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history kendo kenshi kyototaikai media

Kyoto Taikai 2017

Whew, another Kyoto Taikai done! Again this year, I’ve tried to add some bonus historical information/insights to my usual Kyoto Taikai rundown, so I hope you enjoy this part as well as the photography.

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books history kendo

Kendo: a detailed explanation of its essence and teaching methodology (1935)

A couple of years ago when I was visiting Tokyo for some kendo, I stumbled upon a chunky kendo book from 1935 in a second hand bookstore. What immediately caught my attention was name of one of the most fearsome kenshi of the 20th century on the cover: Takano Shigeyoshi (adopted son of Sasaburo). Another […]

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history kendo

Nito-ryu kendo – a brief discussion

A serious discussion of nito-ryu kendo is something I’ve deliberately avoided over the last few years but the passing away of the most famous nito-ryu kenshi in the country in late December, Toda Tadao hanshi, I thought it was time to tackle the subject… at least very briefly as well as share some pictures. For […]

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equipment history kendo

Shinai placement

The following is a slightly revised and renewed essay from kenshi 24/7’s now unavailable mini-publication “Kenkyu and Kufu” originally published in 2014. Current publications can be viewed at kendo-book.com. If you watched the final of the All Japan Kendo Championships last November (2013) you might have watched the two finalists put on their bogu and […]

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dojo history kendo

Shiga Butokuden

This time last summer I gathered a group of friends together for an Eikenkai session at the beautiful Nara Butokuden. A lovely little dojo with over 100 years of history, I was delighted to be able to do kendo in such a place. I felt even more happy in the knowledge that the dojo was […]

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history kendo kenshi

The mystery of the black-hand

During June last year I was invited to join an open keiko session at the dojo which probably has oldest (kendo-related) tradition in the Kansai region. During the break between the kihon and jigeiko parts of the session I was wandering around the dojo looking at the various pieces of calligraphy and what not that […]

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history kendo

Oshima Jikita’s advice for Noma dojo practitioners (1928)

The following is a translation from a privately published 1928 book entitled “Noma dojo ki.” I assume that a set number of copies were printed and distributed to Noma dojo members only (it was finally re-published publicly in 1996). The book is essentially split into two halves: the first discusses Kodansha founder Noma Seiji’s ideas […]

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history kendo kenshi

Takano Hiromasa’s keys to improvement in kendo

Takano Hiromasa (1900-1987), kendo hanshi and headmaster of Itto-ryu*, was the the second son of kendo legend Takano Sasaburo. A brief bio: Hiromasa began studying the sword when he was 6 years old in his fathers dojo, Meishinkan. He graduated from Tokyo Shihan Gakko in 1923 and, in 1927, took over the day-to-day running of […]

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history kendo kenshi

Mei-shobu: Oshima Jikita vs Nakayama Hakudo

It was a relaxing Sunday autumn morning in Kyoto when the school dormitory’s door was flung open: “Everyone! Nakayama Hakudo and Kawasaki Zenzaburo are practising at the Gojo police station!!!!” The Butokukai’s bujutsu kyoin yoseijo (martial arts training school) was established in 1905 and was the direct forerunner to the legendary Busen. All five of […]

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history kendo

Book collection

On the rare occasion I actually get some time to myself I like to engage in my hobby… no, not kendo, but rummaging around second-hand book shops for kendo and kendo related books. In particular I enjoy getting my hands on pre-WW2 books/manuals, or autobiographies/first-hand biographies of kenshi that lived during that period. Over the […]