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交劍知愛 – when your swords cross, remember to love each other

I have noticed most senior Kendo members’ hachimaki (headband) has four Kanjis: 交劍知愛. Literally, it means “when your swords cross, remember to love each other”. The spirit is that one should be grateful to her opponents even though she is meant to defeat that person. Because opponents help us improve ourselves. They are indispensable in our way towards perfecting ourselves. It is required in Kendo etiquette to respect your opponents. That comes to a basic greeting before/after practice, to applying ‘tenouchi’ (gripping the shinai to avoid hitting the opponent too hard), and to the deeper mentality of orienting the game to mutual practice and improvement as opposed to the pursuit of victory.

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About Xiang 'Anthony' Chen

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