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Am I using these kendo terms right?

by Katarina
(Serbia)

Am I using these kendo terms right?


I am puzzled by the common use of some words in my country. For example "MENTSUKE" is used here at the beginning of shiai as well as at the beginning of the training when it is expected to put your men on. I thought that this word is used only with the meaning "put your men on".

I think that "KITSUKE" or "KI O TSUKE" should be used if you want to seek for attention. Is it right?

Also sometimes I hear "MENTSUKE" at the end of training, when all should put their men off. I believe it would be more appropriate to say "MEN O TORE" "MENTORE".

Also I wonder if you say "KOTAI" or "KOOTAI" for shifting. "KOTAI" is solid as far as I know. Should we say "KOOTAI"?

Answer: Kendo terminology or Japanese is very hard to remember. So let me go through each one.

Mentsuke or Men wo (or “o”) tsuke: = “Put men (kendo mask) on”.

Hajime: = “Start” or “Begin”.

Kitsuke: It means something else depending on kanji we use for it. For example, kitsuke is a noun form of “to put a kimono on (dressing)”. There are some more; to encourage, to cheer up, or to restore someone to consciousness. We use them differently depending on situations.

Ki wo (or “o”) tsuke: = Attention. I am not too sure how people react to the command “attention” in other countries. In Japan, when we hear the command “Ki wo Tsuke”, we straighten our posture and pay attention.

Men wo (or “o”) tore or Mentore: = “Take men (kendo mask) off”.

Kotai or Kootai: To shift or to change or to rotate. We use this when we change our partner or take a turn between partners. It is written koutai in Japanese alphabet. But we pronounce kohtai with a long “o” sound. So kootai is close.

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