equipment kendo

Mokumoku shugyo

I picked up my first nama-kiji dou in 2015, as a sort of present to myself. Up until that time – unbelievably – I’d never had a bamboo dou. There were a couple of reasons why I didn’t get one: the main one being economic, and the second that I thought that (somehow) a bamboo […]

dojo history kendo

Weekend musha-shugyo and research trip

Last weekend I took some time out of my super busy schedule to visit a kendo friend in Iwate prefecture, in the north of Japan’s main island. I’d been promising to go for years, but with this and that, I’d never managed to quite find the time and make good my promise. Realising I’d probably […]

kendo theory


For perhaps the fifth year (or maybe it’s the sixth) I find myself going through ramadan. Well, not exactly ramadan, as I am an atheist (though not irreligious), but I co-opt the month to do my own sort of spiritual and physical discipline (for the same reason I have tried Lent before). During this period […]


The shugyo spiral

Just under six years ago I published an article entitled The Kendo Lifecycle. It was quite popular at the time and, based on my site stats, is still visited regularly by people from all corners of the Internet. As an extension to this I started, from about two or three years ago, to attempt and […]

dojo history kendo kenshi

Tokyo Musha-Shugyo

At the very end of July this year I took some time out of my normal schedule and headed to Tokyo for a Musha Shugyo, that is, I went on a “warriors pilgrimage,” with the aim of polishing my kendo. In the short time I was there (I stayed five nights in Tokyo) I visited […]

eikenkai kendo

Eikenkai (Oct. 2021)

Today, for the first time in two years, I held an Eikenkai session at my workplace. Up until mid-2017 I had been hosting an open kihon-based session about four-six times per year (since 2008), with attendance getting so crazy at times (over 40 people, hachidans joining, etc.) that I ended up having to limit it. […]

history kendo kenshi

Okumura Nito-Ryu

Tachiai  Early spring 1859. A young 17/18 year old kenshi from Okayama domain, Okumura Sakonta, was nervously standing in the renbujo (an open-air, on earth area used for practicing bujutsu) in the grounds of Tsuyama castle. Facing him was the far more experienced and well known Ikumi Tadaichi. Ikumi, 30 years old, was a Tsuyama […]


Kendo saved me

Just over five years ago one of my sempai suddenly said – knowing I am a kendo book addict – that he was cleaning out some of his stuff and would I take a couple of boxes of kendo books from him. “Of course” I replied, and soon after he gave me a trove of […]

kendo shiai

Pandemic rule changes – mini analysis

While (most of) the rest of the world has been in various stages of lockdown and societies across the world have been facing existential difficulties, things have been going on more-or-less as normal here in Japan. Kendo has faced difficulties of course, for example, with many shiai (todays topic) being postponed or cancelled indefinitely. The […]



With vaccinations rolling out in various parts of the world (not here in Japan though…) and rumour about kendo resuming in some places soon, I think it’s worth looking back and thinking how our non-dojo time was spent during the pandemic. Perhaps you did a lot of suburi? Maybe you took notes? Watched videos? No […]