Kendo places #5: Kodokan (弘道館)

Background The Mito-han was a highly influential domain during the entire Edo-period. As a senior branch of the Tokugawa clan their prestige was immense. Mito-han became one of the leading intellectual centers in Japan, and its daimyo and scholars became more and more vocal in challenging the central authority of the shogunate, eventually being instrumental in its dissolution. During the turbulent years leading up to civil war and the Emperors restoration, the domain school that produced these young intellectuals was Kodokan. The following introductory text is taken from the English leaflet called “Kodokan” (I have slightly reworded sections of it). …

Gordon Warner

Often when an individual thinks of influential characters in kendo, more likely than not, that individual will think of Japanese kenshi like Mochida Moriji or Takano Sasaburo, or even present day heroes like Eiga or Miyazaki (rightfully so as these people have left a tremendous mark). However, few would think of an American named Dr Gordon Warner. Little information is readily available about Dr Warner and therefore his contributions go unnoticed for the most part. Dr Warner was a pioneer and is largely responsible for bridging the western world to Japanese kendo. In the following post I want to share …

So you want to research traditional ryuha?

“I am doing some research on Iroha ryu and I am wondering if anyone can recommend any good books or websites….” Anyone who has spent some time on the various forums and mailing lists involved in traditional Japanese martial arts has seen comments such as these. Such requests are not surprising given the fact that traditional Japanese martial arts come from an outside culture where we have often little to no point of reference on which to base our initial assumptions (let’s not get into the whole Hollywood movie argument now). The desire to learn more about the activity we …

Kendo as Character Building

Kondo-sensei (Hachidan, Kyoshi) is one of Aichi Prefecture’s most well-repected kenshi.  He often discusses kendo in terms of character building and its benefits to modern society.  In this brief post, I have attempted to covey some of his feelings on these topics.  剣道とは、相手と気を合わせることを学ぶ第一歩である。そして人の心を大切にすることにより完成し、「武士道」は「もののあわれ」日本人特有の感情である。無常感である。思いやり、繊細、風流、風雅さなど。ここにいたって諸行無常という仏教の根本的思想やキリスト教の愛の精神と一致し、一種の宗教的境地まで達したのである。 人と会ったら挨拶する、何か教えを受けたら感謝する、集団の中ではお互いを思いやる、人として最低限必要な礼儀、心を重視した教育を実践致します。 近藤勁助 剣道教士八段  財団法人 全日本剣道道場連盟理事 愛知県剣道連盟参与 愛知県剣道道場連盟副会長 名古屋市剣道連盟居合道部相談役

The last Busen graduate 武専の最後の卒業生

As every kendoka knows, Busen (Budo Senmon Gakko) was – along with Tokyo Koto Shihan Gakko – the premier place for training kendoka before the war. It was run by the Butokukai and was based in the legendary Butokuden in Kyoto. People who graduated from here went on to train kenshi all over the country. The schools impact on modern kendo cannot be underestimated. During the post WW2 occupation the school was renamed and its martial arts practice banned. The first teacher and most senior instructor at Busen was the legendary Naito Takaharu. When he passed away suddenly in 1929 …