Halifax Kendo Club
The Keiko Manuel
This is an article that was first found on a Korean Kendo/Kumdo website by one of our members. It is a list of guidelines to keep in mind as you train in Kendo/Kumdo. Apparently, the authors were a high level Japanese Kendoist and a high level Korean Kumdoist, both 7th Dan i believe. They got together, talked about what they've learned, did some keiko, and then wrote this. I was going to have the Korean web-page translated, but soon after I stumbled upon this english translation.
1. Beginners should practice hard in a short period of time, keeping in mind to use large movements.
2. The posture and manner should always be good.
3. In kendo, the posture is very important. If the posture is bad, it is not kendo, and it would be useless to practice with a bad posture.
4. When standing in chudan no kamae, the right foot should not be facing outward. People that stand like that are guaranteed to never improve.
5. When holding a shinai, the left thumb should point downward.
6. When in chudan no kamae, the left hand should be located in front of the navel. The right hand is attached to the shinai lightly, and the only time force is put in to it is at the moment one hits, and right after that the right hand relaxes again.
7. There are people who always move to the right after standing from the sonkyo position, but this sort of movement should be avoided, for it makes the person seem weak. One should always move straight forward.
8. When the front foot is moved, the other foot should always follow it immediately. If the hind foot is moved backwards, the front foot should always move with it.
9. It is important to keep a good distance between yourself and the opponent.
10. One should always try to hit from as far away as possible.
11. Beginners should concentrate on learning men and kote. Do and tsuki will come naturally.
12. Rather than hitting and then winning, it is better to attack, then win, and then hit.
13. Hit men by moving the right foot forward. When doing this, one must keep in mind to not let the right foot touch the ground.
14. It is not a good idea to raise the right foot high in the air when hitting. One should use suri-ashi.
15. When hitting, first move the opponent's ken-saki away from yourself, then hit.
16. The best time to hit is when the opponent is attacking, or when he/she is retreating.
17. Once one has improved up to a point, one should concentrate on practicing the movement of feet, i.e. one foot follows the other.
18. If the opponent seems unguarded at any moment, one should lower the ken-saki, attack the opponent's right hand (startling the opponent), and then attack.
19. One should be careful when lowering the ken-saki, to not lower one's body with it. Instead, one should try to move forward even if it is only half of a step, and if the opponent moves back, attack and hit men.
20. Kirikaeshi is made to take away the bad strengths built up in your shoulders. When doing it, relax, bring up both arms above your head (enough to be able to see the opponent between the arms), then hit as though trying to cut the opponent. Make sure to hit at an angle. It is not good to bring back the shinai until it touches the back. When receiving, let the opponent hit and receive gently. Never receive by hitting back, or by throwing the opponent's strengths back. Also, always make the opponent move forward. Continue until the opponent seems tired, then let him/her hit the final men. This final lmen should be hit from a distance that is far enough and close enough to allow only a single step. Allow him/her to take a breath if needed before hitting, but remember that this last men is the important ippon that will finalize a shiai.
21. Practice by thinking that if you miss you will be hit or tsukied.
22. When practicing, be careful of the maai, and always have kiai. If you think that there is an opportunity, always hit, even if it turns out to be not enough for a point. This is very important during practices.
23. Attack when there's the slightest change in the opponent.
24. It is too late to hit after you have thought of hitting. You must have already hit when you think of hitting.
25. When hitting, press the right hand forward, and hit with your feet, stomach, and arms in unison.
26. When doing tai-atari, collide by pressing the opponent's arms up.
27. Always think ahead, and no matter how tired you are, stand proudly, so that the opponent will not be able to hit to get a point.
28. When the opponent attacks, do not break your kamae, and instead, move forward so that your ken-saki will be in their way. That way, you will not feel that you have lost.
29. After hitting men, do not raise your arms, and instead concentrate on your zan-shin.
30. When the opponent attacks, do not just move the opponent's shinai out of the way. Instead, do a suri-age and hit.
31. After you hit a hiki-men, do not raise your arms right away.
32. When you hit kote, do not ben your body to the left. Always hit standing straight.
33. Do not block or hit sideways.
34. A kote hit moving back without power will not be counted as ippon.
35. When the opponent does a tsuki, do not be afraid and do not move back.
36. Even after hitting do (on the right), always show zan-shin, and watch the opponent.
37. Press the opponent's ken-saki, and if there is no reaction, hit right away. If they press back, hit from the other side.
38. When the opponent attacks men, wait until he/she almost touches you, and when their body is stretched out, hit do. Ouji-kote should be done in the same manner.
39. To hit men from a distance where the ken-saki touch each other, press lightly on the opponent's ken-saki and remove it from your centre. Then hit without raising your shinai too high.
40. It is important to always keep your ken-saki pointing to the opponent's centre.
41. When attacking, rotate your own shinai around the opponent's and hit from the left side. When the opponent tries to hit your kote, stretch your arms forward. The kote will not become a point.
42. When doing jodan no kamae, do not hold too tightly until the moment you hit.
44. When the opponent comes hitting with jodan no kamae, do not raise the arms, and instead protect the right kote with your shinai. Then move forward with no fear.
45. When doing jodan no kamae, you will lose if you move back.
46. If both sides are doing jodan no kamae, and the opponent comes to hit your kote, do not pull your arms back, but instead move with your feet and then immediately hit back.
47. No matter how tired you are, do not breathe through your mouth, for this will let all of your strengths flow away. Always close your mouth tightly and breathe through your nose.
48. When practicing, remember that you and your opponent are both trying to practice. Do not be selfish.
49. There are two types of seeing. One that you see with your eyes, and the other to see with your heart (spirit). To see with your eyes is only a small part of seeing, and there are often errors in what you see. Seeing with your heart is something very important, and you will often see things that are not always visible. This is true not only in kendo, but in life in general. Therefore, if you learn to see with both your eyes and heart, surely it will become very precious to you.
50. Shinai first used should be long. Then slowly you should make them shorter and shorter. Tesshyu Yamaoka sensei first used a shinai that was of size 4-5, then made it shorter and shorter until he needed a shinai no longer. The End.
51. Stand... Attack... Endure... Be On Guard... Judgement... Decision... Concentrate... Hit... Zan-Shin