kendo lessons of Endo Masaaki

Improving Kote-techniques (Endo Masaaki)


As the saying goes, “Kote is the front door, and Men is the back room”, mastering Kote-techniques gives you a wider avenue of attack. Learn how to disrupt your opponent by attacking from multiple angles. This article describes how to utilize Kote-techniques of top tier Kenshi and how to develop them into Men-techniques.

Photo: Nishiguchi Kunihiko and Sasai Takamasa 
Translation: Jouke van der Woude

“The more competent one becomes, the more Kendo becomes a battle of endurance. If you can be patient, you will have opportunities to perform Kote-techniques” emphasizes Endo. Kendo Tachiai is about offense and defense, and opportunities for striking are created by disrupting the opponent’s mindset by taking the initiative.

Endo Masaaki, 8th Dan Hanshi

Endo Masaaki was born in Fukushima Prefecture in 1950. After graduating from Aizu High School, he joined the Metropolitan Police Department. He has won the World Kendo Championships team division twice, the All Japan Police Team Kendo Championships five times and the All Japan Police Individual Kendo Championships twice, the All Japan Interprefecture Kendo Championship, the National Sports Festival, the All Japan 8th Dan Kendo Championship, and the Prince Tomohito 8th Dan Championship. He has participated in the All Japan Kendo Championships four times. He is currently an honorary Shihan of the Metropolitan Police Department, and an advisor to Bear Hug Co. He is also a Kendo instructor at Saitama Medical University and Shihan of Seibukai.

The outbreak of COVID-19 continues unabatedly (march 2021), and a state of emergency has once again been declared in Tokyo and eight prefectures in Japan. I am a Kendo instructor at Seibukai, and the Dojo has been in a state of disruption since 2020. At the end of that year we started being able to practice, albeit gradually. However, the emergency declaration was issued again under these circumstances, and our Keiko environment became uncertain again.

However, the All Japan Kendo Federation (AJKF) announced guidelines for conducting Dan examinations and tournaments, and we resumed our activities while taking utmost care to prevent infection. Dan examinations are scheduled to be held in the spring. I understand that there may be restrictions on the amount of time you have to practice, but I hope that you will make an effort to practice Kendo in the environment you are given.

Kote is reflexive
Countered by Men-strike with abandon

Now, let’s look at the theme of this issue, Kote-techniques. Kote is the closest striking target among Men, Kote, Do, and Tsuki, so it is often perceived as an easy target. Because of its close proximity, it is tempting to throw out an easy Kote-technique when you are ahead in Ippon or in a hurry to strike. However, rather than landing your technique successfully in such scenarios, you will often give the opponent an opportunity to strike.

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