2010 – Eikenkai in Scotland

Eikenkai organiser George went back to his home country of Scotland and whilst there managed to conduct a small 2-day kendo workshop as well as some local keiko in the beautiful city of Edinburgh.

The two day workshop consisted solely of kihon with only a small amount of jigeiko had. More was planned but due to time constraints (only 6 hours on Saturday, 3 hours on Sunday) the content of the keiko had to be somewhat restricted.

All in all about 40 individuals attended (or watched) the sessions over the two days, and included representatives from all the leading kendo clubs in the country, specifically Edinburgh kendo club and its satellite dojo (especially Edinburgh university club and Yugenkai) and people from the west coast.

Special thanks go to people who travelled down from Aberdeen and to Jon Fitzgerald (current U.K. kendo team member, Tora dojo) who came up from London for the event.

Hopefully we will be able to do something like this again in a couple of years time!

Kendoka shashin meikan

a.k.a. kendoka pictorial directory

Editors comment: what follows here is another great translation by Isaac which I believe will be useful to the researchers out there. This book – kendoka shashin meikan (剣道家写真名鑑) was published in 1925, and it attempts to catalogue the butokukai of that time. This includes not only various pictures but the names (and addresses… which I chose to omit!) of the leading kendoka within the organisation.

I’ve taken the files that Isaac gave me and edited/formatted them to the best of my ability, but I am sure there are some dodgy formatting and the odd transliteration error in there. Rather than sit and stare at the article by myself indefinitely in an attempt to perfect it, I decided to just publish it. Put it down to “sutemi” !!!

Published in the 5th Month of the 13th Year of Taisho (1925)


This thing called Kendō is the embodiment of the Japanese spirit; it is a method of training the body and mind that is unique to our country, and something that can be proudly shown to the rest of the world. 

Therefore, since the days of old, those who have studied this art have been many, and since the establishment of the butokukai in the 28th year of the Meiji, it has prospered even more, so much so that now, those who have achieved the Seiren-shō(1) level certificate number several hundred – it can be said that the art is truly thriving.

In order to make further efforts into investigating this art, and to spread goodwill to and to be of assistance to the Kendō practitioners in various parts of Japan, I have organized the committee to publish Kendōka Shashin Meikan.

Continue reading Kendoka shashin meikan

The kendo lifecycle 剣道のライフサイクル

(a.k.a.Kendo and you: what it means and how you approach it at various points in your life)

I started kendo at the comparatively late age of 19 (I’m 35 now) and, with only 16 years of practise under my belt, I can say with no false humility that my experience is pretty shallow… considering that many of my sempai and sensei have over 50 years of experience. During these 16 years the way that I have approached kendo – what it is and why I do it – has changed drastically. Part of that is, of course, simply because I have gotten older, and part of it is because of my current kendo situation: I am not only surrounded by highly experienced instructors (some of whom are professional kendo teachers) but I have also become – mostly through chance, but partially through design – a (high school) kendo teacher myself. I consider myself to be very lucky.

As my aim for practising has changed, so has my approach to kendo… not just in the way I swing my shinai, but how I aim to interact with my students, my kendo friends, my sempai, and my sensei, and how I conduct myself in these relationships. I have also seen a large change in how my sensei treat me. I guess that this change in approach is something that happens to everyone.

Continue reading The kendo lifecycle 剣道のライフサイクル

Bokuto ni yoru kendo kihon waza keikoho

I am sure most if not all regular kenshi247.net readers have at least heard of bokuto ni yoru kihon waza keiko ho if not already actively practising it (some people for years I guess). The first time I was introduced to it was in 2000 (or 2001?) at a seminar in Brussels, Belgium (Editor: see Serge’s comment below). What we were doing wasn’t explained to us and we rushed through the practise of it. 10 years later I find myself in a position where I must actively teach this to my beginner students as – starting this year (2010) – it has become a requirement for ikkyu across Japan.

Although I’ve been through it a few times and I think it an extremely simple set of exercises, I thought I had better go to a seminar and find out exactly what it is for and what I am meant to teach. What follows here is (selected/partial) translated information from the materials provided by a seminar held in Osaka earlier this year. The seminar was taught by 5 hachidan and the participants had to be at least godan (exceptions where made for school teachers lower than this). I also recently received direct instruction on the method by a sensei who had recently attended a hachidan-only seminar where this was taught.

I will leave my personal comments to the end.

Continue reading Bokuto ni yoru kendo kihon waza keikoho

Tachikiri 立ち切り

Every year, the kendo community in Aomori conducts two tachikiri events. Tachikiri is often rendered in English as “stand all the way training.” Even has a long time practitioner of kendo, the first time I got to witness tachikiri keiko, I would have been tempted to describe it as “loser stays in” kendo training. Essentially what goes on in a tachikiri event is an individual is selected to take on multiple opponents in succession. The exact protocol for the event differs from location to location in Japan. In Aomori there is a younger person’s tachikiri in which two opponents take on thirty six opponents, and on a second occasion during the year, a senior tachikiri in which an older motodachi takes on twenty-four opponents. In this article, I will describe the protocols for these events and share the lessons I learned as an observer and participant (kakarite) in this unusual, lesser-known form of kendo training.

Continue reading Tachikiri 立ち切り