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One year later edition.

A thread to discuss Kendo/jutsu, Iaido/jutsu. OP post tailored towards Kendo since it is the most commonly practiced.

>What is Kendo?
Kendo is a modern Japanese martial art which combines traditional Japanese swordsmanship (Kenjutsu) techniques with sporting elements for competition. It is practiced with shinai (bamboo swords) and armor. The philosophy of modern Kendo is based off of Budo concepts and aims to develop the self through practice.

>What are the rules of Kendo?

>Am I too old to practice Kendo?
No. Westerns start later and many people practice Kendo until they’re dead.

>Is Kendo a martial art or a sport?

>Where can I find a Kendo/Iaido club or dojo?

Start with the International Kendo Federation (FIK) and navigate to your country or region. If you live in a particularly large country, your country’s federation will most likely consist of regional federations. Some federations also include Iaido clubs.

Previous thread
Kendo is fun
Allegedly. The nearest dojo is 2 hours away for me
>The nearest dojo is 2 hours away for me
Visit them monthly, maybe? The Kendo Show has a good zero-to-shodan series. As much as I discourage beginners learning by themselves, I recommend watching this series and periodically visiting a dojo for advice/feedback so you aren't straying too far. It may be better than nothing, but it can be argued both ways if you're careful.

Bumping with Eiga sensei

European Kendo Championship
TL;DR friday, saturday and sunday from 8:45 until 17:30 germany time


Will France, Poland and Hungary remain the strongest?
Let's see.
>Will France, Poland and Hungary remain the strongest?
Let's see.
I'm interested in seeing that as well. Hungary in particular, since their teams completely changed around 2 years ago.
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been doing kendo for a month after only learning the basics before a ten-year break
i always feel like i'm stumbling forward when striking, i'm very clumsy
at least i'm not too shy to kiai loudly, but i don't sound all that great yet
>i always feel like i'm stumbling forward when striking, i'm very clumsy
You're most likely leaning forward or lurching forward when you strike. Your posture should be erect, upright, almost as if you're touching your shoulder blades - this will help you keep your weight balanced so you aren't "falling forward" when you strike or perform footwork after a strike.

That's my best guess, but ask your sensei/senpai.
Some wartime-Kendo filmed post-war.

Has anybody ever combined hema and kendo before?
Why would you bother?
How do you even do that considering how different their goals and means are?
Yes, they have just never combined them into anything worth practicing.

Unlike most European systems, there are still surviving schools of swordsmanship in Japan that date back to when people really used swords. If you care about historical swordsmanship you're efforts would be better spent learning and perhaps spreading one of those systems. If you care about sparring and winning tournaments while still practicing something related to swordsmanship, there is Kendo. There are even older schools with Kendo like sparring if the historical part is really important to you.

Japanese manuals tended to be either very late period, even modern, or intentionally vague so as to avoid copycats. Reconstructing based on them, and people have tried, tends to be an exercise in futility.
>Reconstructing based on them, and people have tried, tends to be an exercise in futility.
And because historical schools with clear lineages exist, people who try to reconstruct them are more often than not fraudulous and trying to create their own thing rather than properly "revive" anything. The whole Cummins things is the most obvious examples, but then you have stuff like Tenshin-ryu and all in Japan as well.
I'd like to add: as >>99332 stated, there are lineages that date back to the warring period of Japan where the techniques were tested and proven in combat. If what you are referring to is the HEMA approach of looking at manuals and trying to reconstruct it: there is going to be some difficulty. As previously mentioned, the manuals were written later on, and during the Tokugawa peace period. During this time, there were schools of Kenjutsu that sprouted up with shaky claims of legitimacy. These schools taught kata that was not pressure tested either with sparring or through combat, and were backed with esoteric doctrine. These schools were referred to as "kaho-kenpo", or "flowery swordsmanship" because of their romanticized view of the sword.

There's been enough time in japanese sword martial arts for the bullshit to be weeded out. One of the driving factors of this was the introduction of gekken, or sparring with armor and bamboo swords. A lot of the Kenjutsu schools adopted this method of training and this eventually became Kendo. Some schools refused to adopt this method of training due to legitimate reasons (tradition, preserving the nuance in various kata, etc) which remain to this day as practiced lineages. The flowery swordsmanship schools dwindled or dropped off the face of the Earth once their techniques were proven ineffectual.

TL;DR: not worth your time. The Japanese already performed what HEMA is currently doing 150-200 years ago.
Thoughts on Shinkendo?
ist there still a problem with flowery stuff and deviation with the tradition that develops through years? like, bamboo swords arent exactly the most 1 to 1 reflection of katanas in weight or shape and stuff. That, plus doesnt kendo have rather specific rules that get away from the original a la olympic fencing due to sportification process? Like only having specific targets and such?
You're right, there were many things in shinai kenjutsu that were not realistic. There was a famous guy who went around with a six foot long shinai and won lots of fights. Supposedly someone used a huge tsuba on their shinai the size of a small shield to counter it once. Less outlandish, there was alot of strikes with only the left hand pulled off at extreme range. Regardless, the most popular styles of shinai kenjutsu had a huge impact on the swordsmanship of the Bakumatsu, the Japanese imperial military, and of course modern Kendo.

Interestingly, the term koryu was originally derisive, referring to schools that did not adopt shinai shiai and carried the nuance of "old fashioned" or "outdated". I would have to check my sources on this but I believe kaho kenpo was used the same way.
Yah, that seems like the eternal struggles when it comes to martial arts. One: what you are actually trying to do (A simulation of an actual fight, or a compitition), and subsequently two: how you go about doing it. If you make rules so as to better illustrate combat in a safe way, you inevitably get people playing towards the rules rather than what they are attempting to simulate. But paradoxically, you need rules and an actual competitive situation to pressure test and actually create a simulation rather than route memorization. And then eventually what you try to do at its very center drifts from a simulation to a competition, which is nebulous (The letter of the law taking precedence from the spirit). Then you start changing the rules towards this nebulous vague idea of competition which is then informed by people playing to those very rules and creating a different stipulations (which might not actually even elevate itself in terms of fun/engagement, just effectiveness letter of the law style)

Like, in Olympic fencing, having a bendy wippy point it good to actually bend around and hit your opponent at weird angles, but thats not illustrative at all of an effective sword thrust. Then more blades actually developed to be even MORE wippy as the bendiness that was allowed by the rules influenced the idea which then compounded back to effect the rules. Doesn't even necessarily make it more engaging, its just an edifice of circumstantial development of playing to the rules. This is something that happens somewhat in hema two which is a much younger thing. With people using lighter weapons, or not paying as much attention to defending themselves and attacking.
As the other anon said, even during the Edo era there was questions about the efficiency of shinai geiko as a training exercise, they never stopped doing kata regardless. Then the pretty brutal years of the Bakumatsu came and the shinai centric schools like Shindo Munen-ryu, Hokushin Itto-ryu and Tennen Rishin-ryu apparently performed their roles very well and even the westerners thought that the japanese were fine swordsmen so... must have work alright somehow.

We also have to remember that shinai geiko and its competition were the opportunity to give the "warrior class" something to do and justify their status, have them play around. Samurai were like 7-8% of the population of Japan which is enormous compared to the nobility in Europe (in France or England it was under 1%). Still today, police kendo is one of the roughest because they actually rely on results in competition for promotion and advancement in terms of pay. So it made motivated people at least.
>and even the westerners thought that the japanese were fine swordsmen so...
yah, they also thought punjabis and afghans were fine swordsmen too, if not moreso. In fact, I think there was generally more fanfare at the time for the close orient in that regard (TO be fair, orientalism was in swing as well as burgeoning colonialism, but even later on those cultures were known to be particularly well skilled in mellee)

