Kendo World 8.3 Synopsis
Editorial: Letting Go…
By Alex Bennett
In this editorial, Alex describes the importance of “letting go” in keiko. In Japanese this is described by the word “sutemi”, which literally means “discarding the body”. The key to kendo improvement is sutemi, throwing yourself into every attack.
The 64th All Japan Kendo Championships
By Michael Ishimatsu-Prime
A report on the 64th All Japan Kendo Championships which was won by Kanagawa’s Katsumi Yosuke.
Kendo as Music; Music as Kendo
By J. Michael Sills
Kendoka and guitarist J. Michael Sills explores the similarities between kendo and music and how they have helped him in his study of both. Perhaps the greatest similarity between kendo and music is rhythm, and if you can ascertain your opponent’s rhythm, you should be able to find an opening to attack.
Uncle Kotay’s Kendo Korner – Part3: The Three Initiatives
By Uncle Kotay
Kendo sage Uncle Kotay dishes out more kendo wisdom, the likes of which us mere mortals can hardly fathom. In this installment he talks about the three types of “sen”: sen-no-sen, sen-sen-no-sen, and go-no-sen.
The Philosophy of Gorin-no-sho: Part 1
By Uozumi Takashi
Translated by Jeff Broderick
Martial arts scholar Uozumi Takashi of the Open University of Japan examines the philosophical underpinnings of perhaps the most-famed martial arts text ever written. “Although Miyamoto Musashi is extremely famous as a swordsman, for a long time, details of his actual life were not well known. It would also be very difficult to say that the aim and overall meaning of his Gorin-no-sho has been well understood. I have been working to shed light on Musashi’s ideology by examining five of his writings and his Gorin-no-sho, along with a re-examination of various materials from the Edo period that capture the true figure of Musashi in the historical context of that era. Previously, I have authored Miyamoto Musashi—The Path of the Japanese (2002), The Annotated Gorin-no-sho (2005), and Miyamoto Musashi: Living the Martial Path (2008). Building on these works, I would like to consider here Musashi’s philosophy based on his life and experiences and also his aims in writing the Gorin-no-sho.”
Kendo for Adults Part 5: The Importance of Kakari-geiko for Adults By Hatano Toshio Translated by Alex Bennett In this issue, Hatano-sensei explains the importance of kakari-geiko and its benefits. “There are two objectives in kakari-geiko: the first is building stamina, especially in school-aged kenshi; the second is to learn to strike without using excessive strength. The latter is the most important reason. When you are completely exhausted and have little strength left in your arms and shoulders, this is when you make the best cuts because you are striking with a minimum amount of power. You need to remember this feeling. Striving to maintain correct posture and form as you go will help perfect your striking, and lead to executing attacks that are relaxed, accurate, and decisive. Start energetically, and finish energetically. That is the only way to do kakari-geiko.”
From Katate Gunto-jutsu to Tanken-jutsu: The Birth of Tankendo
By Baptiste Tavernier
Kendo World’s resident jukendo and tankendo expert, Baptiste Tavernier, explores the historical beginnings of tankendo in this article.
Dojo Files: Phnom Penh Kendo Club
By J. Michael Sills
A profile on the kendo club in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh.
The Shugyo Mind: Part 3
By Alex Bennett
In this series, Alex Bennett discusses important concepts and ideas in kendo training. The third article highlights the importance of moving out of one’s comfort zone in keiko. “Let’s face it, the real reason behind any reluctance to engage certain people or types of kendo is because your kendo doesn’t work against it. It is easier to fight a person who you get on with, and who doesn’t take you too far from your comfort zone. That is, people who you have a fighting chance against, or maybe a famous sensei who rips you apart, but at least you can brag that you’ve “been there”. This is nothing more than “disingenuous-keiko”, and apart from being insolent, superficial, and most un-budo-like, you are only fooling yourself. Next time you notice these thoughts crossing your mind during keiko, ask yourself why. You might just find that it’s not a problem with your opponent, but more so an issue with your own failures.”
Reidan Jichi: Various Shikake-waza
By Ōya Minoru
Translated by Alex Bennett
In this edition of Reidan Jichi, Ōya-sensei examines various types of shikake-waza: katsugi-waza, maki-waza, hari-waza, and katate-waza.
sWords of Wisdom
By Alex Bennett
Based on the book Kenshi no meigon by Tobe Shinjūrō
“Jippatsu kyū-chū” – “Ten shots, nine hits.” “Yoshida Ōkura Shigeuji was born the third son of Yoshida Shigekata in 1588, towards the end of the turbulent Warring States period. According to the Edo period almanac of all things martial, Bugei shōden, “Night and day Ōkura focused on his archery and became greatly skilled.” He was even called “an immortal” of archery, and created his own style (Ōkura-ha) based on the Heki-ryū tradition.”
