“I want to do correct and beautiful Kendo, and this requires mastering the fundamentals”, says Honna Katsuhiko. In order to learn Kendo correctly and perform a strike to the opponent’s soul, it is necessary to have a heightened awareness and high quality Keiko on a regular basis.
The elements of quantity and quality of Keiko result in improvement.
In this interview, we asked Honna about his attitude towards Kendo.
Translation: Jouke van der Woude
Honna Kazuhiko, 8th Dan, Kyoshi
Born in Hitachi City, Ibaraki Prefecture in 1963. After graduating from Tsuchiura Nihon University High School and Nihon University, he joined Hitachi, Ltd. and won the National Athletic Meet and the All Japan Business Senior Tournament in the 6th and 7th Dan Division, 3rd place at the All Japan Interprefecture Kendo Championship, and the All Japan East-West Tournament. Currently, he is a vice principal at Hitachi, Ltd’s Technical College, Global Human Resources Development Department.
When considering the most important element in improving your Kendo, the first thing you need to do is to get the basics right. If you have not mastered the basics, you will not be able to improve no matter the amount of Keiko you do. If you keep doing Keiko on Men-strikes without fixing a disrupted posture, you will never be able to strike an Ippon that everyone acknowledges.
There is a certain metaphor for improvement in Kendo.
Suppose that children are trying to make a mountain in a sandbox. Even if they try their best to pile up the smooth sand, it will not go up very high. However, if water is poured on it, the sand hardens. If you repeat the process of pouring sand and then sprinkling water on it to make it harden, it will be easier to build a high mountain. The same can be said for Kendo.
Mt. Fuji is tall and beautiful because it was formed from the base of the mountain after several eruptions. Kendo is practiced in much the same way for both children and adults. However, even in a single swing, there is a difference in awareness between a beginner and an expert. Your Kendo does not get better by just waving a Shinai around. You need to keep your awareness high and try to improve the quality of your Kendo.
I believe that quantity and quality of Keiko are elements for improvement.
I am currently the vice principal of the Hitachi Technical College, which is run by Hitachi. All students at the school are required to study Kendo in class, and we also have a Kendo club. Some of the club members have bad habits, such as pointing their toes outward, and although I occasionally remind them, they don’t seem to be able to fix it.
When you do Keiko with the awareness that you want to correct your bad habits, it is hard to get through. However, if you don’t maintain that awareness, it will not be absorbed into your body. That is why if you keep your awareness up and continue to do Keiko, you will feel a sense of improvement.
I feel that it is really difficult to change your awareness. At our school, all students live in a dormitory. I sometimes reprimand students for their attitude towards life. From my experience, students who have messy rooms also seem to have messy Kendo. They say that Kendo is a way of life, and if students are unable to get their daily life in order, it manifests in their Kendo.
However, in order to change such habits and the way of doing Keiko, you must not only do what you are told but also think about how you can fix it.
In other words, you must develop the habit of continuing to do Keiko with a clear purpose.
I, too, engage in Keiko while placing value on this.
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