Kendo Coaching Tips and Drills - George Mcall

George McCall owner of the highly popular Kendo and Japanese sword art related site,, has just released his new book titled, Kendo Coaching Tips and Drills. I've been reading through a digital copy and I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on the paper version.

The book is essentially a guide for mid level Kendo players who may be teaching at their dojo or club. The book includes detailed descriptions of fundamental Kendo exercises, techniques and ideas, with which the new teacher can build a keiko plan, furthermore, the sheer amount of techniques and technical breakdown in this book will also be of huge benefit to beginning kendoka up to 3rd dan, and perhaps even beyond.

As you can see from the table of contents below, the book breaks Kendo down into its fundamentals, Ashi Sabaki, Kamae, Suburi and Uchikomi giving the reader a simply awesome amount of information, and ideas for exercises to improve on each area.

Table of contents: (taken from

  1. Intro : who this book is for and how to use it
  2. Acquiring correct body movement : basic movement exercises
  3. Kamae : the prerequisite of beautiful kendo is a beautiful kamae
  4. Wrist dills : with flexibility comes technique variation and sharpness
  5. Cutting : developing a sense of cutting things
  6. Suburi : shinai and body in unison
  7. The most important person during practise : motodachi
  8. Basic movement : ken tai no ichi
  9. More Advanced basics : the next step
  10. Drills : acquiring basics through repetition
  11. Ippon : the construction of a correct strike
  12. Shiai-geiko : shinpan development and reinforcing ippon
  13. Keiko plan making : whats your aim?
  14. Wrapping up : In conclusion
  15. Appendices

George has really produced a fine product here and there really is a level of detail in this book that I have not seen in any other kendo instruction manual yet.

My favorite feature of the book are the pictures, I love Kendo photography and this book is jammed from cover to cover with quality photos to help illustrate the instructions and give you an image of what you should be working towards.

Another favorite of mine is the section on Motodachi, I think this is a great inclusion, as a good motodachi really makes for better practice. This chapter is an absolute MUST read for Kendo players around my level, (3rd dan) if you follow this chapters advice, not only will you help your aite, but by actively engaging (make the situation real, watch, react, make seme, kiai etc) your opponent during kihon and waza practice, your Kendo will also improve.

So to conclude, I highly recommend this book for kendoka who are either currently teaching, or will be teaching in the near future, the books clear content will help you to build your students kendo up from the very basics to being able to perform waza and take ippon with confidence, and with the mind boggling amount of drills in this book you can be sure your students will never be bored!

I would also recommend this book to people who are not going to be teaching in their dojo, I definitely benefited from reading the book, each chapter contains so much information that there will be something for everyone to learn and apply to their own practice, I found so many little bits I have learned and forgotten as well as alot of new ideas for how to perform waza.


For more information on the book please check out
For articles relating to Kendo and other Japanese sword arts, as well as fantastic photography, check out

Some example photos:

Opening image for chapter on Kamae (beautiful) 
Wrist exercise.
Harai (otoshi) men.

All Images Copyright George McCall / © 2008 - 2012