As it is said that ‘the eyes can speak as well as the mouth,’ it must follow that the language of the eyes is delicate and subtle. French philosopher Georges-Luis Leclerc de Buffon stated that ‘words’ express the character of man; an insightful remark. The sword is also considered to reveal the character of the person wielding it and as such, each person has their own individual kendo style. Courageous people, cowardly people, honest people; everyone’s character is reflected in their swordplay. The character of instructors will be passed onto their students as well. It is important to learn under a good teacher of virtuous character, for even the simple act of exchanging blows with a shinai can influence students in many ways. Among the lessons of kendo, there is a teaching that ‘if the soul is just, the sword is also just.’ This teaching is deeply connected to the path of discipline and is a kind of warning against unjust thought and skills.
The above quote* is from a book entitled “ken no michi” by Horigome Keizo hanshi. Horigome hanshi was born in 1921 in Miyazaki prefecture and graduated from Busen. After a career as a high school teacher he moved on to become a police kendo teacher, winning the hachidan senbatsu taikai in 1977, and eventually being awarded kyudan.
Although the paragraph presented here is really short, I believe that it is jam-packed with insight and – to an extent – warnings.
* The translation here I found by chance in a recently published book entitled “Kendo is my philosophy” by Miyazaki Masatake (this book isn’t a pure kendo book by any means, but those interested in it can get it here).
悠久 剣の道を尋ねて (剣道時代ブックレット) [単行本]。堀篭 敬蔵。
Kendo is my philosophy. Miyazaki Masatake. Published 2010.