Kendo lessons of Kanzaki Hiroshi

The effectiveness of a strong Hassei (Kanzaki Hiroshi)



Translation: Pepijn Boomgaard

Kanzaki Hiroshi (Kyoshi 8th Dan)

Born in Miyazaki prefecture in 1960. Went to Nobeoka High School, the University of Tsukuba, and the University of Tsukuba Graduate School. After graduation he went on to teach at Osaka University of Health and Sport Sciences. Participated in All Japan Championships, won the National Teachers Team Championship, competed in the All Japan Prefectural Championship, took 3rd place at the All Japan 7th Dan Championship, competed in the All Japan Tozai Taiko Tournament and participated in All Japan Invitational 8th Dan Championship. Currently a professor at Osaka University of Health and Sport Sciences and general director of the Kendo Club.

Hassei exists in modern Kendo for the following reasons:

  1. To show one’s spirit to the opponent.
  2. To enrich oneself (psychologically).
  3. To enable rational movement (physiologically).

Although it might seem somewhat esoteric when expressed in this way, it has long been taught in Kendo that we need to shout loudly, and through personal experience it can be understood that the above effects can be achieved by shouting loudly. 

I believe that Hassei can enhance the strength of the trunk. It is said that the human body is 65% upper body and 35% lower body. The trunk is what connects these parts. A well-developed Hassei helps strengthen the trunk, which in turns makes the Kamae more stable, improves Seme and adds vigor to the strike. However, Hassei is also a technique which should be developed through practice. Kendo practice includes Suburi, Kirikaeshi, and Uchikomi. All of these should be done carefully, not just out of habit. 

During a fight, there are moments when it is acceptable to shout and moments when it is not. If you close the distance, it is important to hold your breath. I would like to talk about this too.


First, exhale through a loud, strong, and long Hassei. This has the effect of enriching your energy and tightening your spirit. It helps you relax your shoulders and attain a Kamae of Jougyokajitsu*, the state of concentrating strength in your lower body while relaxing your upper body.

It is often said that Hassei should come from the stomach. Through a loud, sharp, and relentless Hassei, you can enrich your spirit. This cannot be achieved through an incomplete Hassei.

Hassei from Toma
Breathing in provides your opponent with an opportunity

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