Categories
kendo

Lose and cut

Recently I’ve had a few people telling me the same thing: I take it easy in ippon shoubu, and need to attack more. For most people who know me and how much I thoroughly hate losing, this might raise a chuckle. After all, how can I have produced the results I have to date by […]

Categories
dojo history

Yagyu no sato

Yagyu no sato (柳生の里) is a small village in Nara prefecture, Japan. Passing through it in a car or by very infrequent bus, you would probably notice nothing particularly different to any other sleepy rural Japanese town. However, this town was the center of Yagyu-han, the ancestral home of the Yagyu family, the masters of […]

Categories
kendo

Jodan Renaissance?

This year Kanagawa-kenkei’s (Kanagawa prefecture police force) Shodai Kenji won the 56th All Japan Championships. As a young policeman on his prefectural A-team, a 4th time entrant to the competition, and an extremely serious contender for being in the Japan national side for next years World Championships there is nothing surprising here. What might be […]

Categories
history kendo kenshi

Kendo Places #1: Reigando

I’d like to start the first in a series of short articles entitled “Kendo Places” by writing about a place that all kendo enthusiasts should visit at least once in their life and that is connected with one of the most famous swordsmen in Japanese history: REIGANDO. Reigando (霊巌洞) is basically a small cave in […]

Categories
iaido

Student Iai

Whilst nowhere near as popular or widespread as kendo, dedicated iaido clubs can be found at many Japanese universities. University students often have a strong showing in shiai, and student taikai are highly competitive with some great iai on show. University club members often have extremely strong form, visually impressive iai, and ability far beyond […]

Categories
theory

The How of Co-creation

After three years in Japan, I went back to the States and back to school, doing a BA in Psychology, particularly focusing on social and cultural psychology. I was quite fascinated at the idea of Japanese and other East Asian cultures thinking and even perceiving the world differently. Returning to Japan in 2005, I had […]

Categories
iaido

The Benefits and Disadvantages of Tameshigiri Practice

Tameshigiri has been quite the hot discussion on forums lately. It will always pop back up after a few weeks of dormancy and then someone will bring it back up again. In these discussions you always have the advocates of tameshigiri, the side that frowns upon it, and couple of guys who are just curious […]

Categories
kendo

How to pass hachidan

Here is the advice that was given to my favourite teacher just prior to him passing his hachidan on this 4th attempt at the age of 49 a few years ago. The advice was given to him by the shihan of my dojo, a kendo hanshi who was in the last class of 5 people […]

Categories
kendo

Secrets of Kuzushi (崩し大全)

Inspired by George’s recent translations, I decided to be bold (and possibly foolish!) and offer up one of my own. As most of us know, kuzushi (崩し) is a very important concept in Japanese budo (武道). Kuzushi goes beyond merely unbalancing an opponent; it drives to the heart of destroying the opponent’s mental and physical […]

Categories
kendo

Seme #1: Furukawa Kazuo

一足一刀の間合よりやや遠い間合で構え、相手の竹刀に表・裏から付けたり、軽く押せたりして相手の「心」・「気」に触れてみる。そこから、さらに竹刀の表・裏を力強く、短く張って中心を抑えながら一足一刀の間合に入り、時に剣先をわずかに突き出したり、グッと下にしたりして強い攻めをみせ、相手の手元の動きを見る。この時、足の動きは含み足で行なう。含み足とは、足指の全てを使って這うようにして一寸きざみに間合を詰める動きである。この攻めを何回かくり返し、相手の気分と剣先の動きを見ながら、攻め方と技の組み立てを考える。 – 古川和男、剣道時代の「名選手、錬磨の日々」(1983ー84)からの抜粋です。「錬磨の日々」の本は1989発行。 Seme Taking your kamae from a little bit outside issoku-itto-no-ma, lightly feel out your opponents shinai on both sides, all the time testing and looking at his KOKORO (心) and KI (気). From there, strongly press both sides of your opponents shinai and – whilst taking control of the center line – […]