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 to graduate Busen (the legendary Budo Senmon Gakko in Kyoto). He was told to:


  • With a vigorous spirit and sword, and a good posture, be decisive (in your actions and cutting).
  • Apply pressure to your opponent by reading their intent and seizing his openings with a strong and confident spirit.
  • Do this until your body can react and move naturally.

Luckily he goes on to expand it point by point:


  • vigorous spirit: with a big kiai do your utmost to project your feeling of attack on your opponent;
  • vigorous sword: using both hands correctly cut decisively and strongly with the kensaki.;
  • posture: use your right foot to pressure the opponent, don’t forget to pull up your left foot always, and be careful of your movement after you strike;
  • cut decisively: without showing your intention to strike and from uchima, throw your whole body (sutemi) into the cut;
  • attacking with your spirit: hold the attack in your tanden until breaking point, whilst pressuring forwards;
  • Apply pressure to your opponent by reading their intent and seizing his openings: using your seme, study your opponents movements, both his kikentai and his heart. Pay particular attention to the attack/defence of the opening cut (shotachi).

On top of the advice he received, he then adds his own points:


  • Train your body to become stronger: run, do sit-ups, back stretches, and pushups;
  • Kirikaeshi / Uchikomigeiko: continually practise kirikaeshi and uchimomigeiko. After jigeiko, practise basic men cutting;
  • Continuation of kihon-waza practise: repeatedly execute decisive strikes at opportune moments.

This is a lot to digest, but just reading it has taken us all one step closer to hachidan!

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  1. Leiv Harstad
    September 9, 2008 at 9:40 am

    I feel like I’m almost there 😛

  2. Robin Deegan
    September 9, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    Excellent, Nice post.

  3. Joseph Pielech
    September 9, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    Excellent post. Lots to digest. Actually, I gave 八段の修行 (Hachidan no shugyo) to a friend of mine last year and she loved it. Thanks for the post!

  4. George McCall
    September 9, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    Cheers guys. The quote isnt from that book…. i’ve yet to read it.

  5. Jayson1981
    September 9, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    I love this post…it just gives you actionable things to work on…great work sharing this!

  6. […] Autor: George McCall / Źródło: Kenshi247 […]

  7. Helton
    September 23, 2014 at 6:41 am

    Piece of cake…………………………….not

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