kendo shiai

Awesome kendo weekend

Last Saturday, like this time last year, my students and I spent most of the day working at one of the highest level shiai in Osaka prefecture: the preliminaries for the National Athletic Meet. What we did during the shiai was exactly the same as the year before, so please check out the article linked above if you are interested.

Note that there was a slight re-naming of the competition starting this year: from “Kokutai taiiku taikai” to “Kokumin supotsu taikai.” The official English name has changed from “National Sports Festival” to “Japan Games.” This change in title has basically no impact on the associated competitions, but what is suggested by it is a shift in emphasis from the country imposing sport on people for its (the country’s) own good, to the individual and their enjoyment of exercise. Note that this national level competition was born and reached peak popularity in the 1920s and 30s, when Japan actively sought to strengthen its citizenry for military use. Anyway, the change is on par with some of the stuff I discussed last year about physical education in Japan.

Three members of the Japanese team for the upcoming WKC were in attendance and on amazing form… good luck if you have to face them!

Check out some snaps here. Note that Shudokan is undergoing some sort of roof strengthening. I wonder if this is because of what happened to the now-shuttered Shingikan?

Osaka kendo association uploaded some vid on YouTube, but it isn’t very good quality. Maybe next year I’ll volunteer to take footage for them…

The very next day I got up at 6am to prepare to run a mini, one-day gasshuku for my students. It had been a few months in the planning, and we had a couple of hiccups on the way, but we finally made it across the border into Hyogo prefecture and spent the day in the oldest dojo (by tradition) in the Kinki region: Shubukan.

I actually hired this dojo once before – for an Eikenkai session back in 2016 – so please re-read that article for a little bit of background information.

The plan for the day was rather simple:

1. 9:00~11:45am - intense training (footwork, suburi, kihon, oikomi, uchukomi)
2. 13:00~13:40 - oji-waza
3: 13:50~14:50 - kachinuki shiai (we divided into two teams and fought against each other)
4: 15:00~16:10 - godogeiko with guests
5: 16:10~16:30 - kakarigeiko and kirikaeshi

I actually didn’t teach the gasshuku, rather, a younger teacher (who I taught kendo to when he was a high school student) and a grad (again, one of my kendo students) did it for me. I just organised and oversaw… the benefits of age I guess! Check out some snaps here. Isn’t the dojo gorgeous?

After coming home from Shubukan and unpacking my stuff, I finally got to sit down and relax. Although I didn’t do a lot of kendo last weekend, it was a kendo-centred one, and at times all I seem to have in my head are kendo-related things. My relaxation time didn’t last long because I had to go to bed early to get up on Monday morning for asageiko… aaaarrrrrggghhhhhh!!

[ While you are here: please note that registration for the 2024 Edinburgh Kendo Seminar is open. Please check here for more information. ]

By George

George is the founder and chief editor of
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