eikenkai kendo

Eikenkai (Feb. 2023)

Last weekend the first Eikenkai session of the year was held, as is usual, at my work dojo. 35 people attended with 14 nationalities represented: Scotland, England, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Croatia, New Zealand, Australia, America, Russia, China, and Japan (of those one person won the World Championships team event in the past, and about six others were or are current national team members).

My dojo isn’t small, but it isn’t big, so it may have felt a little bit jam-packed to some people… however, I actually like the feeling of doing keiko with so many people in such close quarters. It not also forces you to be aware of your surroundings, but with people being so close, the noise and the energy factor is multiplied.

GoPro footage screen grab

Todays session was split into three parts: a free hour of kata practice before hand, 40 mins or so of kihon, then about 45 mins of jigeiko. After finishing some people stayed behind and did a little more more jigeiko as well. 

The kihon session was pretty simple: people were first organised in groups of three and techniques were partitioned by time rather than the amount you did. When you finished whatever it was that you were practicing you could freely move to any other group if there was an opening. This allowed people who wanted to do more to do so, and those that weren’t so confident physically (e.g. who were working through an injury or in recovery from one) to take their time. 

The kihon session was partitioned into sections as follows: 1: kirikaeshi without blocking; 2: a large and big single kirikaeshi; 3: three-men-taiatari-one kirikaeshi (as I explained in a recent post); 4: free kihon section; 5: uchikomi (men, kote-men, men-taiatari-hiki-men, men); 6: a final kirikaeshi like no.3 above. This took about 40 mins and, after a 10 min break, it was mens back-on and jigeiko time.

I total forgot to bring my camera and, being on my feet from start-to-finish, I barely took any photos… plus, because I had to run to my next keiko straight after (of course, I did some post-keiko jigeiko before heading to my next keiko), I didn’t take a group shot. Anyway, I’ll share what snaps I have. 

I am thinking to hold the next session either before or (more likely) just after the Kyoto Taikai so, if you think you will be in the Kansai area around about that time and you want to join, please get in touch.

By George

George is the founder and chief editor of
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