Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Sunday, September 23, 2018

The Path to 8th Dan

Over at Kenshi 24/7, there is a translation of an essay by a high level kendoka about how he prepared for his 8th Dan exam. It should provide good food for thought for all of us. An excerpt is below. The full post may be read here.

Before we get to the essay, below is a documentary on the 8th Dan exam in Kendo.

My route to hachidan 八段への道筋

The following is a loose translation of a short essay from a book entitled “Kendo: the route to promotion.” There are two books in the same series, each containing about 60 short essays by people who have passed hachidan. In the essays the sensei discuss their mindset and approach to the exam.
Of course, the vast majority of people who pass hachidan do kendo as part of their job (i.e. policemen or teachers) so their experience might not seem immediately relevant to your average kendoka. However, I do think there are some things to be learned from other peoples journey, whether some circumstances are different or not.
From the 120 or so essays over the two books, I picked a sensei who I personally know and have studied under for a while.
Yano Nobuhiro sensei
Short bio: Yano sensei was born in Miyazaki prefecture in 1962. After graduating from kendo-powerhouse Takachiho high school he started working at Osaka police department. He passed hachidan in 2008 and is currently a professional police kendo instructor in Osaka.

Use video to improve your technique
From 2001 until 2006 I taught kendo at the Osaka police academy. These five years were a chance for me to re-examine my kendo. In fact, it was from this time that my kendo life completely changed. Between teaching kendo classes to police recruits, I was luckily able to do lots of kihon and jigeiko with the (more senior) sensei that were working there. More importantly, for me, was the chance to do lots of kakarigeiko and to learn under good instructors.
During this time I realised that my kendo had still some way to go, so in order to tackle this I started to video myself.
For example, during breaks when I was working night duty (even police kendo pros sometimes have to do other work), I’d tape markers on the wall then video my kamae, posture, basic cutting shapes, etc, and then check my form with the markers.
I also recorded kihon and jigeiko sessions and studied things like: my posture when I was struck, what type of seme I used when I struck successfully, my posture when I struck, my posture after I struck, etc.
At this time it wasn’t that I was aiming for hachidan per se, rather I worked hard to become a good model for the police recruits at the academy.
After doing this day-in-and-day-out, I started to feel my kendo slowly change.


tammy said...

Thank you your good idea posting

Dirk Bruere said...

In a large organization anything beyond 6th Dan is politics

Rick Matz said...

If there is more than one person in a room, politics is at play.

Politics is one of the reasons I dislike large organizations, but politics is at play even in a "one teacher = one school" type situation.

It's human nature.

"One's life only reaches 100 years, the body begins to deteriorate when you pass 40.

How good is it to fight for both fame and money if the body can not take it?

Just enrich your knowledge by reading and improve your skill by diligently practicing this art.

Be an orchid in an empty valley, its fragrance will attract admirers."
- Professor Cheng Man Ching