Kendo’s declared purpose is “to mold the mind and body, to cultivate a vigorous spirit, to strive for improvement through rigid training, to hold in esteem human courtesy and honor … ” Kendo teaches to overcome our human weakness and recalls the mythical tension between good and evil, between light and darkness.
Among traditional symbols of light and darkness, the shadow often represents the dark side of human nature. So I staged a battle between the Kendoka (剣道家 – practioner of Kendo) and her shadow, as a way to depict this internal struggle.
To make these photographs, Sazz Watanabe was kind enough to put on her full gear and to pose for me in the middle of an underground tunnel, triggering many puzzled looks on the face of unsuspecting drivers!
“千日の稽古を鍛とし 万日の稽古を錬とす そして勝負は一瞬: It takes 1,000 days of practice to forge the spirit, and 10,000 days of practice to polish it. But a bout is decided in a second …”