IDK, at least for the cloistered edo period of increased formalization, I have a hard time beliving there wasnt a very good amount of deviation and formalization through ritualized combat. What was the death tole like for the samurai class? I know in europe Death by dueling was a pretty signifigant problem and even then, in a rather dynamic era of the age of sails/empire, a degree of formalization came into play with smallsword combat. I guess it would be interesting how developments occured during Meiji restoration wit the more dynamic atmosphere and actual military expansion.
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>That, plus doesnt kendo have rather specific rules that get away from the original a la olympic fencing due to sportification process? Like only having specific targets and such?
It does, you're referring to what is called "yuko-datotsu", or valid strike. Kendo is indeed a sport (and it is Budo and martial art), but not in the sense that only the end-result matters which allows competitors to arrive at that result in any way they wish. Kendo is more of an aesthetic sport, similar to figure skating, where how you arrive to a result matters just as much as the result itself. See picture related. If Kendo was just about hitting the other person first, then there would be no need for judges - it would have adopted some form of electronic or "objective" form of scoring by now.
It would be interesting to study how and why it evolved this way. Arguably the criteria was derived from the necessities of an effective cut (as oppose to just tapping, or striking). I have to assume, and I am pretty sure its been confirmed in some cases, that the requirements have become stricter over time in an effort to promote "Proper Kendo".
>I have to assume, and I am pretty sure its been confirmed in some cases, that the requirements have become stricter over time in an effort to promote "Proper Kendo".
It has. It's why in the 1970's the AJKF adopted the "Purpose of Practicing Kendo" because it was becoming increasingly competitive and viewed as a sport in Japan, which really wasn't the intent of Kendo even as it was adopted into the school curriculum in the early 1900's. It was only relatively recently that the term "Budo" was reintroduced to describe Kendo and the other systematized martial arts from Japan. The term was originally used back at the turn of the century in 1900, but due to its ties to Bushido and militaristic ties to wartime Japan, it was temporarily set aside while a more sporting attitude sprouted up. If I had to guess, Kendo may undergo a small "desportification" process in the coming decades to promote an image of fostering life-long Kendo and self cultivation. Whether this affects the technical elements of Kendo is unknown - but I'd like mune-tsuki back.
Well, I think you're about as likely to see mune-tsuki reintroduced as you are to see the Kendo federation reevaluate its technical curriculum and teaching methods based on surviving lines of Itto ryu or other koryu, that is I don't think it will ever happen.

The militarism is something people bring up, what what you see less of is that the emphasis on the sporting aspects was kind of a reaction against the militarism post war.
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>what you see less of is that the emphasis on the sporting aspects was kind of a reaction against the militarism post war.
Kendo naturally was evolving into becoming a sport to some degree, but the creation of Shinai-kyogi (with its very western ruleset and adoption of western mannerisms) to placate the western occupation force during the post-war confusion certain didn't help things.

I think Kendo is in a comfortable spot to look back and re-evaluate and rediscover elements that were discarded due to the stigma against anything Japanese and militaristic in nature. Of course, this would not be a return to the wartime period where Kendo nearly reverted back to Kenjutsu, but a continuation of what was happening with the art before the war and the Japanese state using it as a vehicle to instill nationalistic fervor.
Alex Bennett just uploaded a summarized history of Kendo video:

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Wasnt there already some western elements in ot before occupation though? like during Meiji resoration it seems natural than some of the modernisation and westernization bleeded into it, but not expert on subject. I do know that there were different "Periods" of military swordsmanship though with more western style sabers comming into fashion, then an interesting mix of western and japanese stylings, before a more "japanese" look came in leading to the war itself, so IDK if it was just "post war" westernization at play and there might have been some pre war influence as well.

Im not specifically knoledgeable about japanese systemizations of swordsmanship, but I do know a little more about the material culture as well as general social history. A really great book I read published at the turn of the 20th century was Japan: An Attempt at Interpretation by Lafcardio Hearn that was excellent and really got across the social "feel" and intuition of japan at the time and society in general. Of course its rather Victorian in nature, but it was extremely insightful and informative regardless.
Its been awhile since I read up on the subject but there is a difference between the common kendo and the military swordsmanship. As part of modernization the Japanese adapted a one handed saber for military swordsmanship. Originally the used some french based system but within a decade or two they switched to something closer to a one handed kendo. Then by the 30's and 40's there was a push to readapt more traditional sword designs, which let to the shingunto you see you WWII. The training for this was a combination of Kendo, bayonet vs sword, and a battojutsu (quick draw) curriculum based on classical styles. The Battojutsu and occasionally some of the other drills are preserved in Toyama ryu and Nakamura ryu which are pretty wide spread in the west today.

Japanese military sabers are also a very interesting field, because some of them look like western sabers while other resemble Japanese blades with a one handed guard. There were even mounts for traditionally made blades that had a two handed grip with a saber style hand guard.
>There were even mounts for traditionally made blades that had a two handed grip with a saber style hand guard.
thats pretty neat, got any pics?
dat foot sweep.... I remember in the miyazaki dojo in chicago we had a guy who trained with tokyo cops sweeping people and then clobbering them when they fell down
Surely he warned them prior, kind of a dick move to make jigeiko a wrestling match without consent.
Police kendo always had the reputation of being rougher than usual so you probably should expect this sort of things. Today policemen rely on kendo for advancement and pay upgrade so you might that they are more agressive than others.
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Do any of you practice Shindo Yoshin ryu?
How is the kenjutsu of your school?
Besides kata do you have ji geiko?
According to this blog post they do, and in this interview:
the current head mentions similar practices for their jujutsu, but reading between the lines I suspect it makes up a small part of their practice and is mostly part something for intermediate to advanced students rather than something you can expect to do every practice like in Kendo.
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Any of you kids play from Hidari-Jodan or nito ?

- Your casual 3.dan praise the sun jodanist
How often do you get tsuki'd?
Does anyone here have thoughts on Ryushin Shouchi Ryu Iaido? A place near me just began offering it once a week through a guest instructor. It’s the only form of Japanese swordsmanship near me.
No idea about the school itself, but honestly koryu teachers are a matter of taste. Even within the same school, one teacher may match your philosophy and goals and another may come across to you as a complete waste of time, and it's got less to do with the material itself than you might think. I'd check it out at the very least.
My understanding is its not a koryu but a gendai line based on Tenshinsho Jigen Ryu. But yeah, quality can vary between teachers with these sorts of arts so figure out what you want to study, watch some videos of it online and compare it to other styles, attend the local class and see if its what you're looking for.
RSR is a modern thing but it's still pretty serious regardless of the date of creation. They certainly don't try to pretend they are koryu, but they do come from proper koryu lines. Thing is, it's only iaijutsu, I don't think there's paired kata or anything, but I don't know that much about it.

Regardless, as the other anons said, it's often a case by case when it comes to the dojo. You should go there and ask to watch a course to see by yourself.

I know that the current soke of RSR is quite active, travelling to the various places that teach the style, though if it's through a guest, there's not a lot of chances for that I imagine.
I’ll give it a shot. It’s really cheap for any martial arts in my area and I’d rather learn Japanese swordsmanship than HEMA.
>Thing is, it's only iaijutsu, I don't think there's paired kata or anything

Are you sure about this? I don't know alot about the style but I found this online.
paired stuff starts around 0:55
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holy fuck that is slow
Why don’t there seem to be any serious kenjutsu matches?
Because duels are illegal.
My serious answer: matches between schools are called Taryu jiai and they have a history in Japan. You are not just representing yourself but your whole style. There are a handful of styles, or branches of styles that strongly advocate for sparring and/or matches with other styles, but even they rarely if ever post videos of taryu jiai because that would open up both schools to criticism by outsiders, so most kenjutsu sparring videos you see are just amateurs or people not affiliated with any legitimate school.
Good job making things up.

A system for matches between schools is technically in place but never used. Basically all kenjutsu schools having nothing but kata and are thus worthless in a duel. They don't know how to spar so there isn't any point in trying. That's why
>sparring videos you see are just amateurs or people not affiliated with any legitimate school
But remember that an "amateur" who spars even lightly is already above lifetime koryu practitioners in skill level. If you spend a few weeks seriously sparring with a friend you will be better at fighting than people who devote countless years practicing flowery ineffective kata. That's why they cry and seethe whenever someone points it out.
Whelp, today’s the last day lads. The dojo I’ve been learning Kenjutsu at for the past month an a half is shutting down. Not enough adults interested in Martial Arts to keep the place going. My sensei is willing to still have classes twice a month if we have a space to practice, but I know my progress will stall. It’s still been fun, and I hope I can continue.
Do you know how many of those "kata only" koryu guys have Kendo ranks, or how common cross training is these days? Lots of people who spared and even competed seriously find enough value in those kata to devote a large part of their energies to them.
Also all the info on Tairyu Jiai there is accurate. Just because you don't understand that their is cultural baggage attached to something or think its stupid doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
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Is kashima shinto ryu practised in Europe?
Does anyone know of any studies involving kendo and brain damage? I understand that the helmet and the nature of the shinai is unlikely to cause the kind of rotational force that is responsible for concussions in most combat sports, but the possibility of sub-concussive damage is what worries me the most and I can't find any research on that topic.

