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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 […]

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dojo eikenkai history kendo

Eikenkai @ Nara Butokuden

UPDATE: note that the building featured in this article was knocked down in the summer of 2017. The reason? Nara prefecture didn’t want to fork out money to modernise the earthquake-proofing. Eikenkai is the kenshi 24/7 led kihon-heavy keiko session that (usually) takes place usually every couple of months in central Osaka. To mark the […]

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dojo history kendo kenshi

Tokyo Musha-Shugyo

At the very end of July this year I took some time out of my normal schedule and headed to Tokyo for a Musha Shugyo, that is, I went on a “warriors pilgrimage,” with the aim of polishing my kendo. In the short time I was there (I stayed five nights in Tokyo) I visited […]

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history kendo publications

Teikoku Kendo Kyohon – The Kendo Textbook of Imperial Japan

The latest kenshi 24/7 publication has been released: a translation of Ogawa Kinnosuke sensei’s Teikoku Kendo Kyohon (The Kendo Textbook of Imperial Japan). I am a bit bias, but I have to say that the book is amazing, not just in content, but in format as well… I’m super excited to release it! When this […]

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history kendo kenshi

Ogawa Kinnosuke

When I think about the sensei that had the most influence over the development of modern kendo the three that immediately come to mind tower above all the rest: Naito Takaharu, Takano Sasaburo, and Ogawa Kinnosuke. As I’ve already done posts on the the first two, it’s time now for one on the last of […]