kendo lessons of Higashinaga Yukihiro

The effectiveness of a strong Hassei (Higashinaga Yukihiro)



Composition: Tsuchiya Tomosuku
Photography: Nishiguchi Kunihiko
Translation: Pepijn Boomgaard

Every Hassei is unique. While some people give a long Kiai, I now try to give a loud, short shout from my stomach. In Shiai, I get up from Sonkyo and before entering Uchima, I loudly give a short “yah” shout from my stomach. I already mentally start facing my opponent before the first Rei, but when the match starts, either of us can give the first Hassei. In either case, it is important to give a natural Hassei without hesitation. This will raise your spirits and help you concentrate. I have been competing for decades, but when I enter the Shiaijo, I still have many thoughts running through my head. By shouting loudly from the stomach, you can blow away your doubts and reach a positive state of mindlessness. I also believe that Hassei is a measure of how you are feeling. When I reflect on a time when I was not playing very well, I often realize that I was not using my voice. On the other hand, when I feel good, my Hassei follows the line of my Shinai and directly heads towards the opponent.

Higashinaga Yukihiro (Kyoshi 7th Dan)

Born in 1977 in Kagoshima prefecture. Went to Shonan High School and Chuo University. After graduation, he went on to join the Saitama Prefectural Police. His achievements include participating in the All Japan Kendo Championship 9 times (placing 2nd once), placing 2nd at the All Japan Interprefecture Tournament, placing 3rd at the All Japan Police Tournament, and participating in the All Japan Tozai Taiko Tournament and the Kokutai. Currently, he is the coach of the Saitama Prefectural Police Kendo Tokuren.


Kamae and Hassei are inseparable. When you have a firm Kamae, your voice will follow the line of your Shinai. On the other hand, if your Kamae is not right, you will not be able to unite your voice with your Shinai, no matter how hard you shout.

When it comes to Kamae, it is important to concentrate your power in your lower abdomen and relax your upper body. When your confidence is expressed through your Hassei, your posture will also become more natural. This confidence comes from the hard work you have put in during daily practice.

However, even if you face your opponent with a well-developed Kamae and Hassei, you may not be able to easily strike them. If your opponent also has a good Kamae and Hassei, it will be difficult to hit them. Your opponent’s enthusiasm and confidence resonate through their voice. In order not to lose, you should also give your full energy. When your spirits clash and you try to take the center, striking opportunities are created.  

The Hassei necessary to enter Uchima

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