Kendo Kata tuesday 4th of October

Last week I went to Kata practice in the dojo in Omigawa dojo, i really must find out the propper name of it........

ok, so I havent dont Kata alot since Nidan, with looking after beginners and the changing around of halls I dont think too many of us in DKK got time for it this year! I did make an effort to get teh movements of the 3 Kodachi Kata into my head before i left though.

Right, well first off, I dont know enough Japanese. Kobayashi Sensei was taking me and another younger guy (going for sandan in November second year HS student) through the first 5 kata. He let us run through them once, of which I was grateful.

I thought to my self "I know the movements of the Kata well enough, while not 100%, i know when to stick my left leg in and when to shake it about,  more or less."


basicly after the first run through, Kobayashi sensei took my whole kata apart. It was very frustrating for both of us. Kobayashi Sensei, speaks a little English, but was not speaking it that night. I understand kendo, to an extent, and kata to, so I could determine, "what" he was talking about, even though I didnt know what he was eally saying. I mean, I got the general idea, but perhaps the deeper meaning was lost on me!

I think, perhaps, it would have been better to let me run through them a few times getting used to the footwork and movements again, rather than taking every movement apart. While I 100% appriciate Kobayashi Senseis effort and patience, I think it would have been easier for both of us to keep the explanations down to a minimum for the first while. what would i know though!! damn nidans!

Lets start from the beginning. these are just the things he pointed out to me, not going to be the same for everyone. Alot of the things said, i already knew, but i made a ton of mistakes so it was good to have everything pointed out! there were times when he would ask me a question and I simply couldnt understand, i knew the answer in english, but either i couldnt explain, or i just didnt understand the initial question. Fair play to him for sticking with it for an hour and a half!

Kata 1


  • The kensen should point more upwards in Migi jodan. 
  • the nuki men should be more in the timing of one, Ichibyoshi? foot work should be better
  • after cutting teh nuki men, the kensen should lower to the eyes, the left had should be used to bring the bokken to hidari jodan.


  • Again kensen should be a little higher
  • The first cut is aimed at the tsuka of the opponent. After you cut, remain eye contact (metsuke) with the opponent, dont look down, also dont lower you head too far. . 
Kata 2
  • cut should be in timing of one. Left foot was sticking all night as i tried to move. but it was the fact that i made the nuki kote into two movements that was incorrect. Step back and to the side with the left foot, lower the kensen as the right foot follows, when the right foot gets to its usual place, dont stop it, but keep it moving, return the kote cut and bring up the left foot.
  • ill have to draw that to explain it, its like the right foot doesnt stop, the left foot goes back, and the right foot draws a V as you draw it towards the left and slide it forwards again. 
  • no really big comments, just make the cut a bit lower. 
Kata 3

for both he said that the initial distance should be closer. a  little more than tip to tip.

  • so, the left hand does not move for the checking of the tsuki. it stays in the centre. the right hand and the shinogi are used to deflect the tsuki. 
  • as you step back with the left foot, the bokken stays slightly forwards, you draw it back with the right foot and immediately should "flow" forwards with the first of shidachis two tsuki seme attacks.
  • again the right foot doesnt stop, its all one movement. 
  • the return tsuki is to the chest.
  • the first tsuki is to the solar plexus. Or the Mizuochi みずおち 
  • the deflections of shidachis tsuki attacks should leave you in a good position. If shidachi steps forwards, your kensen should touch him while his is safely deflected
Kata 4 - lots in this one
  • Waki kamae. the hands should be lower than i had them, "almost" fully extended. 
  • the hasuji should face out, not down
  • the right hand should also grip the tsuka firmly.
  • same applies for both, bring the bokken into propper jodan for the ai men. the distance should be no more than half way down the two bokken. 
  • for the kaeshi/block, again the same idea, ichibyoshi, one movement. the bokken should move to your side up through jodan and cut the head in one movement
  • tsuba more inline with the mouth. 
  • stepback if needed after the ai men
  • tsuki is too the opponents right chest. between the ribs
  • maintain eye contact/metsuke
Kata 5
  • suriage men is one movement, mine was pretty good he said (yeah!! watch out Jodan players!)
  • zanshin was also good. 
  • the men cut is to the chin. of the face, not the japanese meaning of chin. which is willy. 
  • lower the kensen to below the knee after the suriage 
Right, well, we also did kata 6 and 7 but he didnt really say much about them as we only got time to do them once. 

One of the big things Kobayashi kept pointing out was metsuke, which is the way you look at your opponent. Enzan no Metsuke, looking at a far mountain. For those who dont know, in kendo kata, and kendo its self, you should not make direct eye contact with your opponent. you should avoid looking at specific targets and rather try to see everything at once.  
im not qualified to explain it really, but if you have ever looked at your hand and been able to "see through it" this is the same idea. You look at the whole opponent rather that just the eyes. 

Having said that, I do remember doing keiko with Paquet sensei last year, and nearly shitting myself when we made eye contact. Unbelievably scary. 

right, well i hope that made sense. Im struggling with information processing at teh moment as i am studying japanese to beat the band, working like a sexy work machine and kendoing like a deamon too. Pretty tired over all, but i love it really.