So it is well known that every year, there is an All Japan 8th Dan Championships, which produces some truly exemplary matches, that are both thrilling and exciting. However, it is less well known that there is a similar tournament held each year in Korea.
As I am unable to read or understand Korean, I unfortunately only have limited information about this championships, though I do know that there are several very accomplished Korean 8th Dan Sensei. Here is a highlight video of the 2018 Korea 8th Dan Championships:
Although I do not think it is necessarily productive to compare this tournament too much with its Japanese counterpart, it is interestingly quite different. Of course, there are the superficial differences, which are common to most tournaments in Korea - such as the replacement of the red flags/ribbons with blue ones. However, the interactions between the competing Sensei are also quite different. Korean Kendo (Kumdo) often stirs up debate, and even criticism, but once again, I think it is unproductive to compare this tournament with the Japanese version, at least in a critical way.
There are good reasons for many of the differences and it is easy to see something that is different from what we are accustomed to as being wrong - but often it is a mistake to do so. Therefore, I would encourage all Kendoka to view this video with a positive attitude, and consider the example presented by these accomplished Sensei as another area of study as we pursue improvement in the art of Kendo.
Video from - swkendo