Kendo lessons of Hirao Yashushi

Having a concrete image improves the quality of solo training (Hirao Yasushi)


During the Covid-19 pandemic, your approach to training is what affects the quality of your solo practice. “It is important to have a concrete image of your goals and ideal Kendo”, says Hirao Yasushi. We asked him for some tips on practicing by yourself.

Photography: Sasai Takamasa
Translation: Pepijn Boomgaard

Hirao Yasushi (Kyoshi 8th Dan)

Born in 1967 in Haboro, Hokkaido. He went to PL Gakuen High School and Toyo University. After graduation, he joined the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department. His achievements include participating in the All Japan Championship, winning the World Championship team tournament 3 times, winning the All Japan Police Championship team tournament and placing 2nd in the individual tournament, winning the Prince Tomohito Cup 8th Dan Invitational Championship, and placing 3rd in the All Japan Invitational 8th Dan Tournament. He was the coach for Team Japan at the World Championships. Currently, he is the deputy chief Kendo instructor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department.

Focus on your goals and visualize them

When I practice by myself, I mainly focus on Suburi. I don’t see Suburi as simply a warm-up exercise. It is a splendid exercise, and allows you to focus on the basics when you are unable to practice with others. 

Particularly when practice was restricted, it was a good opportunity to reevaluate my Kendo. Even though we aim to do correct Kendo, we all have our own unintentional habits. By looking in the mirror, I was able to notice them. Although I was not able to practice with other people, it was a very beneficial time for me. I was able to make corrections that will surely be useful in the future as well.

I think that it is necessary to do everything with a goal in mind. If you are preparing for a match or an examination, I think it will be more effective to practice while imagining the day you are preparing for. You could also imagine your ideal, for example the kind of Men that you want to perform. If you can make that image clearer and more vivid, that’s even better.

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