Historical Weapons: Kendo Study Guide

Historical Weapons: Kendo Study Guide

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Historical Weapons: Kendo Study Guide

Historical Background
When studying the history of Kendo, one way to see how the sport has evolved from a fighting style on the battlefield to the national sport of Japan is to trace its routes through the actual history of Japan itself. The time periods which have had a part to play in the creation of Kendo as we know it today are as follows:
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The Heian Era The Kamakura Era The Muromachi Era The Edo Era The Meiji Era The Taisho Era The Modern Era

Heian Era (794-1185 AD)
The Japanese sword that emerged in the middle of the 11th Century (middle of the Heian Era 794-1185 AD ) had a slightly arched blade with raised ridges (called Shinogi).

Kamakura Era (1200 – 1299 AD)
The original model of sword was presumably handled by a tribe that specialized in cavalry battles in northern Japan during the 9th century. Since then, this sword was used by the Samurai and production technology advanced rapidly during the period of early Samurai-government reign (end of the Kamakura Era in the 13th Century).

Muromachi Era (1392 – 1573 AD)
After the Onin War occurred in the latter half of the Muromachi Era (1392-1573), Japan experienced anarchy for a hundred years. During this time, many schools of Kenjutsu were established. The Japanese sword was made using the Tatarafuki casting method with high quality iron sand obtained from the riverbed However, it did not take long before large quantities of firearms were made successfully using this high quality iron sand and the same casting method to produce swords. As a result, the heavy-armored battling style that prevailed up to then changed dramatically to a lighter hand-to-hand battling style. Actual battling experiences resulted in advanced development and specialization of sword-smithing as well as the establishment of more refined sword-handling techniques and skills that have been handed down to the present through the various schools such as the Shinkage-ryu and Itto-ryu.

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Historical Weapons: Kendo Study Guide

Edo Era (1603 – 1867 AD)
Japan began to experience a relatively peaceful period from the beginning of the Edo Era (1603-1867). During this time, techniques of the Ken(the Japanese sword) were converted from techniques of killing people to one of developing the person through concepts such as the Katsunin-ken which included not only theories on strong swordsmanship, but also concepts of a disciplinary life-style of the Samurai.

Written Teachings
These ideas were compiled in books elaborating on the art of warfare in the early Edo Era. Examples of these include:
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“Heiho Kadensho (The Life-giving Sword)” by Yagyu Munenori “Fudochi Shinmyoroku (The Unfettered Mind )” by Priest Takuan “Ken to Zen (Sword and Zen)” written for Tokugawa Iemitsu “Gorin-no-sho (The Book of Five Rings)” by Miyamoto Musashi

What these publications tried to convey to the Samurai was how to live beyond death. These teachings were to be used for everyday life. The Samurai studied these books and teachings daily, lived an austere life, cultivated their minds, and devoted themselves to the refinement of Bujutsu, learned to differentiate between good and evil, and learned that in times of emergency they were ready to sacrifice their lives for their Han (clan) and feudal lord. In present day terms, they worked as bureaucrats and soldiers. The Bushido spirit that evolved during this time, developed during a peaceful 246 years of the Tokugawa period. Even after the collapse of the feudal system, this Bushido spirit lives on in the minds of the Japanese.

Shotoku Era (1711 – 1715 AD)
As peaceful times continued, while Kenjutsu developed new graceful techniques of the Ken created from actual sword battling skills, NaganumaShirozaemonKunisato of the Jiki-shinkage-ryu school developed a new foundation in techniques of the Ken. During the Shotoku Era (1711-1715) Naganuma developed the Kendo-gu (protective equipment) and established a training method using the Shinai (bamboo-sword). This is the direct origin of present day Kendo discipline.

Horeki Era (1751 – 1764 AD)
Thereafter, during the Horeki Era (1751-1764), NakanishiChuzo-kotake of Ittoryu started a new training method using an iron Men (headgear) and Kendo-gu made of bamboo, which became prevalent among many schools in a short period of time.

