Category: kenshi

Kendo art – a piece of kendo history 剣道美術品・歴史品

Almost exactly a year ago I wrote an article about a wonderful gift I received: a Ukiyo-e print of the first Gekken Kogyo event, held in Asakusa, Tokyo, in April 1873. Here’s a reminder of what it looks like: This was one of three woodblock prints by Utagawa Kunitera the 2nd commissioned to commemorate the event. As mentioned in last years article, the other two prints I had barely seen mention of and knew almost nothing about. That was, until the end of August this year.

27 teachings from past masters 訓導二十七ヶ条:内藤・高野・中山

The following is a list of sayings from three well known sensei of the past: Naito Takaharu, Takano Sasaburo, and Nakayama Hakudo. The former two are known as the fathers of modern kendo and were known as rivals. Naito and Takano made for an interesting pair. Naito was a laconic speaker who emphasised the power of spiritual training over technical – large men cuts from a far distance with lots of kirikaeshi and uchikomi. He didn’t care for shiai, left little in the way of writings, and was often referred to as an “old warrior” type. Takano, on the other …

Busen and Koshi 武専・高師

Over the last few years I’ve repeatedly mentioned Budo Senmon Gakko (Martial arts vocational school, known as “Busen”) and Tokyo Koto Shihan Gakko (Tokyo Higher Normal school, or “Koshi”) in articles. Their respective kendo head instructors, Naito Takaharu and Takano Sasaburo, have also made appearances all over kenshi 24/7. Despite this I hadn’t really gone into the difference between the two institutions, or talked in detail about how the kendo courses were structured. I know a lot more about Busen, and it is my plan one day in the future (after I am retired or win the lottery) to write …

Become a fool 馬鹿に成り切れ

一、悪いことをしない (Don’t do anything bad) 一、勉強する (Study) 一、親に孝行する (Be dutiful to your parents) 一、国を愛する (Love your country) 一、善いことをする (Do good deeds) The above is the inscription on the gravestone of Ogi Manboku (1897-1993, hanshi kyudan). Ogi was an early graduate of the koshukai (part-time) program at Busen (1916), and counted some of the most renowned kenshi in the history of kendo as his teachers. Before the war he taught kendo at high school and university level and after the war at various companies as well as at police level. He also took part in the 1941 Tenran shiai in the …

Kendo art 剣道美術品

When the Tokugawa-Bakufu was dismantled in 1867/68 budo education was thrown into turmoil: gone were the domain schools as well as the short-lived Kobusho, and with that budo instructors suddenly lost their profession. Many (now ex-) samurai were suddenly jobless and facing destitution. One person that stepped up to help these people was the ex-samurai, Kobusho kenjutsu instructor, and Jikishinkage-ryu kenshi Sakakibara Kenkichi. He instituted what was called “Gekken-kogyo” – the highly popular public budo shows. “Gekken” refers to the nascent form of what we now call kendo. Although mainly sword-based shows, bouts with other weapons also occurred, and women …