Kendo lessons of Kamei Toru

Facing examinations (Kamei Toru), Part 4



Trends and strategies are essential to pass any examination. This is also required for Kendo Dan examinations, and Kamei Toru Hanshi is offering a course for common Kendo practitioners.

Kamei Toru, 8th Dan Hanshi

Born in Kumamoto Prefecture in 1954. After graduating from Kyushu Gakuin High School and Meiji University, he joined the Kumamoto Prefectural Police. His major achievements include: 2nd place in the All Japan Kendo Championship, participation in the World Kendo Championship, participation in the All Japan Prefectural Kendo Championship, participation in the All Japan East West Tournament, 1st place in the first division of the National Police Tournament, 1st place in the National Athletic Meet, 2nd and 3rd place in the All Japan invitational 8th Dan Championship, 2nd and 3rd place in the All Japan Invitational 7th Dan Kendo Championship in honor of Marume Nagayoshi and 3 titles in the Iwate Prefecture 7th Dan Governor’s Cup. He is a standing director in charge of strengthening programs by the All Japan Kendo Federation.

Small efforts for fulfilling Keiko 

It is well known that at the Dan examinations, if you can demonstrate that you are worthy of a higher grade than your opponent, you will get a good evaluation. So, what does that exactly require? I believe that overwhelming striking power is an important point.

Especially in the examination for 6th Dan and above, you must be able to strike at the right moment. The article of the rules states that “A valid strike is made with full spirit and proper posture, with the striking part of the Shinai striking the target area with the correct blade angle and Zanshin”. In order to fulfill this requirement at all times, it is important to do plenty of Keiko. Furthermore, to acquire overwhelming striking power, it is important to stack up the small efforts. Thinking that practicing at the dojo is not the only way to practice Kendo, you should continue to practice Suburi and physical training, which will increase your motivation for Kendo, and you will feel less unease for not practicing enough. For example, even if you have Keiko at the dojo three times a week, if you practice Suburi on the days you can’t go, you will be practicing something every day.

Rather than bemoaning what you can’t do, think about what you can do, and if you can put it into practice, each Keiko session will be more fulfilling. Continuing to practice striking and Kirikaeshi will improve your striking power, but the prerequisite for this is basic physical strength. As you age, it is natural for your basic physical strength to decline, but if you are able to strengthen your base physical strength in addition to pragmatic Shinai manipulation through Suburi and physical training, your strikes and cuts will become sharper.

Ideally, you should be able to do Suburi every day. It doesn’t matter if you only do a few swings, but I recommend trying to produce a whooshing sound with every swing. If you set unreasonable goals it won’t last, so I think it is important to come up with something you can do every day and enjoy doing it.

When people think of physical training, they tend to associate it with running or dashing, but walking is also a great form of training. I am not a training expert, but I have heard that walking 8000 steps every day, fast-paced, is effective.

Think carefully about the measures you can take to make your Keiko more fulfilling.

Reaffirm your physical and mental Kamae

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