T. Chinzorig: Kendo athletes do not express their happiness in public when they succeed

T. Chinzorig: Kendo athletes do not express their happiness in public when they succeed

  • By Dashmaa   -   Feb 16,2023
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Kendo is Japan’s national martial art. It is distinguished from other martial arts by sword fighting. Although the sword was the main weapon of the samurai, it was replaced by bamboo from the 19th century, which was the beginning of the development of the art of kendo. Kendo originated as a method of defeating the enemy using the sword, but it has evolved over a long period of history into a sport that has found its current form. There are many athletes who practice this sport in Mongolia. One of them is T.Chinzorig, a senior doctor of the State Central Clinic Hospital and an athlete of the “Chikara Kendo” club. In addition to training and coaching his students, he also participates in competitions. He is a four-time national champion and has international IV degree. Since the club was founded in 2010, he has been practicing consistently and is one of the best who has learned kendo at a high level. He participated as a judge in the “Renshin Cap” international open tournament held in Beijing in 2019. Chinzorig also represented his country in the World Kendo Championship for three consecutive years in from 2015 to 2018. Please enjoy the interview we had with him.

- You are a doctor and you practice martial arts. I thought I would be interested to hear the story of your fascination with kendo?

- I like Japanese culture. Sword fighting is every boy’s dream. Before learning kendo, I first saw it in a movie. One day, I followed my friend to the “UB kendo” club and got acquainted with this sport. At that time, it was rare to practice swordsmanship without injury. I liked kendo more than other sports because of the contact. From that day until now, I have worked as a coach for 7 years during my 13 years of training.

-Doctors need to see their clients in the morning and perform emergency operations. When you come to the club to train after work, are you in a race against time?

- Yes. After work, I rush to the club to train. Try not to be late even if there is heavy traffic. For us, walking and running are part of training. I work as an anesthesiologist at the State Central First Hospital. At the moment, I am on vacation, so I am paying attention to my and friend’s students’ training. When you come to the club, you forget the stress and fatigue of the day and you feel refreshed. N.Otgonsugar, an engineer and technician at our hospital and practices this sport, as well. He won and became the champion when the Nation Kendo Championship was organized in the “Steppe Arena”. Since we work in the same institution, we also meet during surgery. If you meet someone at a busy time, greet someone and say, “I’m going to practice in the evening, right? Let's go to the club and talk comfortably.” N.Otgonsugar started this sport as a child. Shortly after the opening of the Chikara Kendo Club, I went there and continued training.

- There is a saying that the success of the student comes from the teacher. You competed with your student in the Nation Kendo Championship. Did you learn about your students during that competition?

- I train my students, so I know what methods and techniques they use to fight. As for me, I used to win them, but lately I’ve been winning less and less. There are winners and losers in any competition. But no one wants to give up easily to their opponents. I was happy and relieved when I met N.Otgonsugar for the gold medal and became the champion. For him, in addition to training, he mentally prepared himself and attacked without fear. I lost a point and paid him a respect. The sport of kendo has traditions, rules and regulations that have been passed down from time immemorial. Athletes do not say any bad words or behave inappropriately during the competition. Express everything only by etiquette. He must have understood because he studied for many years.

- It seemed that success in kendo fights depends on how the athlete concentrates.

- We start training by meditating. The people frees them from all the events of life and dedicates their training time only to kendo. Even after training, they will meditate and complete their training. During the fight, the athlete must manage his psychology correctly and concentrate well. Most kicks in this sport can be understood as reflexes. Eye and body reflexes become accustomed after long training. Free yourself from all thoughts during battle. But don’t forget to develop a strategy and plan to beat your opponent. Athletes get points by hitting four points: head, wrist, stomach and neck. Hit three of them and stab at one point. Judgment has its own rules. There are standards in the sport of kendo. Even if the athlete hits his opponent hard, it is possible that he will not score. Because during the fight, the psychological state of the athlete is observed. They should look back and stand on the defensive without being too proud of themselves that they have defeated his opponent. Judges often see from the athletes whether they think that the fight will continue. Therefore, you should respect your opponent and make your shots correctly. If you can fulfill the judge’s point of view, you get points.

- Do you find it difficult to train your athletes and participate in competitions?

- Athletes competing in individual kendo events need to work harder on themselves. It is considered inappropriate to talk to each other even if you participate in the team event. Athletes do not express their happiness in public when they succeed. Because you should always respect your opponent who strives for the same things as you. When you lose, it is not appropriate to express your victory with any sound or emotions. If you do something that makes your opponent feel bad, you will be immediately disqualified from the competition.

