Some paintings by Tonegato have been published in the book: “LILA, stories of Kendo”, edited by the KENZAN Association, Editore 30 Holding srl, Varese, 2018.
This is a collection of texts on the discipline of Kendo, written by several practitioners of Kendo; each text is combined with artworks created by Italian and Japanese artists.
Kendo and love.
By Marco Tonegato
“What I believe I understood about kendo is that it is an act of love. Love towards others, whether they practice kendo or not, towards places and things that surround us and, last but not least, an act of love towards ourselves.
Act of love (respect) towards others.
I often feel like a beginner even though I have been practicing kendo for over 10 years. This is not because of my grade, but because I put too much attention to my ego, whereas I should concentrate it on the relationship with others.
It is because of my ego that sometimes I do not want to be hit during kendo competitions. However, if we do not let ourselves be hit by the opponent, there is no improvement.
Same goes for my daily life, where my ego sometimes prevents me from opening myself to others, opening my heart. It also stops me from truly, carefully and deeply listening, not just the physical act of it. In the practice of kendo if you do not listen to your opponent, if you do not create a “dialogue” with him/her, but just concentrate on yourself, then he/she will hit you. Your kendo is not always the same as each time you need to adjust it to the opponent. The same concept is applied to everyday life where it is necessary to adapt to different situations whenever they arise: for instance, at the painting workshop I have been running for a few years with a social co-operative, whenever there is a disabled person I need to find the right way to relate to him/her according to his/her own characteristics.
Act of love (respect) towards places and things.
Taking care of the place where we practice kendo helps appreciating the moments when we tidy up our home or workplace. It also helps to understand that public space is everyone’s space and not anyone’s space, meaning that it is everyone’s responsibility to keep it clean. Dealing with the correct use and care of weapons and armor equals to taking care of our car and leaving safely for a trip. It is an act of love apologizing with and thanking for its shadow on warm days an overgrown tree branch we have to cut.
Act of love (respect) towards ourselves.
I understood that kendo is an instrument for better live the present, teaching us to spend it with greater awareness. We live waiting for death to come. We live among yesterday’s memories and plans for tomorrow, although there will not always be a “tomorrow”.
Grasping the present is not easy. Examining time by limits, that is by reducing more and more the unit of measurement considered “the present”, a minute ago is already “the past” and the next minute is currently still “the future”. What lies between the two moments, between the before and after? There is the present, that is an instant, the now. But it is hard to think and understand the now. Everything is and happens either “before” or “after” our reasoning about the current instant.
Kendo, with its rapid attacks, does not allow to think about which technique or countertechnique I will have to execute to hit the opponent. Therefore I think that kendo also teaches not to postpone actions, to do things now because there may not be an “afterwards”.
Life in a breath.
Love in a smile.
The painting in a brush stroke. “