The story that brought us Kendo is an intriguing story worth of a movie or two.
The Samurai and swordsmen of Japan found themselves in a strange place of obsolescence during the peaceful era of the Edo Period (1603 – 1868), which led the Samurai at the time to develop many different martial arts schools so that they can practice their fighting styles, and keep their skills sharp.
Fast forward to 1876, the government banned the use of swords and initiated sword hunts to collect any swords in the hands of anyone apart from the police force. Meanwhile, in an attempt to standardize the sword styles used by policemen, swordsmen were recruited to create a style of training which eventually led to the creation of Kendo.
Today, over 83 countries have Kendo practitioners (according to the All Japan Kendo Federation) and Kendo has been popularized by many mediums in pop-culture. From music videos by Alex Clare to the One Piece Cup Noodle advertisement, Kendo managed to inspire and invade many different art forms.
We bring up many of those (good and bad) in our Kendo Blog, so make sure you subscribe to our blog to read some of those fun articles!
The following is a glossary of frequently used Japanese words in Kendo and how to pronounce them, don't worry about memorizing everything at one go...everything will come naturally during practice and repetition.
Why should you learn Japanese terms?
Almost every Dojo will use these terms, so when you get to train in other Dojos or compete outside your Dojo, you will have to keep up with everyone...and you never want to face a high dan Sensei without knowing the basics!
Basic Commands From Sensei
Kamae-te (Kami - Tay)
Assume the chudan-kamae stance
From chudan-kamae to sonkyo and returning
shinai to left hand
Basic Dojo Courtesies
Please teach me / Please practice with me
Arigato gozaimashita (Ari-Gato Go-Zai-Mas)
Numbers Used in Kendo
Beginning and End of Keiko/Training
Sit down (in seiza)
Shisei o tadashite (Shay-See O Ta-Da:-Sheet)
Correct your posture ie. straighten your back
Compose one’s posture, breath, mind and spirit
Shomen-ni-rei (Show-Men Knee-Ray)
Bow to the front of the dojo
Otagai-ni-rei (O-Ta-Guy Knee-Ray)
Bow (to each other)
Men-tsuke (Men Tsoo-Kay)
Put on Men
Men-o-tore (Men- O Toe-Ray)
Take off Men
The person who initiates the move in order to teach the student the principles of the technique
The person in the position of learning the techniques