Year: 2012

Naito Takaharu 内藤高治

Naito Takaharu (1862-1929) was one of the most influential kenshi to pick up a shinai. Born as as Ichige Takaharu in Mito in 1862, his Samurai parents were of budo stock: his father an archery instructor for the domain and his mother the daugher of the Hokushin Itto-ryu shihan Watanabe. At the age of 7 he began the tradition study of Japanese as well as kenjutsu and swimming. At the age of 12 – in 1874, just 3 years after the end of the more traditional domain system – Takaharu joined what was to become one of the most renowned …

Men no tsukekata

In the kendo that we do nowadays there are two styles of tying the men: the ‘Kansai’ or the ‘Kanto’ style. The second of the two tends to be the most common. The difference in attaching the chichi-gawa (leather straps) to the men, and tying the men is as follows: ‘Kanto’ (pictured below) – both chichi-gawa are attached to the fourth bar from the bottom of the men, on the left and right sides. You then tie the men to your head by winding the the himo (strings) around your head once and threading through the top of the grill …

Re-discovery

I was lucky to spend my university years in the U.K.’s most beautiful city, Edinburgh. A city with a long and interesting history, unique architecture (‘Athens of the north’), and host to Europe’s largest cultural festivals, its a great place to be when you are young. And smacked right in the center of this wonderful town is the imposing Edinburgh castle. For 4 years I wondered about the city looking at the castle everyday. For my first few weeks in the city I used it as an orientation tool… was I facing north or south? Which way should I walk …

Small things

Sometimes I come across people in the dojo that have a certain sense of ‘something.’ This is nothing to do with physical ability per se, but more to do with their manner, how they naturally move, and the way that they approach keiko. Often, its hard to say what exactly makes them look (feel?) good, but for the sake of this small article I will try and verbalise – from my perspective – what some of these things may be. This list is of course completely arbitrary, and I don’t go into full explanations exactly…. allowing you to construct your …

Old geezer

A couple of weeks ago in the dojo a young kohai of mine, about 24 years old, attacked and knocked over one of the older sensei in his late 70s (needless to say, it wasn’t deliberate). The sensei fell backwards and knocked his head on the dojo floor. Keiko stopped and everyone rushed to him. He was a bit dazed but seemed alright. We took him to the edge of the dojo, removed all his bogu, gave him some water and generally made a fuss over him. The rest of the dojo resumed practise. In the end he was fine, …