It has been about five months since the All Japan Kendo Federation lifted the restrictions on training with other people. Taking all possible precautions to prevent infection, Yano Hiroshi resumed his Keiko. The focus was on striking, in particular on Men-strikes. The saying goes: “Kendo begins and ends with Men”, and we asked Master Yano, who continues to devote himself to acquiring his ideal Men-technique, about the points to keep in mind.
Yano Hiroshi, 8th Dan Hanshi
Born in Shizuoka Prefecture in 1941. After graduating from Sagara High School, he went to Kokushikan University and worked there as an assistant. He became a professor at the university in 1986 and worked there until his retirement in 2011. His major achievements include 2nd place in the World Kendo Championship, 3rd place in the Meiji-mura Kendo Tournament, 3rd place in the National Kendo 8th Dan Tournament commemorating the inauguration of the Okinawa Prefectural Budokan, and first place in the National Teachers’ Tournament.
Ohno Soichiro Sensei’s teaching: “Mastering large techniques leads to small techniques”
My teacher, Ohno Soichiro, is from Shimane Prefecture. I entered Matsue Junior High School in 1917 and was trained there in Kendo by Ashida Sensei. As a side note, Ashida Sensei’s son is the actor Ashida Shinsuke. Ashida Sensei studied at the Budo Senmon Gakko, where he was taught by Naito Takaharu Sensei. Naito Sensei was a former member of the Mito Tobu-kan, now famous for hosting the Mito Tournament. When he was working for the Metropolitan Police Department, he received a telegram from the police inviting him to join the Dainippon Butokukai.
When Ohno Sensei was in junior high school, Naito Sensei was invited to Shimane a few days before the prefectural tournament to hold a Keiko session, and Ohno sensei, who was in his first year of junior high school, asked Naito sensei for Keiko. Ohno Sensei was extremely driven and he attacked Naito Sensei and landed many Men-strikes, but Naito sensei kept saying, “We’re not done yet”. Then, when Ohno Sensei was tired and exhausted, he made a big swing from a far distance and landed another Men-strike. Naito Sensei then said, “All right, I yield” and finished Keiko.
Ohno Sensei said that he realized as a child that “the basic principle of techniques is to perform large strikes from a far distance” and that his exchange with Naito Sensei became the foundation of his teaching.
At Kokushikan, there is no lack of Uchikomi and Kirikaeshi. This is the legacy of Ohno Sensei’s teaching policy.
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