kendo shiai

All Japan Teachers Kendo Championships

A couple of weekends ago I found myself in Kyoto watching this years All Japan Teachers Kendo Championships. It was the first time I’d attended this event and was intrigued into how it ran.

The taikai was split into basically three competitions: ladies individuals, mens individual, and mens team, with all competitors either being a teacher of some sort (kindergarten, primary, junior high, senior high, university, technical college, support teacher, etc. etc.) or a staff member of their affiliated prefectures Board of Education (who usually have teaching backgrounds).

In the case of the individual competitions, all the female teachers were grouped into a single shiai irrespective of what kind of teacher they were or their age. The men were split into two groups, with all competitors being under 45 years old: group 1. kindergarten/primary/junior high; and group 2. senior high/university/Board of Education. The competitors from group 1 and 2 plus another from either group (all decided at preliminary competition at the prefectural level) were combined with another two members to make the mens team: Fukusho: between 45-55 years old (school type irrelevant); and Taisho: over 55 (school type irrelevant). It sounds complex, but it’s not really!

As with other shiai that have combinations of age, gender, and job (e.g. Todofuken, Kokutai, etc), this competition offers a wider variety of kendo than what you see at things like the Zen nippon senshuken, the Tozai-taiko, or the Hachidan senbatsu, and due to this it can be, at least in my opinion, a more interesting viewing experience.

I uploaded a simple highlight vid to YouTube last week and shared it on Facebook, where it well received, so I thought I’d post the vid here, as well as share a few snaps of the event. Enjoy!

Highlight vid:

A selection of snaps:

By George

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