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eikenkai kendo

Eikenkai (Oct. 2021)

Today, for the first time in two years, I held an Eikenkai session at my workplace. Up until mid-2017 I had been hosting an open kihon-based session about four-six times per year (since 2008), with attendance getting so crazy at times (over 40 people, hachidans joining, etc.) that I ended up having to limit it. […]

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history kendo kenshi

The three crows of Yushinkan

Late afternoon summer 1930, Hongo-shinmasago-saka (in modern day Bunkyo-ku). A tallish slender young man, about 19 years old, walked up to the entrance of Yushinkan, the dojo of Nakayama Hakudo. Dangling on the shinai bag that was resting heavily on his right shoulder was another bag with his bogu in it. In his left hand […]

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history kendo kenshi

Okumura Nito-Ryu

Tachiai  Early spring 1859. A young 17/18 year old kenshi from Okayama domain, Okumura Sakonta, was nervously standing in the renbujo (an open-air, on earth area used for practicing bujutsu) in the grounds of Tsuyama castle. Facing him was the far more experienced and well known Ikumi Tadaichi. Ikumi, 30 years old, was a Tsuyama […]

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history kendo kenshi

Takayama Minezaburo: the scourge of Keishicho

The political revolution that occurred in Japan across the entire second half of the 19th century brought in a slew of changes in all aspects of life for everyone in the country. The coup d’etat on the 3rd of January 1868 was the principal political event of the Meiji Restoration, but it took decades after […]

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kendo

Kendo saved me

Just over five years ago one of my sempai suddenly said – knowing I am a kendo book addict – that he was cleaning out some of his stuff and would I take a couple of boxes of kendo books from him. “Of course” I replied, and soon after he gave me a trove of […]

Categories
kendo shiai

Pandemic rule changes – mini analysis

While (most of) the rest of the world has been in various stages of lockdown and societies across the world have been facing existential difficulties, things have been going on more-or-less as normal here in Japan. Kendo has faced difficulties of course, for example, with many shiai (todays topic) being postponed or cancelled indefinitely. The […]

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kendo

Hitorigeiko

With vaccinations rolling out in various parts of the world (not here in Japan though…) and rumour about kendo resuming in some places soon, I think it’s worth looking back and thinking how our non-dojo time was spent during the pandemic. Perhaps you did a lot of suburi? Maybe you took notes? Watched videos? No […]

Categories
gradings kendo

Point of view: female gradings

(Note that I added an UPDATE section at the end of the article) A number of years ago, while on a seminar in Edinburgh (actually, in the pub afterwards), a young female kenshi from Sweden asked me why there were no female kendo hachidan (they exist in iaido and jodo). I slowly quaffed my beer […]

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miscellaneous

Chin up!

It has been just over a year now since my dojo closed. Not my work one, luckily, but my main adult one. Since coming to Japan, the majority of my keiko has revolved around the police. My first two years were spent at the main police dojo for a medium sized city in Hiroshima prefecture, […]

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equipment kendo

What’s in my kendo bag

I read an anecdote many years ago (when, where, and by who by I can’t remember*) that has stuck with me over time. In it a kenshi tells the story about how they would often go to the Nippon Budokan for keiko, walking up a sloped path from the nearest station, Kudanshita. En-route sometimes they […]