kendo kyototaikai

Kyoto Taikai 2024

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Aaaaaand, that’s another Kyoto Taikai done. This year I took part in two embu and spent three days in or around the Butokuden. During the train journey home I realised that I have been attending the event annually since 2004 = 20 years ago (there were two pandemic years when it wasn’t held).

Obviously, since I’ve been writing about it for so long on kenshi 24/7 there isn’t much new to talk about. Instead I’ll just share some media and links.

Oh, the only thing of note was the event has not gone back to what it was pre-pandemic. Spectators are limited to a seated area in the south and participants are shepherded about and orderly fashion. Participants now actually have enough space to sit down and put bogu on in peace, which is great.

Day 1: koryu, naginata, jodo, and iaido.

Live video stream east and west.

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Day 2: renshi (rokudan and nanadan) and first batch of kyoshi (nanadan)

Live video stream east and west.

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In the evening I attended a large godo keiko session in the north of Kyoto. The highlight of this two hour keiko was a full on battle with Tsubasa Budogu’s Tomas Miranda.

Day 3: kyoshi (nanadan)

I didn’t spend so much time at the event today as I wanted to get back home to my daughter. It was good to note that the budo centre was open for free keiko again (as well as asageiko), the first time since 2019.

Live video stream east and west.

Free keiko in the budo centre
The Busen school building used to be located here. Now people smoke next to it…
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Day 4: kyoshi and hanshi (hachidan).

I didn’t attend this day. Live video stream east and west.

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Lately I’ve been feeling somewhat overwhelmed by kendo stuff. Not just the volume of keiko, which is itself demanding (I’ve nobody to blame for this but myself!), but the other kendo-related things that come with it: organising a club, dealing with requests for this and that, increased numbers of visitors from abroad, embu (I did two embu this Golden Week, but I could’ve done four…), dojo administration, helping with shiai, and on and on… it never seems to end. So this year I decided to chill a bit more at the Kyoto Taikai than usual but, to be honest, it didn’t really end up that way: it’s hard work! Will I skip it next year? I doubt it…

As the pandemic kicked in your truly, like many others it seems, picked up a musical instrument. Actually, before I became addicted to kendo, I spent most of my mid/late teenage years playing guitar. I stopped seriously when I was about 19 or 20 I think it was, and never really played after that. Now, however, I spend most of my free time (what I have anyway … ) glued to a guitar.

As a long-term lapsed player basically re-learning guitar, I have felt the immense benefit that studying kendo for 30 years+ has given me: I am patient as I now know that practicing the same (considered) thing over and over will eventually lead to mastery (of sorts). Shugyo, in guitar, is as important as in kendo.

I wonder what I will learn next.

By George

George is the founder and chief editor of
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