What Everyone knows what a shinai is, but what is it for?
A shinai represents a sword and therefore should be used to kill, but that is not true. According to history, the Katana was replaced primarily by the bokken precisely because it was not so lethal and this was replaced by the shinai to be even less harmful.
Therefore it should not be considered a weapon, since its purpose is not to hurt, but we treat it as such in order to fulfill its function.
The bokken not allow the total effort should be given in real combat. This total effort is known as sutemi. So the shinai appears to let us attack leaving everything behind but without any of the practitioners suffer any damage. Kendo then goes to another level. Far from seeing who is faster becomes a sincere dialogue between two people. And to do it properly, in this dialogue we need to empathize. You have to put yourself in the other shoes on a very deep level and perceive what he feels. At this point exhaustion, anxiety, doubt, fear is shared. We have created a connection and we got to see inside the other person.
This connection requires that both parts understand that Kendo is a death fight, in order to have a sincere dialogue. But death does not occur, and that is thanks to the shinai. Once connected, the feeling of victory and defeat will come closer, the first does not taste as sweet now that you perceive the defeat on the adversary and the latter is mixed with an appreciation for the work of the other.
And when we are able to do all this how to stop it?. You can not, once you are able to see inside others you can not close that door and you become increasingly receptive to others.
While writing this I have discovered (via @hacesQUE) that this concept has a name in Japanese: Ko ken chi aira; but for me it is summarized by the phrase that can be read in my master’s do: “You can not be better kenshin than person” and is that the real growth in kendo has this price. At one point you can not grow without growing in the other.
So, what is the finality of a shinai?
A shinai is for connecting people and when we it is used correctly it does not touch men or kote … it touch the hearts of people