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books kendo kenshi

Kensei Naito Takaharu

As I’ve discussed on kenshi 24/7 many times, Naito Takaharu sensei was – is, in fact – the single most influential figure in modern kendo’s history (the closest person to this title is his rival, Takano Sasaburo). His idea of kendo, both in execution and in thought, permeates kendo today. Often this idea is expressed […]

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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 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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kendo kenshi

Sensei

One of my main sensei is in his mid 70s. During keiko I attack him as best as I can but he still hits me and pushes me back. My heart rate rises quickly and I feel myself on the back foot at all times. He just keeps coming… like a Terminator! He’s in 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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kendo kenshi

Kendo judan

In 1952 the Zen Nippon Kendo Renmei (ZNKR) was formed with the object of trying to re-organise kendo on a national level (iaido and jodo would come under it’s aegis in 1956). Kendo was in a sorry state at that time: the Dai Nippon Butokukai (the overarching organisation in control of kendo before WWII) had […]

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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 […]

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kendo kenshi

Even if you are wearing steel sandals, find a good teacher

The first half of this article is a short translation. Enjoy! Up until I was a third year junior high school student (14/15yrs old) I lived in Tottori prefecture. I started kendo in first year but was very weak and lost many competitions. I was so weak that sometimes people would even taiatari me out […]

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history kendo kenshi shiai

Asagawa Haruo hanshi

This years All Japan Championships were won by 21 year old Takenouchi Yuya, a 3rd year student at Tsukuba university, one of the top kendo universities in the country (not to mention the direct descendant of one of the most famous kendo establishments that ever existed: Tokyo Shihan Gakko). It’s only the 2nd time in […]