Kote review (Bushizo) 小手

A couple of months ago, completely out of the blue, I was contacted by a representative of Bushizo, a relatively new online kendo equipment reseller based in Tokyo, and asked whether I would like to review their own brand of kote, called ARM. I had seen the press release about the kote before, and had looked at their website, but it didn’t look like something that was suitable for me or the type of keiko I do. I said I’d accept a set (disclaimer: it was a freebie) if they were happy with me writing an honest review, which they …

Learning jodan through teaching it 教うるは学ぶの半ば

About 10 years ago a student of mine – a tall 15 year old girl who had only started kendo seven months earlier) – approached me in the dojo and suddenly said “please teach me jodan.” Not having thought too deeply about it before but knowing that I wanted to learn myself at some point I replied: “Um, ok. Let’s work something out.” The inspiration behind her sudden request had been the wining of the All Japan Championships (mens) by a young jodan-wielding policeman from Kanagawa prefecture a few days earlier (this was early Nov. 2008). It had been the …

Osaka Kangeiko 2019 寒稽古

Happy new year! As is the norm here in Japan, the year-end/year-start season is a busy kendo one. Amazingly I actually did end up having a handful of non-kendo days over the period (family time), but I managed to make up for the missed keiko days by cramming multiple sessions in a very short time – five in the last two days alone! This year, as normal, I attended both days of the Osaka kendo associations kangeiko (usually it is a three day event). On the first day I participated as a motodachi for pretty much all of it, but …

Decade 十年間

Another year is done. 100s of keiko sessions, thousands of kirikaeshi, countless suburi, and a couple of beers. Unlike most years, however, this one seemed to fly by. Probably because this it ushered in some rather significant changes/advances to both my personal and budo life. The main reason for starting kenshi 24/7 a decade ago was to share my kendo experiences here in Japan with an audience outside of it. Although the content nowadays tends to lie more on exploring, introducing, and explaining the cultural/historical side of budo, that original purpose has never quite disappeared. Today’s slightly more personal post …