I guess a piece of good news is that I've never heard of kendo guys having a high rate of brain damage into middle and old age. But I also can't read or speak any Japanese so... who knows.
>I guess a piece of good news is that I've never heard of kendo guys having a high rate of brain damage into middle and old age
Many older sensei that I know have shown no signs of brain damage. I found a study that shows that the equipment
>"fully mitigated the peak intensity but not the total power being transmitted, the question of what type of force is necessary to elicit subconcussive injury still needs to be investigated."

From what it sounds like, they are unsure of what conditions are needed to cause sub-concussive damage - but the impacts in Kendo didn't elicit them. That said, if you are practicing with someone who's technique sucks and they are clubbing you over the head that's a different story.

Try sparring and studying with s mate from the dojo.
Maybe meet up twice a week in a park or in the garden of one of your houses.
A different question but kinda related.
Me and a friend of mine, both kendo practitioners, wanted to study the book of the five rings to learn some kenjutsu on our own.
I’ll say the obvious but we are laser focused on the book of water as of now since the mentality and philosophy is something we agreed we would develop on our own and maybe have a discussion about it when we feel we have an understanding.
Can it really be done or are we wasting time?
I found that we got a decent result as in the techniques we developed from the words of Musashi actually work against a resisting opponent since we spar often.

Another question is, is it possible to learn how to use a naginata on my own?
I found some decent videos online since the nearest dojo that teaches it is 90 km form my home.
You can't learn Musashi's art from that book. Musashi's techniques survive in Hyoho Niten Ichi ryu. Even little things like the way they grip the sword are idiosyncratic and you are unlikely to get it without being shown.
Rather than train naginata with videos I recommend you contact that dojo and see if you could train there one a week or twice a month, or some other arrangement.
>I found some decent videos online since the nearest dojo that teaches it is 90 km form my home.
That's not an abnormal distance, you're lucky to even have one that close. Ask for some w-e session or, like the other anon said go once a week/twice a month.

Also as the other anon said, book of five rings isn't a trainer's book, it's an esoteric book made for inside the school and after having learn the techniques, to revisit them in an intellectual way. It shouldn't be intellect -> body. If it informs your pre-existing technique, that's great, but the knowledge of Musashi didn't survived in his books but in his schools. What you're doing isn't necessarily useless if it develops your own fencing, but this isn't "kenjutsu", it's just you making stuff up from words (that might be badly translated, what translation do you use?). It's mostly a matter of philosophy though, as long as you aren't pretending to be the heirs of Musashi or doing Hyoho Niten Ichi-ryu, I doubt many people will care about what you're doing.

>I found that we got a decent result as in the techniques we developed from the words of Musashi actually work against a resisting opponent since we spar often.
No they work when sparring against a friend. Do you think Musashi designed his techniques for friendly sparrings...? That's why kenjutsu is founded on kata-geiko, not sparring validation like HEMA has to do. If you aren't doing kata, you aren't doing kenjutsu. It doesn't mean what you're doing is worthless for you mind you, but also it's hard to know the real value... If you find it fun and it gives you a sense of progression, well that's something.

So in the end
>Can it really be done or are we wasting time?
What can be done? Learning Musashi's style with the book, no. Becoming a better fencer by extracting tidbits from the books and translating it into a fencing expression, probably yeah. But the thing is you'll certainly need to already have a good grasp of basic fencing first.
>as long as we aren’t pretending to be the heirs of Musashi
We never intended to be so, we wanted to start doing kenjutsu and, once again, there isn’t a school near us that practice it.
>what translation do you use
Mine has been done by Marina Panatero and Tea Pecunia in association and helped by Claudio Alessandro Regoli an old school kendo sensei.
From a kendo practitioner prospective the techniques are well described and as I’ve said we developed a couple of fairly effective techniques from reading and practicing what’s written.
I’m Italian btw.
>do kata
We do, the basic process we use to develop techniques from the book is:
Read, discuss what the actual technique might look like basing our judgement on the targets and starting guard+considering tempo and any parrying or dodging as described, try it out and commenting or discussing on body mechanics and the optimal flow of/number of steps and body movements required to be effective, practice the kata and then throw it into normal sparring with everything else.
I forgot to say that me and my friend have both studied and practiced the basics of fencing before commencing to understand and put into practice the techniques written there.
>you are lucky there is a dojo at all
I am, but the only problem is that it’s not really the distance the problem but because it’s in the center of a large city and from my home it takes about 2 hours between walking, train and metro to get there.
I’m gonna consider it doing it once a month tho, I’ll get in touch with them.
Mainly I very much like the naginata, it’s a beautiful weapon and I enjoy doing the kata I find.
For details I follow step by step the guide called “naginata basics” by naginata israel.
>we wanted to start doing kenjutsu and, once again, there isn’t a school near us that practice it.
This is a common problem, but honestly I think in this situation there is more to be learned about Japanese swordsmanship from the material already in Kendo than setting out on your own. While it is sportified, a lot of the basic techniques and concepts are solid and the level of coaching in Kendo is very high.You also get the chance to spar with people not only on your level, but much, much, higher.
>From a Kendo practitioner prospective the techniques are well described and as I’ve said we developed a couple of fairly effective techniques from reading and practicing what’s written.
Well, assuming the translator did their job, what they wrote should make sense, but Japanese sword systems and yes, their kata, should have a depth that goes beyond that. Not only should everything fit together, but it should also go beyond just the surface techniques that you see demonstrated. Beyond the forms and techniques there is often oral or written lessons or exercises that give much needed context. Its very hard for something reconstructed to capture this kind of thing, certainly not without years of work and knowing what to look for.
The naginata group, if and when you join them, might not be thrilled with what you get working on it from a book. They might do an entirely different system for one, and even if its the same system you might inadvertently be drilling habits they consider bad.
I know a lot of this must sound like elitism or just raining on you, that isn't the point. I have great respect for many HEMA groups and practitioners that have their origins in a very similar approach to training and testing themselves, but with so many surviving systems of both sport and traditional weapons work, there is almost always a better alternative to setting out on your own, and you will probably get more out of working with such groups even on a limited basis.
>sounds elitist
Not at all, having a discussion about how we approach stuff and how we could get better at something we like it’s good, especially if it comes from someone that has for sure more experience than me, been training seriously only for three months, before that I trained with this friend of mine while I was deciding if I should join a dojo or not.
And for the sparring partners in my dojo you are right, I do have some really skilled people there, 4/5 and even a 6 Dan most of them won many tournaments.
I’m happy about my progress in kendo but I would like to branch out one day into kenjutsu and actually spar, learn the naginata too.
But I guess I’ll get in touch with those clubs that do teach those “near” me.
>been training seriously only for three months, before that I trained with this friend of mine while I was deciding if I should join a dojo or not.
Yeah mate, you're not gonna get much out of Bo5R at this point.
At shodan you're deemed capable of doing basic exercises, and at that point Musashi isn't writing for you yet.
At nidan you can apply basic techniques smoothly, and Musashi still ain't writing for you.
Sandan's the grade where you finish off your basics and begin to start to consider timing and pressure properly, and that's where I started to get some kind of understanding from Bo5R. Not enough to be useful, but at least my body could practically apply some of what I was reading.
Nakamura's "Spirit of the Sword" suggests that when the Japanese were fighting the Chinese around WW2 and the officers were armed with swords, kendoka were really only able to get results from sandan and up. Bo5R assumes that you're someone from a fighting background, so really I'd consider that as the minimum to get a practical swordfighting benefit from the book.
>do kata
>we do
I'm sorry, I don't mean to be rude or anything, but you aren't doing kata. You're doing something you think is kata but lacks the entirety of what makes a kata, a kata, which is experience. You do drills, not kata which have been developped and transmitted by experienced practitioners to another. Kata can't be taught or derived from a book, it's a master to student transmission that pass through the body and the oral teachings (kuden), this sort of teaching is critical in japanese martial arts and cannot be emulated through reading a book. You can do stuff that is useful, you can learn things from a book, but you can't do kata from it. That's why going to a dojo is essential, even if it's every now and then.

Similarly, doing kenjutsu isn't emulating a book, a video or what you think is kenjutsu, it's going to a dojo and following the teachings of someone who'll teach you kenjutsu... through kata-geiko (and/or other means). You can do kenjutsu techniques somehow, that's not "doing kenjutsu" which is (let's not take it more seriously that it needs to be) "an experience". To be taught a style is more than doing the motions, it's the etiquette, the relation with other students and the master, etc.

>been training seriously only for three months
three months of kendo or three months of experimenting with Musashi's book?
If the first, you're beyond a neophyte, considering you know nothing (not a bad thing). You'll be, I'm sorry to say it like that, unable to grasp what the Gorin no Sho is trying to teach.