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Historical Weapons: Kendo Study Guide Kansai Era (1789 – 1801 AD)
In the Kansei Era (1789-1801), inter-school competition became popular and Samurai traveled beyond their province in search of stronger opponents to improve their skills. In the latter half of the Edo Era (beginning of the 19th Century), new types of equipment were produced such as the Yotsuwari Shinai (bamboo swords united by tetramerous bamboo). This new Shinai was more elastic and durable than the Fukuro Shinai (literally, bag-covered bamboo sword) which it replaced. Also, a Do (body armor) that was reinforced by leather and coated with lacquer was introduced. During this time, three Dojos that gained great popularity became to be known as the “Three Great Dojos of Edo.” They were:
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Genbukan led by Chiba Shusaku Renpeikan led by Saito Yakuro Shigakkan led by Momoi Shunzo

Chiba attempted to systematize the Waza (techniques) of bamboo sword training by establishing the “Sixty-eight Techniques of Kenjutsu” which were classified in accordance with striking points. Techniques such as the Oikomi-men and Suriagemen and other techniques that were named by Chiba are still used today.

Meiji Era (1868 – 1911 AD)
After the Meiji Restoration in 1868, the Samurai class was dissolved and the wearing of swords was prohibited. As a result, many Samurai lost their jobs and Kenjutsu declined dramatically. Thereafter, the Seinan Conflict which occurred in the 10th Year of the Meiji Era (1877) was an unsuccessful resistance movement of Samurai against the Central Government that seemed to give an indication of Kenjutsu’s recovery mainly among the Tokyo Metropolitan Police. In the 28th Year of the Meiji Era (1829), the Dai-Nippon Butoku-Kai was established as the national organization to promote Bujutsu including Kenjutsu. At around the same time in 1899, “Bushido” was published in English which was considered a compilation of Samurai’s thoughts and philosophy. It was influential internationally.

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Historical Weapons: Kendo Study Guide

Taisho Era (1912 – 1926 AD)
In the First Year of Taisho (1912), the Dai-Nippon Teikoku Kendo Kata (later renamed to Nippon Kendo Kata) was established using the word Kendo. The establishment of the Kendo Kata provided for the unification of many schools to enable them to pass on to later generations the techniques and spirit of the Japanese sword, and to remedy improper use of hands which had been caused by bamboo sword training and to correct inaccurate strikes which were not at the right angle to the opponent. It was thought that the Shinai (bamboo sword) was to be treated as an alternative of the Japanese sword. And, in the Eighth Year of Taisho (1919), Nishikubo Hiromichi consolidated the original objectives of Bu (or in other words Samurai) under the names of Budo and Kendo since they conformed to them.

Modern Era
After the Second World War, Kendo was suspended for a while under the Occupation of the Allied Forces. In 1952, however, when the All Japan Kendo Federation was established, Kendo was revived. Kendo presently plays an important role in school education and is also popular among the young and old, men and women alike. Several million Kendo practitioners of all ages enjoy participating in regular sessions of Keiko (Kendo training). Kendo is gaining interest all around the world, and more and more international practitioners are joining the Kendo world. The International Kendo Federation (IKF) was established in 1970 and the first triennial World Kendo Championships (WKC) was held in the Nippon Budokan in the same year. In July 2003, the 12th WKC was held in Glasgow, Scotland. Kendo practitioners from forty-one different countries and regions participated.