Yamamoto Mariko Seminar
By Diana C. Kitthajaroenchai
A report on Yamamoto Mariko-sensei’s seminar in the US hosted by the Georgia Kendo Association.
A Guide to Japanese Armour
By Teruo Orikasa
Photos by Jo Anseeuw
Teruo Orikasa from the Association for the Research and Preservation of Japanese Helmets and Armour introduces a set of abumi (stirrups) made by Kashu-ju Ichibei Ujimasa, together with some stunning photographs by Jo Anseeuw.
The 2016 Shudokai Grading Gasshuku
Report and Translation by Michael Ishimatsu-Prime
November is a big month in the kendo calendar with the All Japan Kendo Championships held on the third day. November is also grading season in Japan with the 8-dan test in Tokyo, and the 6- and 7-dan examinations at several locations around the country. In the run-up to these gradings, the Shūdōkai kendo club holds its annual grading gasshuku. This event featured lectures on grading by K8-dan Shigematsu Kimiaki-sensei and K8-dan Muto Kazuhiro.
Guidelines to Kendo Promotional Examinations: Part 1
By Jeff Marsten
Jeff Marsten looks at the purpose of gradings and ways in which the grading system could be improved.
Inishie wo Kangaeru – A Look at Some of the Old Teachings in Kendo
By Alex Bennett
“Utte hansei, utarete kansha” (Reflect when you strike successfully, and be grateful when you are struck)
If ever there was an oxymoron… If you successfully strike your opponent, is this not a time to rejoice and celebrate your success? If you are struck, the conventional reaction is surely to lament defeat, not be thankful that your opponent got the better of you! This old kendo teaching, however, holds the secret to improvement.
By Kimura Yasuko (17th Soke of Tendo-ryu)
An introduction to the Tendō-ryū school of martial arts. “Tendō-ryū is a composite school of bujutsu which incorporates an array of weapons, but it is the techniques of the naginata for which the tradition is most known for now. I received instruction from the 16th Sōke of the tradition, Mitamura Takeko, and was appointed as the 17th Sōke in 2013, three years after she passed away. Now in its 17th generation, the history of the Tendō-ryū extends back 450 years.”
Hagakure and the Perennial Path to Perfection
By Alex Bennett
“Although Hagakure (1716) is mainly concerned with the vicissitudes of mundane life for samurai in a time of peace, references that shed light on the winding path of budo are dotted throughout the text, and still apply to practitioners in the 21st century. It is easy to forget that the samurai were just human beings as well, and not the supermen that popular culture insists on glamorising them as. As humans, they had flaws, and when it came to the martial arts, there were those who showed awe inspiring abilities, and others who were, well, just plain bad at it. Persevering over a lifetime of arduous training was, Hagakure advises us, the only way to transcend the constraints of mediocrity.”
Kendo – Chapter 3: Training in the Fundamentals
By Takano Sasaburō
Translated and annotated by Alex Bennett
It’s a bit difficult to know where to begin when discussing Takano Sasaburō’s contributions to kendo. He was instrumental in developing the dan grading system for kendo, and was also a key member in the committee that created the Nihon Kendo Kata in 1912. His book simply titled Kendō was a tour de force in the creation of a uniform style for modern kendo, and is still considered a classic book by kendoka today. This series of articles will translate Takano’s book and the text will be annotated to contextualize its ground-breaking content. This issue of Kendo World features Chapter 3 which gives advice and a training menu to teach several dozen students.
Bujutsu Jargon #10
By Bruce Flanagan
A reference guide covering various bujutsu-related terminology. This installment features “koiguchi”, “seichūsen”, “Shinsen-gumi”, “jo-ha-kyū”, “kasumi”, “shutō-uchi”, and “bushi”.
Shinai Saga: Seven Meditations
By Charlie Kondek
Seven lessons on kendo told in narrative form.
Muso Jikiden Eishin-Ryu Riai: The Meaning of the Kata: Part 5
By Kim Taylor
In the fifth and final article in this series, Kim Taylor discusses the basics of the Eishin-ryū with a focus on the third level, Oku Iai, and its variations in Itomagoi.
The Year that Was 2016
By Seiya Takubo
A digest of competition results and important events in the kendo world from 2016.