Do you do the kendo no kata? this isn't kenjutsu per se but it was devised by lots of very strong kenjutsuka and properly taught, it's imo as good as anything from old kenjutsu.

Do more kendo! there's time for kenjutsu later. It'll be like that in Iaido too, you might want to see if you can do that if you aim at using a live sword.

You have good drive, you just need to know what you can actually do at your level.
>I would like to branch out one day into kenjutsu and actually spar, learn the naginata too.
It seems you have an honest drive, it's normal to want to "actually" spar (aren't you doing that in Kendo already?), but sparring really is little of what kenjutsu is about and how you can learn and develop it. It's normal to focus on sparring, but without firm basics, proper fundamentals, sparring is useless but for good fun. You can learn from sparring if you don't know what you're supposed to learn, you'll most likely develop bad habits you think are good but are completely disconnected from what japanese martial arts are about. If you want to have fun with your friends in your backyard (and there's nothing wrong with that), that might be enough, it won't if you intend your practice to be japanese martial arts, it'll be just a imaginated shadow of it.
Sparring isn't how japanese transmitted, taught or learned their martial arts, at some point it's just some toy to amuse and entertain people, realize that "sparring" as we do and understand it only came about after a century or so of peace in Japan, warriors didn't need sparring to learn martial arts, kata was enough. Nowadays of course sparring is a useful tool, but it's not and cannot be the core of japanese martial arts and its practice, especially weapon-based practice. The core is kata-geiko.
I found this study.

This is just a case study, so it isn't definitive like the NFL and boxing studies where they actually got to biopsy brains from deceased athletes and definitively diagnose them with CTE and come up with a rate of injury, in both sports it was nearly 100%. We just don't have that data for Kendo and I wouldn't hold your breath for it. Worth noting that in this case study, the subject was not diagnosed with CTE because he was still alive. However, brain scans revealed that he had injuries to his brain everywhere that was not protected by the helmet. In Kendo that's the back of the head. Not sure what could be happening there. Maybe he fell a lot on the hardwood and bounced his head off the ground? I've never seen a kendo match where a competitor gets walloped in the back of the head.

This is not a strong data point but it does suggest that if the helmet and shinai are being used as intended, there is not any evidence so far of brain damage. This guy accumulated his brain damage by getting hit where his helmet doesn't protect him. It is potentially worth designing a helmet that does protect the back of the head to prevent this from happening in the first place.
>Not sure what could be happening there. Maybe he fell a lot on the hardwood and bounced his head off the ground? I've never seen a kendo match where a competitor gets walloped in the back of the head.
The guy was 56 and "training since childhood" for "over 40 years". In Japan this could mean a lot of different things. Kendo is taken seriously as a professional support and success can get you uni scholarships, a career in the police as a kendoka, placement in certain companies, paid teaching posts and of course a career as a professional athlete.
It's also very hierarchical and traditional, so if someone decides to punish a pupil by hitting them with a shinai or knocking them to the ground or making them train till near-unconsciousness, it'll likely take a few occasions before they're stopped (if at all).
So it could be that the guy's had a few serious missteps through his life that ended up bouncing his head off the floor, or he could have been actively damahed by someone else. We also don't know the man's history; you can hit your head in places other than the dojo even if you do train kendo. Either way though I reckon you're right; most likely it's accumulated fall damage.
Kashima Shin Ryu: They study Internal Power (they call it reiki)
Shinkage Ryu: Some lines study internal strength
Kashima Shinto Ryu: As well
Jikishinkage Ryu.... 'nuff said. Maybe the most internal kenjutsu school.
Has Katori shinto ryu (the father of all these schools) aiki / internal strength methods?
The founder Iizasa was very very very explicit, he had internal strenght.
Yes everything points that KSR should have aiki methods or similar... but they are nowhere to be found.

KSR is very famous for their esoteric teachings and yet this stuff is not about aiki.
Otake, from his videos you can sense the guy was fierce and sharp as anyone can dream but far away from what you can expect from an internal guy.
Sugino studied with Ueshiba but never showed similar skills. And I want to be wrong, but he never seemed to say, "look, in aikido you find things that you find in ksr!"
Sugawara studied Tai Chi, it is like he felt something is lacking in his training.
Mochizuki, I don't know what degree of knowledge KSR had and I know he is revered in some circles but it seems he went backwards regarding internal strength training. His jujutsu is more judo than aiki. I don't know why his students insist on calling his style aikijujutsu when they simply don't know nothing about aiki.
And the most logical and simple answer is ..... they don't show it! We are talking about koryus. No one talks about their own school. It's too indiscreet, isn't it? But from the outside, it looks like everything points to not an internal strength studio at KSR.
Does anyone know if there is indeed internal strength training at KSR?
A simple yes is good enough for me...
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What is internal power?
Good question,
For me it's an ability. The ability to use your body in such a way that at the slightest contact with your opponent (body or weapon) you can exert control over him. From my limited experience, the most common thing is INSTANT imbalance.
It's internal because you cannot see it and you produce it by your own.
Other explanations like chi and ki are confusing: lore of pre industrial societies and without the proper key to understand it, it is just mumbo jumbo (sadly the most common presentation nowdays).
Amdur's work on this is probably the most definitive, but simply Internal power in this context is Chinese style training methods similar to qi gong that focus on breathing, postural control and the (re)organization of the body.
Per Amdur such concepts were probably more widespread among Japanese arts in the Edo period, while many Japanese martial arts contain language and concepts clearly derived from the practice, few still have clear and preserved teachings on the subject. As for KSR you would have to talk to a member but I have never heard of them explicitly teaching the subject.
I did KSR for some years, I never reached any high level or anything, but I've never been told of any sort of internal power the way you (adequately somehow) describe it later. Very subtle movements that aim to pre-emptively counter the opponent sen sen no sen like, yes, but not really "internal power". Maybe it exists in the higher sphere as there's plenty of hidden stuff, maybe it's found in the jujutsu (but when you look at Otake demonstrating some of the techniques, it's just your regular jujutsu, there's nowhere the "aiki-look"). Maybe it's done and used differently, there's obviously some sort of magic training going on as Otake Risuke was familiar with, but it seems more like a side thing.

My teacher also was taught aikido on the side and some tai chi, your point about Sugawara and Sugino if speculative is a start.

If there's some internal power training, it's a much more advanced thing probably not even taught to people with menkyo, then again, what do I know?

To my understanding, one of the core concept of KSR is In'yo, but it manifests through a relation with a partner/opponent, not necessarily with contact, but simply through ai-uchi. But this is really nothing extraordinary, it's just the good old "sentiment du fer" (feeling of the steel), "fühlen", etc. In that sense it's similar imo to aikido's basic idea of aiki, you work with the other person against his ideas, sensing him, pre-emptively neutralizing him at every turn, but it comes through the relation, not from your internal strength solely. It's a very dynamic thing.
Is anyone here familiar with araki mujinsai ryu iaido?
I've heard of it, whats your question?
I can't find much info on it. They claim to be a koryu school, but there seems to be some grey area in the lineage. Of course that's just from my shitty internet research. Was wondering if you know anyone whos trained araki mujinsai ryu who might know more about the history?
I don't know much about that, the only thing I could find was some dispute over a break in the lineage a few generations ago, but not any criticism of the school itself. though Araki mujinsai ryu is sometimes confused with Araki ryu torite kogosoku and Araki ryu gunyo kogusoku. The latter two are related but separate schools, while Araki mujinsai ryu claims the same founder there is no clear technical link. (This doesn't mean any of them are illegitimate, since the early schools were often restructured multiple times.)
As for the break and which line is legitimate or if they both are and this is just a political thing I can't help you.
I don’t know if this is the right place to ask but since it’s budo related I’ll just say it.
How does one makes his own kamon?
I read a lot about it and for what I’ve found, apart from some certain ones like the Tokugawa crest or ones like the Toyota logo which are registered and under copyright or similar protection laws, one can simply adopt or create one from scratch.
I ask because before the end of the year I would like to commission a iaito or directly a katana to commemorate a great achievement of my life and would like to put on it my kamon, I’m not Japanese however, but I’ve read that even peasants either adopted or came up with their own, I’m conflicted on which since I would like to use it for iaido and they might not allow a real sword.
To finish, how do I go about it and will I need to register it to any organization?
Also, would it look bad or come out as disrespectful?
I know that this threads in the weeb territory but I would like to have a crest and since European heraldry is way stricter I thought I could get one from Japan and put in on any sword or armor I decide to build or commission.

