Kendo is the art of swordsmanship that was once cultivated by the samurai in medieval Japan and it is an an increasing number of popular martial art studied in the West today. Even as most books on kendo focal point primarily on kata, or the traditional movements or forms, The Shambhala Guide to Kendo provides a succinct overview of the art as a whole: its historical significance, spiritual teachings, and how it may be used by practitioners today as a means of strengthening the body and mind.
The Shambhala Guide to Kendo (in the past published in hardcover as Kendo: Its Philosophy, History, and Means to Personal Growth by Kegan Paul International, 1995), covers the whole thing from the main points of practice—such as strikes, shouts, and stances—to the history and philosophy of Japanese swordsmanship, including an overview of bushido, the code of the samurai. The writer also demonstrates how the development of Buddhism influenced two important schools of Japanese swordsmanship.
The Shambhala Guide to Kendo includes discussions of:
• Kendo as an expression of complete body-mind integration
• The historical development of kendo from the twelfth century to today
• The cultivation of the “mind of no-mind” in kendo, a state of egolessness and fearlessness
• The Buddhist “infrastructure” of kendo
• The practice of kendo meditation
• The significance of the dojo, or hall of practice
The Shambhala Guide to Kendo also provides a useful glossary that includes the Japanese and English rendering of key terms and an informative list of ryu (or school) lineages. This accessible overview of the art will appeal to students of traditional Japanese culture in addition to kendo practitioners.