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Historical Weapons: Kendo Study Guide

Etiquette (Reiho):
Following proper etiquette when entering and exiting the dojo is an easy way to facilitate respect for everyone involved in your training:
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Guard Up! The Instructor Your fellow class-mates

Entering / Exiting the Dojo:
Japanese Rei English Bow to head of dojo

Start of Individual Practice:
Japanese Rei Sonkyo English Bow to partner Crouching "En Garde" position

"Onegai shimasu" “Please, let's practice”

End of Individual Practice:
Japanese Sonkyo Rei "Domo arigato gozaimashita" English Crouching "En Garde" position Bow to partner “Thank you very much”

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Historical Weapons: Kendo Study Guide

Start of Group Practice:
Japanese
Sei retsu Seiza Ki o tsuke Mokuso Mokuso yame Shinzen ni rei Sensei ni rei Men o tsuke English Line up Be seated Attention Deep breathing and meditation End of breathing and meditation Bow to head of dojo Bow to teachers Put on your men

End of Group Practice:
Japanese
Sei retsu Seiza Ki o tsuke Men o tore Mokuso Mokuso yame Sensei ni rei Shinzen ni rei English Line up Be seated Attention Remove your men Deep breathing and meditation End of breathing and meditation Bow to teachers Bow to head of dojo

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Historical Weapons: Kendo Study Guide

Equipment (Bogu):
Japanese Men Do Tare Kote Shinai Bokken English Face mask Chest protector Hip protector Padded gloves Bamboo sword Wooden sword Japanese Keiko gi Hakama Obi Tenogui Tsuba Iaito English Jacket Trousers Belt towel Sword guard Metal practice sword

Counting:
Japanese Ichi Ni San Shi Go Roku Shichi Hachi Kyu Ju One Two Three Four Five Six Seven Eight Nine Ten English Japanese Ni-ju San-ju Yon-ju Go-ju Roku-ju Shichi-ju Hachi-ju Kyu-ju Hyaku English Twenty Thirty Forty Fifty Sixty Seventy Eighty Ninety Hundred

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Historical Weapons: Kendo Study Guide

Concepts:
Japanese Ki ken tai ichi Zanshin Kokoro gamae Hei jo shin Fudo shin English Spirit sword body as one Resolute Will Readiness of Spirit Calmness of Mind Immoveable Mind Japanese Ken zen ichi Ken tai ichi Tamashi Mizu no yonni Nami no yonni English Kendo and Zen are the same Attack and Defense are the same Fighting Spirit Be like water Be like a wave

Footwork (Ashi Sabaki):
Japanese Suri ashi Aiyumi ashi Okuri ashi Hiraki ashi Fumi komi ashi English "Rubbing Feet" Alternating stepping Slide stepping Diagonal stepping Attack stepping

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Historical Weapons: Kendo Study Guide

Techniques
There are several techniques that make up the Kendo form:
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Basic Techniques 2-Step Techniques 3- Step Techniques Reverse Techniques Air Strikes Advanced Techniques

Basic Techniques (Kihon Waza):
Japanese
Men uchi Kote uchi Do uchi Tsuki Strike to Men Strike to Kote Strike to Do Thrust to throat guard

English

2-Step Techniques (Ni Dan Waza):
Japanese
Kote men Kote do Men men Tsuki men

English
Kote followed by men Kote followed by do Men followed by men Tsuki followed by men

3-Step Techniques (San Dan Waza):
Japanese
Kote men do Kote men men Tsuki men do

English
Kote men followed by do Kote men followed by men Tsuki men followed by do

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Historical Weapons: Kendo Study Guide

Reverse Techniques (Hiki Waza):
Japanese
Hiki men Hiki do Hiki kote

English
Men retreating from tsubazeriai Do retreating from tsubazeriai Kote retreating from tsubazeriai

Air Strikes (Suburi):
Japanese
Shomen suburi Nanameburi Jogeiburi Hidari katate suburi Basic striking Diagonal striking Large motion striking Left hand only striking

English

Advanced Techniques (Oji Waza):
Japanese
Men debana kote Men debana men Kote nuki men Men nuki do Kote suriage men Men suiage men Kote kaeshi men Men kaeshi do Men kaeshi men

English
Intercept of men with kote Intercept of men with men Evasion of kote with men Evasion of men with do Deflection of kote, followed by men Delection of men, followed by men Block & counter kote with men Block & counter men with do Block & counter men with men

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