Inb4 weeb
I don’t reject my culture nor am I ignorant of Japanese culture and customs and neither would I like to be Japanese I’m proud of my origins I just like Japanese culture, especially the martial arts related stuff.
I’m simply on a path of self education to deepen my knowledge about it and would like to know more and even partake in some part of the culture if I can.
If it's not related to some sort of company or organization, that it's only present on your own objects (where would you have it on the iaito?) and that you aren't flaunting it like it's some sort of important thing besides what you put into... I don't think anyone would care really.

>Also, would it look bad or come out as disrespectful?
Probably nobody'll care, just don't make it anything exceptional more than "I wanted something I thought about myself".

>How does one makes his own kamon
So... it's not going to be a "kamon", just a design you associate with yourself. If you don't try to socially enforce it so it's associated with you, but just to do your own thing, it won't be "really" a kamon in the sense that the purpose is more personal than anything. Just draw your stuff, frankly who cares... Just don't do something cringe or too complicated: pick a symbolically meaningful flower (wisteria, plum flower, peony) or plant (pine, willow) maybe an animal (something like a butterfly, a crane or a dragonfly), don't mix more than two things.
Thanks, yes I do not intend on flaunting it but you never know with heraldry, after all symbols are important and some take it, in my opinion, too far some time.
>where you want to put it
I was thinking maybe integrated in the design of the tsuba or engraved on the habaki for the iaito and maybe in the future on the kabuto of the armor project me and a friend have on standby.
>pick no more than two things
I’ll keep it in mind, I was thinking that i should pick something that actually represent my family peculiarities and values but I still have to find something that really fits.
>I’ll keep it in mind, I was thinking that i should pick something that actually represent my family peculiarities and values but I still have to find something that really fits.
Of course you should look at actual kamon... As you should know already, they are much simpler than european heraldry and they don't "mix" them like the european do through marriages.

The flowers or basic shapes (Mori, Hojo, Takeda, etc.) are the most prevalent, animals too but they are far less common and of course, the sort of animal japanese uses for their kamon are not at all like the european ones. There's no stuff like dragons, big cats, bears or eagles, it's more like, as I said, crane, insects (dragonflies are a common samurai symbol because they "can't go backwards"), maybe deer, small birds, etc. But mostly it's going to be flowers or plants/trees. Hopefully the flower symbolism in japan is veeery thorough.

In the end, remember that you're projecting your own ideas and calling it a kamon, people back then weren't attaching themselves that much to the correspondance of the motif. It was mostly basic associations, like obviously fujiwara and wisteria (fuji- means wisteria of course), tenno is chrysanthemum because it lasts long duh! There's rarely multiple cross-interpretating, 3d chess sub-referencing meanings, kamon are usually just simple and basic association. Don't get over your head and try to pick the perfectest symbol that matches what you think at this present time (what about in ten years? in fifty years?), remember it's just a symbol, it doesn't say a truth about you, you are doing it through your actions.

Do you think people feared the centipede-kamon clan because centipedes are dangerous or because they heard that guys with a centipede kamon decapitated hundreds of hapless prisoners? Just pick a flower you like and roll with it... and maybe read some buddhism about impermanence I don't know.
How are kendo classes usually? Do you have a lot of interacting with an opponent or is it like 99% just you by yourself? I don't mind solo stuff and I know it's necessary, but what interests me about it is the duels and being there against someone else.
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Now that COVID "no longer exists" 99.9% of the time with a partner. Perhaps there is a movement exercise. But it is rare.
In my club and in the dojos I've been lucky enough to visit the normal class is:
kihon and waza (techniques) 2/3 of the time

uchikomi (partner provokes your attack), kakari geiko (continual attack practice), ji geiko (free sparring)1/3 of the time

Kata practice is totally random. We do kata one day a week. Other clubs every day. Some never, except for two weeks before exams. Kata is always in pairs, it is not karate.

The most competitive clubs usually add exclusive free sparring sessions on weekends, but of course these are not "classes".
>Do you have a lot of interacting with an opponent or is it like 99% just you by yourself?
Apart from suburi (cutting the air) and solo footwork exercises, everything is a paired exercise; one person plays the role of teacher to facilitate the exercise, the other person acts as the student to complete the exercise. Depending on the exercise and relative level, both people would normally have a go as both teacher and student before changing partners.
As for "duels" though, you won't be doing free sparring until you're in full armour and that won't happen until you know the absolute basics; this'll take a few months depending on how often you train and how quickly you pick things up. Even then your level will be such that seniors will be deliberately lowering their level so that you have the opportunity to learn what you're meant to be learning; a kendoka new into armour is a bit like a dog entering a poetry competition.
I'm going on my 3rd year of kendo and my club still doesn't let me wear kote or men, is it usual or I'm just not good enough yet
That's really irregular. How often do you practice?
We usually put people into bogu by six months, and this is training 2 times a week for 2 hours each class.
Twice a week, maybe it's an euro thing or I'm shit
2 hours aswell, forgot to say I was given a tare and do just this year
>maybe it's an euro thing or I'm shit
It's that second one, unless your place just isn't a genuine dojo
What are the grade levels of the dojo like? What organisation is the place affiliated with?
I wonder if someone here might know about that, but i've started kendo recently and acquired a hakama and a kendogi from one of the older guys at my dojo. The hakama is too short for me but the real issue is that weird scratches have appeared in the back and I they don't seem to be going away when washing. Am i fucked or can I fix that ?
What supplemental exercise routine would you guys recommend or that you personally use to help with your swordmanship?
For kendo at least the arms will be strengthened by just doing more suburi; this is the best method especially because the work that the arms do are not symmetrical. One-handed suburi are vital since you want one hand (normally the left) providing the power and the other hand guiding the sword. Pullups are great to strengthen the lats, encouraging extension of the tip of the sword when raising to cut.
The legs however require generic strength training, specifically squats. Pistol squats especially are ace because of the abs and hip flexor activation required to raise the front legs; you need a strong connection between legs, core and arms.
I find that kendo training is actually what fuels my other training; there's a lot of anaerobic work due to kiai and breath control so it's really given me a head start in running.
I found this kendo dojo that's about a 10 minute drive from me. Does it look legit?


It says the head instructors are 7th dan. Do all kendo ranks go through a unifying body? Are high dan ranks in kendo like other martial arts where (past a certain point) you're getting dans mostly for time served rather than skill/competition/coaching success?

>It says the head instructors are 7th dan. Do all kendo ranks go through a unifying body?
The big one is the IKF, and these guys are under the All American Kendo Federation which is under the IKF.

>Are high dan ranks in kendo like other martial arts where (past a certain point) you're getting dans mostly for time served rather than skill/competition/coaching success?
The 8th dan kendo exam has a pass rate of under 1% and the common phrase is that it's "the hardest exam in the world". 3 minutes on Google didn't find me the 7th dan pass rate but the numbers are around 12-18%. Time is a factor because you're only allowed to take the 8th dan exam 7 years after the 7th, 7th 6 years after 6th and so on; any 7th dan has therefore done an absolute minumum of 17.5 years kendo. Comptetition success is measured in competition wins, and the professional Japanese circuit is strong- wins make and break careers. The most nebulous ranks are renshi, kyoshi and hanshi which supplement 6th, 7th and 8th dan; these are for character, coaching ability and "contributions to kendo".

>Does it look legit?
I'm doing shinto-muso ryu. The core weapon is the jo (short staff or cane) but there is a kenjutsu syllabus. Anyone else familiar?
Pretty common koryu as far as the west is concerned. Donn Draeger practiced it and got a posthumous menkyo.
Hey friends a made a PFV x Kendo Video and would love to share it to you guys <3

Jes, but there is no purpose really. they mostly do the same things but under different peramiters. so if you follow one peramiter you are essentialy just doing one or the other. there is no reason to "combine" them in a meaningful way.
>If you spend a few weeks seriously sparring with a friend you will be better at fighting than people who devote countless years practicing flowery ineffective kata.
We openly practice sparring in my dojo. It is dependent on your comfort level, obviously you don't have someone 3 months in doing things at speed. Always with bokken, of course.
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I will be moving to a new town next year and it has a Kendo dojo. I wanted to buy a bokken, get some online classes and at least train some swings so I get started.