- Which foreign competition did you participate in for the first time?

-When I first participated in the Asian International Open tournament in Beijing and qualified for the final eight, I realized that it is possible to develop this sport to a certain extent in my country, even without a professional high-level coach. What I felt when I got there was the difference in training. It was seen that the skills of athletes from countries where kendo is developed are better than ours. Mongolians followed the tradition very well, but it was felt that they did little training. A lot of study since then. The skills of Chinese athletes have improved dramatically over the past three years. Their success may have been influenced by the environment in which they practice, their training schedule and management, their country’s policy to develop their sports, and inviting professional coaches from abroad.

-Having gained experience from the Asian Open, did you participate in the World Kendo Championship with a slightly different mindset?

-Kendo is practiced by athletes from more than 130 countries. When competing in the World Kendo Championship, I was crying in the dressing room after losing to European athletes. As for me, I tried to be successful, but I couldn’t get anywhere with the Europeans. My defeat made me dedicate myself to the sport of kendo. After arriving there, I opened the “Chikara Kendo” club together with teacher M.Sarantuya, and invited teachers and coaches from Japan to run it. The athletes were also trained in the country. Teacher M.Sarantuya was in charge of foreign relations, so I trained my athletes 2 to 3 times a year with athletes from Japan, South Korea, and China to improve their skills. The more fight kendo athletes have, the more experienced they become. For example, while foreign athletes train every day, they train three times a week in Mongolia. We get to know each other’s techniques during training, so our skills are on the same level. Therefore, foreigners participate in every organized tournament, gain experience from fighters from other countries, apply it in training, and develop their emotions.

-Kendo is one of the national sports of Japan. Have you heard that the athletes who are training learn more from the traditional order and culture?

- Yes. Samurai were not only the upper class of Japanese society, but also the most highly educated and cultured warriors of their respective societies. They inherited the art of swords and swords from martial arts, and since 1900, they have developed into a kind of sport by wearing protective equipment to avoid injuring each other during training. Its main idea is to prepare well-rounded individuals for the society and the nation through the art of kendo as a sport. Therefore, a sport that values ethics and respects its competitors and those around it. The Japanese culture of communication and respect goes back centuries. Kendo athletes learn from this and apply what they learn in their lives.

- How expensive is this sport? After the competition, do people contact you and inquire about training?

- Athletes get their clothes and equipment with the help of the Mongolian Kendo Federation. Combat uniforms are made of durable fabric, so they won’t fade or tear easily. Depending on the athlete, it can be worn for 10 or 20 years. The most important thing is to take care of it and wear it cleanly. The sword is bamboo. Since Mongolia’s climate is extreme and dry, the bamboo sword is oiled once a month in order not to lose its moisture. More than clothing, swords are the most sought-after item among athletes. During training, the sword will crack and break, so replace it after three months of use, following safety rules. Compared to other high-cost sports, kendo is relatively low.

- At what age are the children who are interested in studying selected?

-Children over 10 years old can attend. First, they fold their clothes properly, then they wash the club floor before training to learn to respect other people’s work. Children who practice kendo from childhood grow into good people. The father and mother of the children who took the lessons said, “My child became healthy and went to school energetically after learning kendo.” The teacher who led the class said about his student, “The child, who used to be quiet, now communicates openly with his classmates.”

- You recently handed over your job as a coach. What was the reason for this decision?

- It is not easy for me to train and participate in competitions in addition to my busy work schedule, so last week I officially handed over the coaching job to my club’s teacher D.Chinbilegt. I will not walk away from kendo. To continue further, I chose the path of an athlete. It may be more interesting for children who are new to the sport, and to communicate with their athletes not as coaches, but as peers, and participate in competitions as competitors. The training of the athletes has been slowed down in the last few years because they are busy and don’t have time to come on duty days. So I apologize to my students. I am sure that a good coach will lead my students to achieve more success than before. Athletes from Japan and Romania returned home after training in our club. We are preparing for this year’s World Kendo Championship in Italy and the Kendo Open in Hong Kong.

- What is the first thing you notice about your competitors?

- Before the competition, I observe my opponent’s behavior, character and psychology. I make a clear conclusion about my competitors and decides how to start and conduct the battle. If the opponent is insecure and nervous, I will attack and fight. But if he is calm, I provoke, burn, and make psychological attacks. The best thing to do in martial arts is to keep your mind calm, evaluate your own skills, and judge your opponent well. Friday coincided with the start of the National Kendo Championship. I would like to thank my work colleagues for understanding me and participating in the competition even though it was a working day.

Dashmaa D