Martin Mieloszyk is the president of L’Marc International, Inc., a financial services company based in New York. In his free time, Martin Mieloszyk practices and competes in kendo, or Japanese fencing.
Literally translated as “the way of the sword,” kendo is derived from traditional swordsmanship techniques developed centuries ago by the samurai, who combined fighting arts with spiritual training. Modern kendo was established in the late 18th century with the introduction of protective equipment and safer bamboo swords. Today, kendo is a combination of martial arts and rigorous physical exercise that strengthens body, mind, and character. It is a well-known international sport, and since 1970, world championships are held every three years.
Practitioners of kendo are known as kendoka or kenshi, and they are ranked according to their skill and length of practice. Two types of swords are used in kendo: a shinai or bamboo sword is used for sparring and a bokuto or wooden sword is used to practice basic techniques called kata. In addition to a kendo jacket and trousers similar to culottes, kendoka wear armor that protects their face, chest, hands, forearms, and thighs.
During a kendo competition, there are seven designated strike zones on the body: the top, left, and right sides of the head; the left and right torso; the right wrist in any position; and the left wrist when it is raised. Strikes on other parts of the body do not win points. Competitors vocalize loudly before they strike not only to express their fighting spirit, but also to indicate where they will strike their opponent. Typically, in a kendo match, the first competitor to score two out of three points wins.