Should I get one with or without a tsuba?
Getting a kote so I can train with the armguard makes a difference?
Get one with the tsuba, get a shinai too, wait for everything else except maybe the kendogi and hakama.
As for the practicing swings at home part, avoid doing it, it’s easier and better to learn from 0 for you instead of learning and correcting at the same time.
If you want to come prepared practice seiza at a point where your somewhat comfortable sitting on an hardwood floor and do cardio to prepare yourself for jigeiko, having said this the first three or four lessons will likely be dedicated to getting you to learn posture, footwork and the three basic strikes.
After that they’ll tell you to buy your bogu or just start with some second hand do and kote they have there.
Thank you.
What method would you guys suggest to me to reach mushin?
I would like to develop over time the empty mind that Musashi wrote about, I’m also reading zen in the art of archery and there too I find this concept.
Meditation is one way, and I found that my performance during gigeiko and during practice has improved drastically, faster more fluid movements and reaction times cut in half, my kiai has also become more powerful.
So far so good but I’m wondering if I should do something else or just stick with this and continue, maybe uniting the two things and do kata wile meditating?
Depends on your level and training goals.
If you're not 6th dan yet, there are things you can do to improve your basic technique, positioning and footwork, and these will require thought and planning. Mushin's not appropriate there, and hence not appropriate for most of keiko.
The idea's to move the processes of fighting from the conscious to reflex, so you want to strengthen your weaker waza a lot to the point where you have a wider range of unconscious reflexes for your brain to unconsciously match to the situation. Practise dou, gyaku dou and tsuki a lot, basically, along with any oji-waza that you're less familiar with.
Try training while tired or while ill or even injured (not to the point of deteriorating your condition, obv). Not having the energy for extraneous thought and movement brings out those unconscious movements.
Finally, apply fucking feedback. Take video of your jigeiko if you can and listen to senipr feedback. "Unconscious" and "meditative" doesn't mean "magically perfect"; kendo's a process of shaping those reflexes and nobody is at the end of the process. Take feedback and train the basics correctly to the point where they become instinct, then try accessing them unconsciously.
Thank you anon
anyone have a pdf of the book Lives of master swordsmen by Makoto Sugawara
Where is this?
how common is for a woman to beat a guy in kendo? is the sword a real equalizer? the other day i saw a really small girl beat a tall dude in lest than a minute and i t really made me think about that stuff
When you're using shinai there's a limit on how much force you apply to your opponent, hence upper body strength becomes irrelevant past a certain point. So yeah, kendo's a bit of an equaliser.
That said, being taller than your opponent is an advantage in kendo, as is having a better power to weight ratio, so males tend to have an advantage overall. Plus women in Japan traditionally tended to be steered towards the likes of naginata or kyudo, with a less intense female competitive circuit, so the knowledge on how to train women isn't as deep as for men.
Ultimately though, experience and good technique along with a knowledge of the more esoteric aspects are massive boons in kendo. Just as a wrinkly seventh-dan with a broken body will tend to wreck the day of more junior kendoka, so will a wrinkly seventh-dan with saggy tits. Having personally lost to a female sensei in competition in my younger days I can attest to that.
Pretty common if they're skilled.
>t. personal experience
There’s a female master in my dojo that I hardly tollerate.
During exercises she’s pleasant and has some good ideas to switch things up but during jigeiko she becomes insufferable.
Keeps yelling every time.
“Keep straight after you hit, what is this form?”
“Watch the exit” hits me in the back of the men “go on”
“You hit too hard” “you can’t stay in stubazeriage this long” “you also can’t push, what if I fall?”
Goddamn 5 foot gremlin, I recognize that I may fail in leaving my feelings away and decreasing my performance and benefit of gigeiko and I recognize that she has way way more experience than me.
But the other masters aren’t even near this bitchy not even the head of the club.
I don’t like to complain especially to my elders but this situation is really staring to annoy me.
are you in the UK by any chance? i know a girl like that in london
No, I’m in Italy.
I mulled it over and I think that next time she tries to act like an harpy during jigeiko I’ll just go full defensive until she calms down.
Full defensive? just deliver a nasty sideway swing to face if allowed when there's an opening, really hard as well.
And the reasoning for this is to teach her to act properly and with respect, you don't have to nor should tolerate such a teacher when her actions would disqualify her from a match won.
Not defending her entirely, but there are some good points to be made here.
>“Keep straight after you hit, what is this form?”
What are you doing that prompts this? You should be either launching into an attack and immediately getting into tsuba-zerai, or backing away quickly in the straightest line during hiki waza.
>“Watch the exit” hits me in the back of the men “go on”
Other sensei do this, you aren't showing zanshin probably. You're following through, but leaving the back of your head exposed.
>“You hit too hard” “you can’t stay in stubazeriage this long” “you also can’t push, what if I fall?”
Pushing for the sake of pushing in tsuba-zerai usually gets you a hasoku in shiai. A tai-atari after crashing into your opponent to get them to stumble back and open up something is permitted, but tsuba-zerai should be fought as if you are in toma/issoku-itto no maai. If you're pushing just to push and not trying to make an opening, then it's pointless.
To add to my post, I do notice that female sensei are more vocal about what you are doing wrong while in-the-moment. Men tend to just capitalize on your mistake and keep doing it until you correct for it or explain to you if you ask about it after practice.
I either hit and retreat out of measure or hit and exit, doing a correct fast exit sometimes is very difficult for me because I get really winded by the 3/5 jigeiko.
As for the tsubazeriage I usually get there and either attack straight away or push up/down/sideways to open up the opponent, usually after this i launch a retreating men.
From this description, I get the impression that you're still quite new to kendo; please let me know if I'm wrong, but I think 1 or 2 years at the most.
The things that your teacher is shouting about are common mistakes that need to be fixed in order to do well in grading or competition.
The Old Way of training was for the sensei to just keep hitting you until you realise yourself what went wrong. If a senior is giving you verbal feedback in jigeiko, that is extra effort and attention from them.
Since you have an issue with the way she's treating you, I would bring that up with the higher seniors; they can then advise both you and her on how to train together. Part of kendo is practising being brave, open and honest as a person.
All the best. The good news is, if you do keep training and developing, this will quickly not seem so bad.
>still new
Yes, I will be training for a year in august.
I kinda fixed being static however I get blocked after I lose my breath after 3 or 4 bouts.
Thanks for the advice I’ll bring it up next time I go to practice.
Also, do you have any advice/exercises on loosening up shoulders?
I start off with loose shoulder and fluid movements however, especially in an intense jigeiko, they tighten up and have to make a conscious effort to loosen up.
In addition to making me slower it also make the movements more strenuous so I would like to fix it, I suspect that I should just have patience and keep going until it becomes second nature.
>Also, do you have any advice/exercises on loosening up shoulders?
I would practise holding the shinai first.
There should be a little space between your arms and body, like you're holding a tennis ball under each armpit.
The grip is very, very loose. Only the smallest finger should be tight. If someone were to pull on the end of your shinai, the shinai should come out of your hands.
Remember that jigeiko is 'free practise'. You can say 'today, my goal is to keep my shoulders loose and to keep cutting big men'. You can then judge your success and failure on your shoulders, rather than hitting or not getting hit.
You're right- if you keep going, your arms will strengthen and you won't feel the need to tighten the shoulders so much. But really focussing on them for a few sessions and during suburi will help speed that process up.
Again, good luck!
why do Kendo though? It's not like samurai are real anymore
>You get to batter people over the head whole screaming your lungs out. Great for relaxation
>Extended shouting results in improved breath control and blood oxygen for cardio gainz, as well as a powerful voice for when you need to be authoritative
>Best calf gains of *any* activity bar none
>High tier forearm gains (although not nearly on the level of rock climbing)
>Doing kendo has real connotations of responsibility, athleticisim and maturity in a particular developed nation. Playing football can get you a university scholarship in America; playing kendo can get you a job as a policeman in Japan.
>No pretensions of any kind. Kendo doesn't promise to let you beat up the bullies or defeat a knife-wielding attacker or simulate True Historical Combat with swords. Kendo is a self-improvement activity based on the principles of the sword and that is it.
>One of the only truly sustainable, multigenerational martial arts. You won't find many eighty-year-old boxers or wrestlers still practising at a high level. With a little consideration, kids can meaningfully train with pensioners in kendo.
>Tremendously interesting history. Learning about the modern development of kendo is revealing about Japan's occupation of Korea, America's occupation of Japan, the modern development of a whole host of Japanese martial arts (especially karate) and the political sporting context of those three developed nations.

Honestly mate, it's just good shit.
Kendo was created in the 20th century. Some ex-samurai helped creating it but its goal has little to do with "muh samurai".

It's just a sport.
Do you improve your kendo on a daily basis? If so, what exactly do you do?
I assume you mean outside the dojo.

