Kendo’s Gruelling Challenge – The 120 second Test of Spirit (1997?)

Der Hammer! Ein Team von National Geographic begleitet K. Ishida (48) und K. Miyamoto (78) auf dem Weg zur und bei der Prüfung zum achten Dan. Der erste probiert es zum vierten, der zweite zum 24sten Mal.

Früher konnte man sich den Film irgendwo herunterladen, heute gibt es ihn auf YouTube zu finden.

Der ganze Film hat koreanische(?) Untertitel, weswegen die englischen Untertitel der japanischen Passagen überschrieben werden. Hier folgen die mittels rechtzeitig gedrückter Pause-Taste abgeschriebenen englischen Texte:

Minute 5:38
– Now we present Ken-Ichi Ishida, 6th Dan of the Osaka Police. 1982 All Japan Championship. We can expect a great match between these two Kendoists of outstanding skill. It’s a forearm blow. Two white flags for Ujiie, or rather, for Ishida’s head blow! The match goes to Ishida by two points! After allowing Ujiie to attack so freely… He’s amazing.

Ishida: At the risk of sound gradiose, I’d say the ultimate goal in Kendo is to master a strike in which the mind, sword and body are united as one. Yes, the mind, the sword, and the body. When the three become one, you can strike as freely as you wish. That’s the state which every Kendoist is endeavouring to attain. If you attain that state, then your blow will reach its mark. It’s not something you try to do. It just happens. That’s what’s difficult about it. The more you’re self-conscious of it, the less possible it is to deliver.

– Applicants aged between 75 and 86 please form a queue here.

– Now those between 76 and 86 please come here and form a queue.

Miyamoto: Let me see who’s over 80.

Miyamoto: There are eight candidates over 80.
– Is that so? Eight including you?
Miyamoto: Well, no. I haven’t made 80 yet. I have a long while to go.
– It’s about time you reached your peak.
Miyamoto: I may have passed my peak.
-You’re in our way, you know.
Miyamoto: How can I be your way, now that I’m over the hill?
– Never mind.
Miyamoto: Anyway, let’s keep working at it.

Miyamoto: You keep your natural standing posture and yet block your opponent. This makes the opponent impatient. That’s the way it should be. But I haven’t yet mastered it yet. I know I have the courage. But I get the jitters and begin to feel like striking. If you’re in a peaceful frame of mind your mental attitude surpasses your opponent’s. That’s the way it should be. But my frame of mind is weak. Or at best, it’s as weak as my opponents‘.

Haga: You’re to hasty. Pretend you’re in a match. Wait and grab for an opportunity.
Miyamoto: I’m no good at all.
Haga: Don’t rush. You’r not a young man.
Miyamoto: Yes.
Haga: Be more patient.
Miyamoto: Yes.
Miyamoto: Concentrate more?
Haga: Yes, incisiveness is vital.
Miyamoto: One more bout, please.

Miyamoto: I always bear in mind every bit of advice that Mr. Haga gives me. Everytime I practise, I try to remember it, and try to follow it as much as I can. I’d be happy if I could master just one thing. It is hard. Of course, it will never cease being hard. It will be hard forever. It is hard. It really is.

– The championship’s 10-minute final match has started. The chief referee is Mr. Abe. With Kosaka on the right and Ishida in the left.
– Neither is giving ground.
– No.

Ishida: I knew I shouldn’t have been training thinking that way. Something was killing my son… Yes, the truth was that he was dying from a disease. But when I faced my opponent, I just charged ruthlessly. Not ruthlessly like this, but the thought was in my mind when I practised.
Frau Ishida: Having his father win the championship, was all that mattered to Koji. He was so looking forward to it. I wanted him to die, thinking that his Father was strong. I thought, if god has any mercy, he’d let my husband win for the sake of our dying son. If that happened, I’d thank god for the rest of my life. I was on tenter hooks, watching the bout.

– Ishida’s movement is getting brisk.
– It’s a forearm blow.
– That’s a point to Ishida. Ishida is the new champion. Now he’s stepping forward. Sixth grade dan Ken-ichi Ishida has won the championship!

– How did you go?
Ishida: Well, he was tough, wasn’t he? At first, I could do what I wanted to do. But he’s such a formidable player. So I couldn’t disturb his composure. He seized the moment when I had a desire to strike. I allowed his forearm blow to go unchecked.
– In the first bout?
Ishida: No. The first bout was satisfactory. I just followed my teacher’s advice. I was advised not to be overawed. I think I did well mentally, but it didn’t lead to a point. It didn’t produce a result. I missed the strike points although they were fairly sharp blows. If they’d hit the mark, they’d have been neat. I’ll make sure I hit the mark next time. I’ll try again.

Miyamoto: „I want a point now, at least a head blow.“ „I can get it now.“ You have thoughts like that and a desire arises. Before the bout, I set my mind to being calm and detached. I’m determined to maintain posture and let my opponent make a move. But once the bout begins, I can’t help wanting to go for a strike. I dearly whish I’d had more steady training.

Ishida: Well, mentally…
Frau Ishida: It made my stomach ache. It made me hungry.
Ishida: You get exhausted just watching, don’t you? You wouldn’t dare play, would you?
Frau Ishida: No.
Ishida: I’d appreciate your continued support.

Ishida: I’m satisfied that I had the resolve to strike. I wasn’t afraid of missing. My friends and those who watched me recognised this and said truthfully, „Your strikes did miss out on winning points but they were spirited.“ That makes me happy. It makes me keep on going as I have been doing until some day…

The successful candidates are now being announced on the first floor.

Well done. Congratulations.

Miyamoto: „A vanquished general should not talk of the battle.“
– Are you going to try again?
Miyamoto: Yes, I’ll keep on trying a little longer. I will.

– You did well.
Miyamoto: Thank you for your support. Farewell. I regret I couldn’t show you a victory.

Ishida: I’ve done all I could. I have nothing left. I’ve given it all I had. I have nothing left inside me. Thank you very much.

– Only three passed. Well done! Only three.
– Three? It was tough.

– Congratulations! Thank you very much, I’m so thrilled.

– Candidates who cleared the second round will start the written test immediately. Please come to the centre of the hall with your pens.