Nobody likes us and we don’t care! is the motto of fans of Millwall Football Club. I sometimes think that Kendo is the Millwall of the Martial Arts World.
Most exponents of any sort of jutsu criticise kendo for being too sporty, practitioners of any of the body arts see it being a waste of time as it has no practical benefit for self defense. Judoka view kendo as not being sporty enough and our closest relations, the followers of Iai and Jodo, given that they do not have an active interest in kendo, believe that we are thugs.
Judo and Kendo share a similar heritage; both were distilled from fighting arts and developed as physical and moral education systems. One or the other was a compulsory element of the Japanese school system and both are growing faster outside Japan than in their country of origin.
The key difference between Judo and Kendo is that Judo became an Olympic sport some 45 years ago and Kendo is still sitting on the fence. Most kendoka voice the opinion that Kendo is better as a non Olympic event, we get to preserve the mental and spiritual aspects and the point system will continue to be based on the quality and effectiveness of strike.
I have to admit a personal bias, having moved from Judo to Kendo at a time when Ippon and Wazaari became in my view devalued by their poor relations Yuko and Koka. I am sure that an army of Judo followers will disagree with me, but I believe that Judo lost some of its magic and most of its discipline.
However I do not think now is a time for people who share my view to be smug. Kendo is now a member of GAISF, which is seen as the runway for minority sports to qualify for Olympic status. I know that FIK explain this move as a necessary to preclude other bodies from hijacking Kendo, but we are already looking at the introduction of drugs testing at the next World Championships.
Of course you can make powerful arguments in either direction. Having been responsible for raising money for the 12th World Kendo Championships and having received not one penny in state aid, I can see the attractions of Olympic status, but selfishly, I like kendo as it is.