Things I do:
- If there is a recording of the recent practice, I watch it and identify elements in my Kendo that need to be improved
- Watching practice (can be anything, sensei seminars on youtube, matches, etc)
- Holding kamae, basic footwork

I always have a shinai within reach, a minute or two here and there adds up.
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Do any of you travel in airplane a lot and train in different countries regularly?
How do you do?
Is there a way to keep your bogu in an hand luggage?
If you are traveling with martial arts gear you're going to have to pay for the extra bags. that's just inevitable.
Travel on foot have a real martial Journey™.
HEMAfag here. Why do JSAfags never ever try to spar, not even between themselves? It's rare to see a Kenjutsufag or Iaidofag or even Kobudofag willing to spar against a HEMAfag, let alone a fellow practitioner.
Because the purpose of the art and its training are different with different goals and different means. Also there's probably more kendoka and JSA people going on to try HEMA than HEMA people going to try JSA... Sure demographics but still.

Then, there's little need of sparring in JSA (bar kendo obviously) or a wide desire of "trying" the techniques, that's not how and why it's done (in my own practice anyway). Last time the japanese "tried" their techniques, the West tried them for war crimes, as Taizaburo Nakamura was quick to remind us. Swordfighting is not a practical art anyway, so why pretending? If you're doing kata-geiko "softly", you're not doing it right anyway.

And then, there is sparring in kenjutsu, but behind closed doors because japan. Iaido is not even supposed to be done in pairs for the most part so...
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>Swordfighting is not a practical art anyway, so why pretending?
Because it's fun dummy. Quit it with this "higher than thou" attitude. Unarmed combat barely has any value outside of drunkard streetfights and the contact sport side of things yet people care about it, a lot. If you want to defend yourself, use tools like pepper spray and stun guns, those trumps unarmed combat most of the times yet people would rather learn a martial art over using those. You guys need to catch up to the filipinos as they are adding more and more sparring in their practices of Eskrima/Kali.
People in JSA find their fun elsewhere. And then, going on with kendo, you should still find a lot of people more than willing to spar.

>You guys need to catch up
But why and for what purpose? Again Eskrima, HEMA and trad kenjutsu don't have the same goals and the same training.

And as I said, people in JSA do spar, do go to see what HEMA is about (especially in the West of course), there's more people going ton see JSA -> HEMA than the opposite. Have you try to like... ask politely?
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I have asked politely to some kenjutsu practitioners and they all politely refused. Kendokas are a bit more eager but it still feels odd (and easy using a "realistic swprdfight" type ruleset) to fight them because they are both stiff and suicidal in their approach. I want to "fight" someone that doesn't try to rush at me without caring about consequences. Otherwise, kendo is just olympic fencing with stiffer, longer blades, yelling and etiquette autism. Shinais are lighter than katana and have a very different balance point. A kendo background helps whem it comes to Kenjutsu and HEMA, but it's, in my opinion, barely a martial art. It's as much as a martial art as epée fencing.
>I have asked politely to some kenjutsu practitioners and they all politely refused.
Well there you go.

>Kendokas are a bit more eager
Well there you go2.

You seem genuinely surprised different people with different martial cultures enjoy different things and there's no one "realistic swprdfight" type of training, crazy right! Because your "realistic" ruleset is still a massive approximation and is in no way "realistic". Also,
>someone that doesn't try to rush at me without caring about consequences
Do you know how the japanese mental fortitude is forged anon...? How they are willing to fight? You want a realistic swordfight but can't handle do or die attitudes? Seems that what you want is a sporty sparring not a martial art realistic swordfight.

>barely a martial art. It's as much as a martial art as epée fencing
Oly fencing and Kendoka barely think of you anon when they know you exist. We have a century + long lineage tradition while HEMA is barely a generation old, we don't care what you think about our martial arts when you can't even agree on what Fiore or RDL says.

Adult up, join a JSA art and you might get what you want. Basically you want something but there's zero reasons JSAers have to give in to your tantrums and whims, we have much more interesting thing to do than entertain a person with a flawed vision of what we do and who want to prove his art and method are superior. Go read and train.
I think he meant JSA people rush in blindly and get hit rather than ”yamato damashii”.
>Do you know how the japanese mental fortitude is forged anon...? How they are willing to fight? You want a realistic swordfight but can't handle do or die attitudes? Seems that what you want is a sporty sparring not a martial art realistic swordfight.
Dude, I literally own kendokas all the time. Kendokas charge at you like a hyped up peasant that has never picked up a sword in his life and I finesse them like I'm a bullfighter. In a real life swordfight, people like that are the ones that tend to die the most, and kill the least (unless they fight another similarly brutish enemy, then you get a double death). Kendo is extremely similar to olympic fencing in this suicidal "first blood" style, except olympic fencing knows and is aware of it's sportive nature. No one calls that martial arts, not even themselves, so how do you guys have the balls to call yourselves martial artists? You are sportsmen, and I have nothing against that, only against the mislabeling of your sport as a martial art.
>Muh lineage
Aikido has lineage and it's the worst, most cultlike of the traditional martial arts, apart for having no use whatsoever, so I fail to see the point of muh lineage. Hell, look at fucking wing chun, a fuckton of schools talk shit to each other and all claim to be the True Wing Chun. You think lineage matters, as if orally passed knowledge didn't get warped each generation? Give me a break and look at folklore as an example of the effectiveness of "lineage". You are taught the interpretation of your master's interpretation of his master's interpretation till you get to the founder. JSA (which kendo is not) should try to do sparring and competition to know which techniques actually fucking work, which is what the HEMA community has done in the last 20ish years just out of documents and historical context. And not only should they try to compete amongst themselves, they should try to reach out to other arts and deal with them to not end up as an insulated art.
I only said that about Kendoka. I have never fought against a Kenjutsuka or Kobudoka so I can't talk about them. But Kendoka just act like olympic fencers with a 2 handed weapon that yell at you.
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Also, I have never ever claimed supperiority to JSA. The reason I want to spar against a Kenjutsu practitioner is for the point of self development as a fighter, and for JSA itself to develop through sparring instead of being just a bunch of kata. I don't know why you gotta jump at conclussions like that when all I want to do is a friendly, noble sparr.
swords are dum af desu, bo staff and spears are superior in all aspects

ppl like swords just for the lulz not cause they're good tools to kill
The bo is the least deadly weapon. It's good for the police to beat the local agressive drunkard holding a broken bottle into submission.
Also good luck using a spear, let alone the less lethal bo, in a cramped space. Everytime you jab a swordsman with the bo you are asking for him to either grab it to close distance or pressure you into a corner.
Oh boy, "a why don't you guys spar?" questioner. I say this because such questions are not new.
To be fair the answers are not always great. Some are from people with extensive experience in multiple kinds of martial arts, including combat sports, but others repeat received wisdom. When it comes to Kenjutsu every school is different so the how and why also differ, but generally speaking in Japan many of them already have Kendo experience, the emphasis is on preservation, and there are legal and cultural rules in Japan, and in specific schools that discourage the practice.
That said, if you look up Ellis Amdur's article on the subject you'll see at least in his day (the late 70's and 80's) you could find people to do this with, as long as it was private. You can also find schools that emphasis shinai shiai and people who have very broad training histories. Some schools, Ive been told, even expect you to have a rank in Kendo or atarashi naginata before joining. I even recall one or two schools that seem to have an open door policy to cross training.
Another point: Kendo is JSA. It incorporates techniques and principles right out of Edo period fencing schools, some of the top ones. Yes, it has some artifacts from the sporting side, but its also very polished. I think the its reputation as suicidal mostly comes from the lower levels of the art.
Aikido has a lineage that only goes back to living memory unless you count the founder's teacher who is probably where most of the art originated. It was actually very open to fighting in that era, so you can find lots of conversations between aikidoka debating what the hell happened. Its not quiet the same as a school that might have been considered a viable, even premier sword style for 200+ years.
>Legal and cultural rules in Japan
Is it illegal to publicly announce your dojo has sparring using safe equipment? Legitimate question. I get the cultural rules part.
>Kendo is JSA because it uses a few
historical sword techniques
By that logic epée fencing would be classified as swordsmanship as some smallsword techniques are applicable. So I'm afraid I'm gonna have to disagree with you. It's like saying Shogi or Chess is a martial art as it represents two armies fighting, even though both games are incredibly abstracted and barely resemble warfare.
I'm not sure on the specifics of the law, since I have only seen reference to it, and never read the actual legal code. Being that some people and schools seem to have cross training on the level of safe sparring I would assume its not some sort of blanket ban. Matches between styles were not necessarily friendly or safe however. Some were fights with wooden weapons and no protective gear. Perhaps what I read about only concerned such matches.
>By that logic epée fencing would be classified as swordsmanship
Well I don't know how much MOF has changed from its classical form, but broadly, I would consider epee fencing a type of swordsmanship, albeit very sportified in its modern form. I certainly don't want a sharp epee coming at me in the hands of a modern fencer if I could help it.
IMO Kendo doesn't suffer from that as much, which isn't to say it does not suffer at all, but the interplay between Kendo and other forms of JSA is a pretty complex discussion.
>Dude, I literally own kendokas all the time. Kendokas charge at you like a hyped up peasant that has never picked up a sword in his life and I finesse them like I'm a bullfighter.
So your first couple of years/grades in kendo are about building up the ability to attack with full commitment. A 1st-2nd dan kendoka is able to jump forward and cut fast and that's it. That's how it's meant to be, and that's who you've been fencing.
Once you reach 3rd dan, the grading requirement is to build pressure and demonstrate an awareness of timing; by the 4th dan exam onwards, if you attack without making a clear opportunity, you fail your exam and go home. I get the feeling you haven't fenced any 4th dans yet.
HEMA trains in a different way and that's fine; to a HEMA practitioner a junior kendoka will look like a weird shouting spaz jumping into suidicdal positions, and to a kendoka a junior HEMA practitioner looks like a sweaty LARPER wiggling toy swords and never getting an actual cut in.

