Picking up on George’s response to my post on Olympic Kendo. I have to admit that I have also heard the expression Nippon no Kendo (Japanese Kendo), but only since Japan failed to win the last World Championship.
Clearly no nation has the divine right to be the perpetual number one in a sport just because they invented it. We in the UK can claim to have developed Rugby, Cricket and Soccer. Our current lack of success across the board proves that it’s not where you start but where you finish.
Having said that, I was at the 13WKC in Taipei and I did feel that whilst there was some great kendo, some of it was, well; different!
By and large, Japanese and Korean kendo is not dissimilar, and there has recently been much more interaction between kendoka, with Korean athletes training in Japan and Japanese high grades visiting Korea.
In my view however, there has been a slight divergence in style between the two kendo superpowers and some of the western nations, which have developed a more physical, powerful approach, using close distance to avoid being hit. You could argue that top level competitive kendo is becoming more defensive anyway, but I believe that kendo is starting to develop along different lines in different parts of the world.
Having spent most of the 13WKC on the borders of the shiaijo, it was interesting to see the amount of attention paid to the previous shiai of the Korean team by the Japanese coaches and managers and that no time was spent evaluating the tactics of Team USA. I am sure that this will be remedied in Sao Paulo.
I am not going to Brazil this year, but expect that the 14WKC will be the most interesting World Championship to date, with the option of World Kendo returning to the status quo or changing forever.
If Japan does not win I am sure that we will hear the term Nippon no Kendo a lot more.