Categories
history theory

The Swordsman and the Cat

The tale “Neko no Myojutsu” is from an old budo fable written by the samurai Niwa Jurozaemon Tadaaki (pen name Issai Chozanshi, 1659-1741) in 1727. To quote William Scott Wilson: “Little is known about the man.. but he was clearly acquainted with swordsmanship, philosophy, and art, and had made an extensive study of Buddhism, Confucianism, […]

Categories
kendo theory

The reality of seme

The following is the translation of some notes written by Furuya Fukunosuke hanshi during a kendo lecture at a Yoseikai gasshuku in Nara, 2001*. Furuya hanshi sadly passed away in 2008 but his teachings have been recorded by one of his top students – Uegaki sensei – and published in book format. The book is […]

Categories
equipment history kendo

The white hakama of Yushinkan

Yushinkan was the dojo of Nakayama Hakudo (1873-1958) in Tokyo. Nakayama had a varied and rich budo life, achieving hanshi in all three arts promoted by the modern ZNKR as well as being a shindo munen-ryu swordsman amongst other things. Its impossible to do a full bio of the man here, so I will leave […]

Categories
kendo theory

Kendo is…

Sawaki Kodo (沢木興道, 1880-1965) is considered by some to be the most important Japanese Zen master of the 20th century. His parents died early and he grew up being adopted by a gambler and an ex-prostitute. When he was 16, he ran away from home to become a monk at Eiheiji, one of the two […]

Categories
kendo theory

The concept of kendo in action

The following is a translation of an extremely interesting hand written note given to Jim Gucciardo (NYC kendo club) by Nishino Goro hanshi in 1998. Nishino Goro hanshi was born in 1923 in Kochi prefecture. After graduating from Tokyo Normal Higher School he became a school teacher in Hokkaido. After the war he returned to […]

Categories
history kendo

A brief investigation into the SHOGO system

(updated Jan 2020) SHOGO (称号) in Japanese translates simply as “title” or “rank,” and the word can be used in many areas, for example formal titles of nobility, military ranks, scholarly ranks, etc, and informally in the sporting world, between friends, etc. The use of the word that I will look at here is of-course […]

Categories
kendo

Practise may ingrain bad habits

From “Living with ambiguity” by Sydney J. Harris. Published by Nan’Un-Do You probably know the chestnut about the stranger in New York, carrying a violin case, who stops an old lady on the street, and asks, “Can you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?” With a glance at his violin case, she replies, […]

Categories
kendo shiai

Tsubazeria rule changes in high school kendo

The following rule changes will probably not impact your kendo training any time soon nor in the near future. However, implementation of them in competition for young Japanese kenshi ensures that there will be a stylistic change in the kendo leaders of the future and it is also strongly hints at what the kendo leaders […]

Categories
history

Kendo places #8 and #9: Kashima and Katori jingu

As part of my summer Musha Shugyo this year I visited the spiritual and historical center of budo in Japan: Kashima and Katori shrines, located in Ibaragi and Chiba prefectures respectively. Their proximity to each other is very close, about 15 mins by train. Although 400 years ago there were no trains nor cars and […]

Categories
history kendo kenshi

Fujimoto Kaoru

(Edit: originally published October 2009, updated in July 2015) So, Fujimoto Kaoru… have you heard his name before? Probably not. I hadn’t until quite recently. But like myself, almost everyone reading this website has seen his picture (above). So who was he and – if he was was strong enough to fight in front of […]