Japanese arts and crafts have been enhanced by the clan system throughout history. As with the way of arts, kendo has also been promoted and developed with the quality determined by the grade system. Kendo grade examinations require proficiency and correct kendo in the process of training regardless of age. In particular, the 8th dan examination is the most difficult one with a pass rate of 0.7%.
So first of all, let’s give a brief overview of analysis and short comments by the judges on the 8th dan examination over the past five years from the monthly magazine “Kenso” which is published by the All Japan Kendo Federation. In addition, we will examine the 8th dan examination from the perspective of the judge’s committee and the 8th dan candidates.
Hayashi Kunio / Born in 1944 in Gifu Prefecture. Emeritus Professor of the Chukyo University, Chukyo University Kendo Club Director, 8th dan in kendo.
The 8th dan kendo examination
When I took the 8th dan examination, it was the last time that it was held once per year. As the readers know, the current 8th dan examinations are conducted twice: the Kyoto examination in May and the Tokyo examination in November. In the examination, if you pass the first and second stage, you will take the Japanese kendo kata examination, and if you pass it you will acquire 8th dan.
The difference between the 7th and the 8th dan examination is that the 8th dan examination is divided in two stages. These two stages seem to be a factor that makes the examination difficult.
The wonderful thing about the teachers of old kendo is that they set up a second stage of examination for 8th dan and aimed at high quality kendo. Therefore, I explain to the examinees that the first pass is a true 7th dan pass and the second pass is an 8th dan pass at 8th dan exam seminars. The reason for this is that the 7th dan acquirers have a wide skill range, so it was considered that a secondary examination had to be established. When I was a student, there were preliminary examinations in each prefecture, and if you passed it, you were granted access to the examination of the All Japan Kendo Federation. These things are proof that we try to train high quality kendo experts.
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