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Kendo, The Way of The Sword – Kendo Kata

Date Published: Last Update:2015/05/25 Traditional Culture , ,

Kendo kata are fixed patterns that teach kendoka the basic elements of swordsmanship. The kata include fundamental techniques of attacking and counter-attacking, and have useful practical application in general kendo.

Kendo Kata

Kata were originally used to preserve the techniques and history of kenjutsu for future generations. Nihon Kendo Kata were standardized in 1912 by combining the kata of many kenjutsu schools into one set. Modern usage of kata is as a teaching tool to learn strike techniques, attack intervals, body movement, sincerity and kigurai (pride).

All are performed by two people: the uchidachi (打太刀), the teacher, and shidachi (仕太刀), the student. The uchidachi makes the first move or attack in each kata. As this is a teaching role, the uchidachi is always the losing side, thus allowing the shidachi to learn and to gain confidence.

In kata, the teacher role always moves first. Both the student and teacher use bokken (a Japanese wooden sword used for training), except in some demonstrations which use blunted katana. The first seven kata use tachi, a long bokken, for both student and teacher. The last three kata use tachi for the teacher and kodachi, a shorter bokken, for student. In general, mastery of the first three kata are required for advancement to 1-Kyu and more for Dan grades.

Nihon Kendō Kata

There are ten Nihon Kendō Kata (日本剣道形). These are generally practised with wooden swords (木刀 bokutō or bokken). Occasionally, real swords or swords with a blunt edge, called kata-yō (形用?) or ha-biki (刃引), may be used for display of kata.

Kata 1: Ippon-me

Kata 2: Nihon-me

Kata 3: Sanbon-me

Kata 4: Yonhon-me

Kata 5: Gohon-me

Kata 6: Roppon-me

Kata 7: Nanahon-me

Kata 8: Ippon-me

Kata 9: Nihon-me

Kata 10: Sanbon-me

For detailed written instructions, refer to this: Blackbelt Wiki – Kendo Kata

There has been criticism of the Nihon Kendo Kata by kendoka due to continued usage of outdated forms. For example, kodachi are no longer used except when wielding two swords. This lead to the development of Bokuto Ni Yoru Kendo Kihon-waza Keiko-ho.

Bokuto Ni Yoru Kendo Kihon-waza Keiko-ho

Bokuto Ni Yoru Kendo Kihon-waza Keiko-ho is a new form of bokken training that is directly translatable to bogu Kendo. Bokuto Ni Yoru Kendo Kihon-waza Keiko-ho also facilitates learning the Nihon Kendo Kata, and because of this was adopted by the All Japan Kendo Federation for use in primary and secondary school. While Nihon Kendo Kata uses all five kamae, Bokuto Ni Yoru Kendo Kihon-waza Keiko-ho uses only Chūdan-no-kamae, the most common stance. Instead of student and teacher roles, there are the equal roles of Motodachi and Kakarite. The Motodachi receives the waza of the Kakarite.

Name and Technique Strikes Used
Kihon 1: Ippon-uchi no waza Men, Kote, , Tsuki
Kihon 2: Ni/Sandan no waza Kote, Men
Kihon 3: Harai waza Harai Men
Kihon 4: Hiki waza Tsubazeriai kara no Hiki Doh
Kihon 5: Nuki waza Men, Nuki Doh
Kihon 6: Suriage waza Kote, Suriage Men
Kihon 7: Debana waza Debana kote
Kihon 8: Kaeshi waza Men, Kaeshi Migi-Doh
Kihon 9: Uchiotoshi waza Doh uchiotoshi Men

References:

1. Kendo. Wikipedia.

2. Kendo Kata. Blackbelt Wiki.

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