British Pathé have finally released their archive on youtube including some kendo videos for us enthusiasts to wonder at (they had been available on their own website and in lower quality for a few years now). The vids span the years from WW1 up until 1974 and are an extremely valuable source for those interested in the historical development of kendo.
The post-war vids in particular show just how ad-hoc kendo was in the UK during the ’60s and ’70s (or even – dare I say it – how made-up it all was). This is valuable in many respects, not in the least because Britain was one of the earliest European countries to adopt kendo. Of course, I’d love to compare these videos to kendo from other countries around the same time frame.
(Actually, did you know that the first ever kendo manual in English was published in 1964? The book was called “An Introduction to Kendo” and it was written by R.A. Lidstone, an early British kendo pioneer. He passed away in 1969 but must have been at least partly responsible for the teaching and dissemination of kendo to the people in these videos.)
Anyway, my favourite vid from the Pathé bunch is the 1932 “Big Hits” one… mainly because the gentlemen in the video looks like he is having a great time !!
“Interesting Wrestling” 1914-18 (Kendo aboard a navy ship during WW1)
“Big hits” 1932
“Japs On The Jump” 1932 (sorry, thats the original title)
“Judo and Kendo” 1936
“England Expects Every Man To Do His Judo” 1937 (kendo demonstration at the end)
“Kendo Beware” 1962
“Kendo Beware” 1966
“Kendo Beware” 1966 OUT TAKES (no sound)
“Karate Championships” 1969 (kendo starts at the 40 second mark)
“Kendo in London” 1974 (no sound, film reversed)