I remember growing up hearing this term. My rough translation of it is “to do something to the utmost of your ability”. What a wonderful phrase to apply to kendo, and to one’s life.

Walking the path of issho-kenmei is not easy. It requires focus, discipline, patience, perserverance, and above all, a drive towards continual improvement. It can be applied to everything you do in the dojo.

And yes, I mean everything. In our dojo, we sweep the floor. Lucky us. Here are some thoughts to ponder.

  • Can the dojo be swept better? Yes.
  • Can the broom be cleaned better? Of course.
  • Can the broom be put away properly every time? Definitely.

That’s just for sweeping the floor – a task that takes no particular skill. Imagine what issho-kenmei looks like in your kendo!

What it looks like is giving everything you have, as much as you can. Swing faster. Kiai louder. Hold your posture better. Fold your hakama with more precision. Take care of every aspect of your kendo. Give it your all today so your “all” is even better next year.

Most people spend two days a week in the dojo. That works out to four hours per week. If you take two weeks off from kendo each year, you’ll spend 200 hours a year in the dojo. How you apply yourself during those 200 hours will determine how good your kendo becomes during the year.

If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well. If it’s worth doing well, it’s worth giving it your all. That’s the spirit of issho-kenmei.

Something to think about as we approach 2017 🙂