A packed auditorium at the Italian Cultural institute got a taste of the intense energy of modern Japanese martial arts last week. Kendo, a type of sword fighting that relies on balance, performed by professionals brought all the way from Japan wowed the audience.
“Kendo” which means “way of the sword” originated with the Samurai class of feudal Japan. It is a way to discipline the human character through the application of the principles of the Samurai known as Katana.
The show had six performers, who, despite their age, showed amazing strength. They said the Addis Ababa altitude made it harder to breathe while performing.
“It takes a long time to reach a master level with Kendo; I started when I was 13 years old, now I am 68,” said Sensei Nagahish Fujita who was the lead performer in the show.
Kendo is different from other martial arts for its need of physical strength as the opponents wear heavy protective gear and they are constantly moving.
Many people in Japan still practice Kendo, and Sensei Nagahish who is also a teacher has over 500 students. All schools in Japan are required to include martial arts like Kendo and Judo in their physical education classes.
The show was quite successful, as audiences were very impressed, and kids took turns taking pictures with the performers in their Samurai attires.