The Path of the Kendoka-Businessman: A Journey of Balance

Yerkin Tatishev, 5th dan in Kendo and President of the Kendo and Iaido Federation of Kazakhstan and also a successful Kazakhstani and International businessman, formulates his philosophy of the Warrior’s Path as follows: “In the beginning, you are a businessman who does Kendo. Then you’re a kendoka who runs a business…”
In the bustling streets of Tokyo, where suits and ties blend seamlessly with traditional hakama, there exists a unique individual — the Kendoka-Businessman. He is not just a businessman who practices Kendo; he is a kendoka who runs a business. His life embodies the fusion of two seemingly disparate worlds — the boardroom and the dojo.
The Beginning: A Businessman Takes Up Kendo

Our story begins with a successful businessman. It doesn’t matter what country he lives in. We will talk about a universal principle.

He navigates the corporate landscape, making deals, analyzing spreadsheets, and chasing profits. But deep within, there is a longing — a yearning for something more. Perhaps it’s the monotony of the daily grind or the weight of responsibility that gnaws at his soul.

One day, fate leads him to a Kendo dojo. The clash of bamboo swords, the intensity of the training, and the echoes of ancient wisdom resonate with him. He dons the kendogi, ties the hakama, and steps onto the tatami. Here, he discovers a new dimension — a path that transcends mere business transactions.
The Transformation: From Businessman to Kendoka

As the businessman practices Kendo, he undergoes a transformation. The sword becomes an extension of his being — a mirror reflecting his inner struggles. In the dojo, he learns not only the physical techniques but also the art of presence. Each strike is a meditation, each movement a lesson in mindfulness.

The kendoka sheds the armor of corporate identity. He no longer measures success solely in profits but in the precision of his strikes, the depth of his kiai, and the sincerity of his bow. The boardroom fades, replaced by the wooden floor where he faces opponents and himself.
The Integration: Balancing the Sword and the Spreadsheet

And then it happens — the fusion. The kendoka-businessman emerges. He wears the hakama during the day and the suit at night. His office desk holds a shinai alongside the laptop. In meetings, he channels the spirit of Mushin — the no-mind state — making decisions with clarity and detachment.

He applies the principles of Kendo to business negotiations. The same focus that guides his strikes now sharpens his strategies. He knows that victory lies not in overpowering opponents but in finding harmony — the delicate balance between assertiveness and humility.
The Deeper Meaning: Budo, Zen, and the Way of Life

Our kendoka-businessman embodies the essence of Budo — the martial way. Budo transcends physical combat; it is a path of self-improvement, integrity, and compassion. In the boardroom, he practices Zanshin — the lingering awareness — never fully detached, always ready for the next opportunity.

His journey echoes Zen teachings — the simplicity, the acceptance of impermanence, and the pursuit of enlightenment. The kendoka-businessman understands that success is not a destination but a continuous unfolding — a journey along the Way (Do).
Conclusion: The Unbroken Circle

In the end, the kendoka-businessman realizes that the sword and the spreadsheet are not adversaries. They are two sides of the same coin — the unbroken circle of life. His Kendo practice sharpens his mind, hones his spirit, and fuels his business acumen.

So, if you meet a kendoka-businessman, bow respectfully. For he walks the Way — the path of the sword and the pen, the tatami and the office. And in that delicate dance, he discovers the secret: Life is not about choosing one path; it’s about weaving them together — the businessman and the kendoka, the profit and the kiai, the spreadsheets and the strikes.