Categories
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 […]

Categories
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 […]

Categories
kendo theory

Shugyo

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 […]

Categories
theory

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 […]

Categories
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 […]

Categories
eikenkai kendo

Eikenkai (Nov. 2022)

Yesterday, for the first time this year, I held an Eikenkai session at my work dojo. Twenty-one friends gathered together representing something like ten countries (Japan, China, Scotland, Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Croatia, America, and New Zealand) for a spirited morning of keiko. A couple of us arrived at the dojo at 7:30am-ish to practice […]

Categories
kendo

Seeking the true way

I think it was about seven years ago but it might have easily been eight or six, a graduate from my kendo club came to my school with a gift. It was an older gentleman, someone who had graduated decades before I arrived, so not one of my direct students. I wasn’t around when he […]

Categories
kendo

Kendo Sanmai

I have large stack of unread, or partly-read, kendo books in my closet. I pick them up from time to time and flick through them. Also in the stack is, I must admit, books I read (some only sort-of) but decided they didn’t contain much useful information. All my really good kendo books don’t live […]

Categories
history kendo kenshi

The iron will of the kendo god Ueda Heitaro

Intro: part one Spring, 1894 (10th-11th of April). To celebrate the building of a new dojo at Saka-no-ue police station in Takamatsu city, Kagawa prefecture, a two day Budo embu-taikai was held. Just a couple of days earlier, on the 8th, another large taikai had been held at the central police station in Takamatsu. Kenshi […]

Categories
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. […]