A couple of years ago I rolled in to the dojo on a Saturday morning only to have one of my sempai give me a stack of old kendo books. After lugging them all back home I sat down and went through them. Some were not so interesting, others were books I’d seen online but never managed to to read. One especially piqued my interested. Although probably the newest book of the pile (from 1986) it was perhaps one of the rarest (because only a finite number of the book were printed and it never went on sale): a copy …
At the moment I am super busy with work, life, and kendo (as usual), but I managed to get some time out this evening to put together a mini-translation. Nothing much really, this short (abridged) translation came from an addendum to a book by the writer Aoki Haruzo, originally published in 1975. I intended to translate a larger section of the book, but I don’t want to rush anything… instead you get this short bullet-pointed tip list to chew on, with links to various other kenshi 24/7 articles. Enjoy!!!!
A few months ago I was sitting down in an izakaya with Yano sensei discussing the upcoming Edinburgh Kendo Seminar. Over food and beer we discussed this and that, including of-course lots of kendo related things. During the conversation, in a rather off-hand manner, Yano sensei asked (because he knows I am a kendo history nerd) had I ever read much about suburi in pre-war kendo books, specifically in relation to the Budo Senmon Gakko (Busen). I had never even thought about that question before but I immediately knew the answer: no.
The ability to read and utilise distance in kendo is paramount. In Japanese this is referred to “Maai” (間合) and “Ma” (間) – “physical distance” and “interval.” Some people use the terms interchangeably or overlapping – though they really are different words, they definitely overlap (a kind of “spatial relativity” as it were) . At any rate, it is important to understand the physical space between you and your partner, and the time it takes to traverse it (with your body or shinai).
Introduction In a recent opinion piece posted on the Tokyo Kendo Associations website, Morshima Tateo sensei re-iterated his desire for kendo to return to its historically attack-centric style rather than the “win-at-all-costs” defensive style that is often seen nowadays. Although winning-at-all-costs and defending may seem contradictory it actually isn’t: winning is predicated on not-losing, and the surest way to do this is to minimise attacks (which create 隙, or “openings” which can be struck) and constantly be on the defensive. This of course works especially well if you are one ippon up.