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dojo history

Kendo Places #4: Butokuden

Founding of the Butokuden in 1895 on the 1,100 year anniversary of the transferring of the Japanese capitol to Kyoto (Heian-kyo), and as part of the building of Heian-jingu, the Butokuden construction began. It was originally meant as a demonstration platform for the Butokukai. It was completed in 1899 on the north-west side of the […]

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kendo

Meijin no Waza #1: Kobayashi Mitsuru hanshi’s KATATEZUKI

This is the first in a series that looks at techniques done by those that are as acknowledged as the best executors of them. The individual final of the 1st world kendo championships (1970) was between Toda sensei, twice winner of the All Japan Kendo Championships (1962 and 64, using jodan), and Osaka police’s Kobayashi […]

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history kendo kenshi

Showa no kensei (昭和の剣聖)

This small article intriduces the “Showa no kensei (昭和の剣聖)” or “The Sword Saints of the Showa period.” All of these kenshi are widely known within the Japanese kendo community, and abroad as well, but I thought a quick article in here would serve as a useful reference. I hope to expand on this and write […]

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kendo

Womens kendo in Japan: a survey

The following is a very brief synopsis of questionnaire results that were featured in an article by Kendo Nippon (Dec 2008) entitled “女性剣士の現状と「これから」” (The present condition of womens kendo and its future). I will list the questions and there results but will leave you to draw your own conclusions from there or to discuss in […]

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dojo history

Yagyu no sato

Yagyu no sato (柳生の里) is a small village in Nara prefecture, Japan. Passing through it in a car or by very infrequent bus, you would probably notice nothing particularly different to any other sleepy rural Japanese town. However, this town was the center of Yagyu-han, the ancestral home of the Yagyu family, the masters of […]

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kendo

Jodan Renaissance?

This year Kanagawa-kenkei’s (Kanagawa prefecture police force) Shodai Kenji won the 56th All Japan Championships. As a young policeman on his prefectural A-team, a 4th time entrant to the competition, and an extremely serious contender for being in the Japan national side for next years World Championships there is nothing surprising here. What might be […]

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history kendo kenshi

Kendo Places #1: Reigando

I’d like to start the first in a series of short articles entitled “Kendo Places” by writing about a place that all kendo enthusiasts should visit at least once in their life and that is connected with one of the most famous swordsmen in Japanese history: REIGANDO. Reigando (霊巌洞) is basically a small cave in […]

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kendo

How to pass hachidan

Here is the advice that was given to my favourite teacher just prior to him passing his hachidan on this 4th attempt at the age of 49 a few years ago. The advice was given to him by the shihan of my dojo, a kendo hanshi who was in the last class of 5 people […]

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kendo

Seme #1: Furukawa Kazuo

一足一刀の間合よりやや遠い間合で構え、相手の竹刀に表・裏から付けたり、軽く押せたりして相手の「心」・「気」に触れてみる。そこから、さらに竹刀の表・裏を力強く、短く張って中心を抑えながら一足一刀の間合に入り、時に剣先をわずかに突き出したり、グッと下にしたりして強い攻めをみせ、相手の手元の動きを見る。この時、足の動きは含み足で行なう。含み足とは、足指の全てを使って這うようにして一寸きざみに間合を詰める動きである。この攻めを何回かくり返し、相手の気分と剣先の動きを見ながら、攻め方と技の組み立てを考える。 – 古川和男、剣道時代の「名選手、錬磨の日々」(1983ー84)からの抜粋です。「錬磨の日々」の本は1989発行。 Seme Taking your kamae from a little bit outside issoku-itto-no-ma, lightly feel out your opponents shinai on both sides, all the time testing and looking at his KOKORO (心) and KI (気). From there, strongly press both sides of your opponents shinai and – whilst taking control of the center line – […]

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kendo

The Same Path

In this months kendo nippon I read a short article by a 8 dan I occasionally have the pleasure to fence. In the article he mentions a phrase “師弟同行” (shitei doko), and its this that I wish to examine briefly here. There are two separate words here, so lets look at their definition: 師弟 (shitei) […]