on the back of his helmet too long. there was ALOT you had to be aware of. The attention to detail was astonishing.
They began the match, and it was loud, very loud. they scream in order to scare off their opponent. the shout when they strike the kote (glove), men (head/helmet), or do (belly armour, which were very beautiful). I watched them with sense’s heightened thinking this is definitely not for me. I love doing the pictures but I could not imagine being on the court.
The women and children were particularly surprising. There was nothing masculine about these women and nothing aggressive about these children. They were if anything strong and polite respectful people who I was extremely lucky to meet and witness on this occasion.
Phew, I’m happy to say it was a success and I have a new respect for the sport, there are some real warriors out on that field. And if kendo is something new to you then I definite recommend checking it out! (unless you’re a chicken and would rather stick to being behind the camera like me).
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