Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Kinesiology and Sport Studies

Major Professor

Craig A. Wrisberg

Committee Members

Leslee A. Fisher, Joel F. Diambra, Noriko J. Horiguchi


The aim of this study was to extend existing literature on the martial arts by examining the experience of kendo (Japanese fencing) participants. In-depth, existential phenomenological interviews were conducted with nine (eight males and one female) currently competitive kendo practitioners (i.e., kenshi), ranging in age from 19 to 40 years. All participants were of Japanese descent but resided in the United States at the time of the interviews. Thematic analysis of the transcripts revealed several prominent aspects of the lives and performance experiences of kenshi. The most important finding was the relatively equal emphasis participants placed on the mastery of kendo technique, aesthetically elegant skill execution, and victory in competition. Other aspects of kenshi’s experience included the building of strong relationships with influential sensei (i.e., instructors), the display of proper manners and etiquette, and the learning of life lessons.

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