>which is what the HEMA community has done in the last 20ish years just out of documents and historical context.
This here is one reason difference between training styles. Kendo has a long teaching timescale because the Japanese start with schoolkids and have them train through high school, university and into their adult careers- it'll get them scholarships, promotions and police job roles, so they can afford to invest years studying things like "how to make a frontal attack", then later to move on to "how to make the opening for said frontal attack". HEMA is a great field of study, but it's a hobby sport where people expect to get good with five years of practise two times a week as an adult. There's nobody doing HEMA in their sixties who started at age eight, because the concept didn't exist a few decades' back. The training timescales are simply different.
>and to a kendoka a junior HEMA practitioner looks like a sweaty LARPER wiggling toy swords and never getting an actual cut in.
>even tho i'm using a steel feder weighing 1460g while kendoka use sissy 500g bamboo rods
>even tho I am "skewering" kendoka with more time into their art than I invested myself into HEMA

About the dans, I legitimately don't give a shit about them. For the most part, belts and dans are a good way to reward unthinking sheepish behaviour and that's it (again, just look at Aikidofags). The reason HEMA "LARPers" own kendoka is simply cause HEMA is a results oriented thing, while Kendo is autismal method oriented training same as traditional Japanese archery. It's not about actually "killing" your opponent and not dying, it's about etiquette and "doing it right". Pure worthless bullshido is what it is.
It saddens me that the only Japanese martial arts that are not delusional are essentially Judo and Karate.
On the other hand, Kenjutsu, just as Aikido, has essentially no real sparring, and I don't care that 4 dudes have supposedly done "sparring" behind closed doors in which they "hold back" using bokken, cause that ain't real sparring.
To properly spar, you need a proper simulator of a Katana with adequate mass, center of gravity, and pivoting point. Bokken are usually lighter than actual katana and the mass distribution is essentially linear. You also need enough protection that you can fight with the actual intent to kill without actually killing each other. The HEMA community has already developped the necessary equipment, so you guys already have half the homework done. Hell, BlackFencer even made a few "exotic" weapons steel blunts and polymer wasters including the chinese Jian, the Katana and a few more.
Kenjutsu needs a reality check asap for it's own good. Kenjutsu is worthless as a martial art cause it's essentially learning to swim on dry land. They will never truly understand the sword unless they spar.
>About the dans, I legitimately don't give a shit about them.
That's cool man, but when you say things like
>Kendokas charge at you like a hyped up peasant that has never picked up a sword in his life
Just understand that that means, by definition, that you're dealing with a junior kendoka who's still picking up the basics.

>You also need enough protection that you can fight with the actual intent to kill without actually killing each other.
If you're fighting someone and you're reasonably confident that they'll still be alive after your encounter, by definition you're not fighting "with intent to kill". I know a few people who have picked up swords with the intent to kill others, and they don't know what a feder or a shinai even is. Joining the military or getting heavy into drug dealing can teach a person about "intent to kill"; padded sparring cannot.
You are being a fucking smartass faggot that's what you are being. I guess by your logic boxers are all wimps cause they enter the ring being aware that their opponent is not going to die, huh? Shove your pedantry up your ass. The point of protection is so you don't have to "pull your punches" when handling a blade to simulate a real full speed attack with a piece of steel that feels a lot like handling a sword, and being able to spar as much as possible (a blunt sword can easily break bones and gouge eyes).
All you are doing at this point is coping instead of admitting that Kenjutsu practitioners claim to know how to swim yet refuse to jump on the sea.
>I guess by your logic boxers are all wimps
I'm calling nobody a wimp; not boxers, not hema practitioners, not yourself. "Not intending to kill anyone" doesn't make anyone a wimp in my eyes. I know enough people who have killed people to know that it doesn't make you a brave or a strong man.

>cause they enter the ring being aware that their opponent is not going to die, huh? Shove your pedantry up your ass.
It's not pedantry; "intent to kill" is a particular thing, and the more life experience a person gets the more they become aware of the difference.

>to simulate a real full speed attack
>feels a lot like
>as much as possible

>All you are doing at this point is coping instead of admitting that Kenjutsu practitioners claim to know how to swim yet refuse to jump on the sea.
I don't do kenjutsu, though I'm not calling those guys wimps either. I'm saying that none of us who are debating sports sword fighting on an Indonesian basket weaving forum have ever been in the sea.
Generally, ignoring information or even opinions because they don't jive with your general experience is not very conductive to learning. For most of history swordsmen all around the world trained with pieces of wood, or real swords. Somehow this did not prove an impediment to creating fine swordsmen. Of course we live in a time when people no longer fight with swords as a norm, so we don't have the benefit of training under people who have won multiple sword fights. Two things about HEMA is they do tend to try and innovate the equipment as much as possible and there is a lot of put up or shut up. I can respect that, but people here have provided some very good information and explanations of how things are done There are Kendoka who have a much higher level of skill than suicidal attacks and there are Kenjustu people who have extensive backgrounds with armed and unarmed sparring. These things are simply facts
It exists but it's rare and I'd like to see more,

Here are some examples
Based Koreans not having frail egos like Japs.
Where to get a sword with a rounded tip? The state law says it's a knife as long as it can be used to stab so having a dull edge isnt enough
Japs are the third video, Thai are the second
Huh? You want a totally blunt replica or what?
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Homeboy you this?
I want one I can practice with outside but it needs to be blunt
even an iaito is illegal to have in public because even though it's dull the end is still pointy enough to stab someone with, so it has to be rounded
Just put a rubber cap on it like olympic fencing and hema people do
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It's gonna sound like shilling but BlackFencer sells a polymer katana that weighs and feels like a real one (altho a bit on the light side as it's only 800g)
The company is based on Spain so if you're American you have to look for a distributor that sells BlackFencer products rather than buying directly.
As it's polymer, and the tip is fairly round, it can be an inexpensive solution that doesnt involve filing off your iaito's tip. They also sell an even cheaper polymer wakishazi if you want to go Miyamoto Musashi style.
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Thinking more about it, if all you wanna do is drills outside of your home it would probably be bettter to get a bokken, actually. This one here has a more realistic weight than the polymer one at 1kg.
It's a bit more expensive than the blackfencer Katana I posted, but if you're American, it's an American provider, so even less logistical issues. It's also more "trad" than the polymer one I just posted, and if you were to be attacked by some cocky unarmed thug, you could probably beat him hard with this in self defense.
I think I may have found a katori shinto ryu place by me but I have no idea how to tell if it's legit or not? The video demonstration looked normal to me but there's other shit on their website about ki and healing that puts me off
There was a thread about them in r/koryu, apparently they are affiliated to Otake Nobutoshi who has been expelled from TSKSR because of politics.

In terms of technique, they are legit, but they don't use the "katori shinto-ryu" handle upfront, rather this "shinkiryu" thing, because they can't.

The site is super-duper cheesy, but that may just be the site, best thing would be to see for yourself in the actual dojo. At least their training and lineage is legit... well apart from the hamon thing. If you don't care about these politics, it might well be good.
Ohh that's interesting, thanks a ton anon. I'll have to sit in and see how it is in person.

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