Categories
books kendo kenshi theory

One hundred keiko

「小川さん、あなたは私と同じ道を歩いているようですね。」 “Ogawa-san, it seems like you are walking down the same road as me.” Mochida Seiji’s words to Ogawa Chutaro two months before his death in 1974 Following on from my last post I’d like to introduce to readers my favourite kendo (note-like) book: Ogawa Chutaro’s epic “hyaku-kai keiko” = “one hundred keiko.” I have […]

Categories
kendo theory

Sankaku-ku (三角矩)

A few weeks ago, a guest of one of the young kendo teachers at my workplace was standing in front of the dojo mirror kamae-ing and looking at himself from different angles. I guess it is quite a common scene in many dojo with a mirror, be it Japan or elsewhere, but what got me […]

Categories
kendo kenshi theory

Volume, quality, transcendence

The following is a short translation of part of a lecture by Ogawa Chutaro (hanshi, kyudan) in which he discusses the the shugyo process of one of his main teachers, Mochida Seiji (hanshi, judan).

Categories
books kendo theory

The knack of acquiring kendo in three charts

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 […]

Categories
kendo theory

Eighteen ways to improve your kendo

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 […]

Categories
history kendo theory

Suburi: a brief discussion

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 […]

Categories
kendo theory

Maai is willpower

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 […]

Categories
kendo theory

Engendering positive kendo

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 […]

Categories
kendo theory

Zanshin confusion, sutemi, and hikiage

The common meaning of ZANSHIN nowadays is exactly as the kanji suggest – 残心 – “remaining spirit.” In other words, once you have struck you have to remain aware of your opponent in case they attempt to strike you back and, if they do so, you should be in a position to counterattack. In modern […]

Categories
kendo theory

Conceptual kendo shield

Many many moons ago, straight after graduating university, I uprooted and moved to America. I had started kendo only a couple of years earlier and, after taking some time to settle down, I eventually joined Ken-Zen dojo in NYC. There I found myself in great environment with awesome teachers and – for the first time […]