Budo or sport? : competing conceptions of Kendo within the Japanese upper secondary physical education curriculum
Kendo is one of the Japanese martial arts (Budo). Kendo within the Physical Education( PE) curriculum at upper secondary schools is taught with the aim of learning the traditional etiquette of Budo, to learn skills and to lay the foundation for lifelong sports participation. The Japanese Ministry of Education, Science and Culture expects school Kendo teachers to achieve these aims within a child-centred approach, not in a traditional drill-type approach to teaching. This thesis aims to explore school Kendo teachers'views of Kendo within the PE curriculum as sport and / or as Budo, and the teaching of tactics and strategies in their Kendo lessons. It also attempts to develop and present a new approach to the teaching of Kendo making use of tactical and strategic ideas. The thesis IS multi-layered in methodological terms. The research was conducted by the use of two rounds of semi-structured interviews with seventeen and then fifty-three upper secondary school Kendo teachers respectively. The final phase of the research was a practical action research project carried out in a Japanese Secondary School. A range of methods was employed, comprising: participative observation, documentary analyses, a written test and a skill-related test. The data from the interviews revealed that school Kendo teachers wish to have their lessons aimed at character building such as learning the traditional etiquette by following the traditional approach to Kendo as Budo. The results of the interviews also revealed that most teachers were reluctant to teach sport tactics as it was counter to the dominant ideology of Budo as "real Kendo". These teachers believe that teaching tactics was inconsistent with the traditional etiquette of fighting fairly, and that would only help pupils to understand "Kendo as a competitive sport" as opposed to "real Kendo" as Budo. The results of the action research at an upper secondary school in Fukuoka Prefecture show that pupils developed their skills and understanding of competitive, cultural and attitudinal domains of Kendo as Budo through a tactical approach. They also expressed pleasure in this planning and execution of their own learning goals. I conclude, then, that the tactical approach to the teaching of Kendo can be incorporated into the PE curriculum without compromising the essential philosophy of Kendo as Budo.