Janet Stewart strikes Obby Khan in a kendo match at the Manitoba Japanese Cultural Centre (Jim Agapito)
There's something to be said about a person who practices Kendo, meaning the way of the sword, as a sport. There's another thing to be said when a 300 lbs all-star, Winnipeg Blue Bomber linebacker practices it as a pastime at the Manitoba Japanese Cultural Centre. I mean, I can understand the appeal.
Both Ibrahim "Obby" Khan and myself think swords are cool (I am definitely a martial arts geek)...but when you allow a novice (aka Janet Stewart) to strike you (Obby) in the with less than an inch of padding on your head using a wooden sword, you must be crazy.
Kendo is a Japanese martial art based on samurai swordsmanship. Each person wields a bamboo sword (shinai) and wears protective armour. The combatants are awarded points by striking various points of the body, mimicing kill and disabling shots.
Keep in mind that the armour doesn't cover the entire body. It covers specific parts such as the head, shoulders, midsection and wrists. So, if you aren't paying attention, you might get hurt real bad.
Janet was a little apprehensive. First off, Kendo is a very loud sport. Each practitioner yells before striking their opponent. The yell is meant to do two things: a)express your fighting spirit b)scare the crap out of your opponent. Kendo is also very efficient. Samurai's are patient and strike sparingly. You can't screw up when trying to strike down an enemy. You put your entire weight into the shot.
Not to mention that Janet just met Obby. Now she's preparing to hit him in the head. On top of that, the padding that is quite flimsy and he towers over her. I'd be thinking, "what if he gets mad or hurt?" *Gulp*
Here'a a sneak peek from Winnipeg's Cultural Secrets.