Last Saturday I spent the morning and the first half of the afternoon working with my students at a shiai held at Shudokan, the dojo in the grounds of Osaka Castle (and five minutes walk from my workplace). The shiai in question was the “kokutai” preliminaries for Osaka prefecture. Kokutai translates into “National Athletic Meet.” […]
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In mid-April I took my kendo club to Osaka prefectures public high school kendo championships. A boys and girls team competition, it – somewhat surprisingly – started only 16 years ago. Here in Japan all the major high school competitions are dominated almost completely by private schools. They have superior facilities, longer training times, better […]
Kyoto Taikai 2023
This years Kyoto Taikai finished today and while it was a vast improvement on last years somewhat stilted affair, it was still not back to the usual, far more casual and festival-like event of the pre-pandemic past. Participants were given a ribbon and allowed to stay on the day of their embu to watch other […]
The accidental hachidan
This particular article has been brewing in my head for years. In private, I’ve talked about the situation countless times, discussing it with friends and probing for opinions or experiences. As I’ve being saying for some time now, and as most people should know (or at least feel), the grading aspect of modern kendo is […]
With the relaxing of mask mandates (requests) by the Japanese government this month and the ZNKR following suit, we are starting to see progress on the returning-to-normal front. Kendo-wise, the ZNKR have said something to the effect of (abridged): You don’t have to wear masks during kendo anymore but, if you choose not to, please […]
Like most kenshi 24/7 readers, I always have a few kendo books and mags lying on my desk at work. When I have time to kill I like to randomly flick through them. Every now and again I’ll rotate a book from my desk with one from my bookshelf at home. In all honesty, however, […]
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 […]
Slow horse, fast horse
Just the other week a friend was visiting from Tokyo. She popped into the dojo for a couple of keiko, one in the morning and another in the afternoon. To my surprise she also brought with her a gift from my 2022 Kyoto Taikai partner: a tenugui. I of course knew that they were friends, […]
UPDATED: when I posted this article originally it was about the rokudan tests. When I later went to translate comments for the 2022 nanadan tests I realised that the published comments were the same. Rokudan and nanadan always happen together over two days, and it seems that the same shinsa-in work on both. I have […]
A number of years ago I talked about a change in my kendo “mode” and in particular my flip-over to a sort of asageiko-main routine (despite not being a morning person). I had been an on-and-off asageiko person since about 2009-ish I guess (from about 2005 I did asageiko very occasionally, maybe once or twice […]