Kendo Basics: Kendo Beginners Guide

Kendo basics are the most important part of kendo. I know many of you want to put kendo gear (bogu) on and start to practicing kendo.

Please take a moment.

If you don't take time to learn the kendo basics thoroughly now, you will find kendo quite unattractive in the future.

It is because you will not be able to learn any new techniques without the thoroughly learned basics.

Basic Training Outline

I would like to introduce a training outline for beginners.

This outline was used by the Late Juichi Tsurumaru sensei (9th dan) when I was a child.

Use this as an example for your dojo if you are lost. If you need a big picture of how a typical kendo training session goes, you can refer to Normal Training Procedure.

Kendo Exam and Training Secrets

The Training Outline for the Beginners

Two Phases

- Tandoku Dosa (Training along): 3 days/week x 4 months (About 48 days)

- Sohtai Dosa (Pair Training): 3 days/week x 2 months (about 24 days)
* Gradually putting on armour (bogu).

So so-called beginners training goes for 6 months. These phases are the most important in kendo.

If we, adults, mess up the basics at this phase, it is hard for us to get back to the right track.

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Tandoku Dosa (Training Along)

Fist of all, the beginners all learn basic movements without having a partner. This includes:
  1. Reigi-Saho: etiquette/manners

  2. Shizentai: Shizentai is a posture we all have to learn at the beginning.

  3. Taito: to wear your sword

  4. Chudan: how to take chudan, how to put your sword back

  5. Footwork: suri ashi, okuri ashi, hiraki ashi, ayumi ashi, tsugi ashi

  6. Suburi: joge buri, naname (sayu) joge buri

  7. Men Uchi: san-kyodo, ni-kyodo, ikkyodo

  8. Kote Uchi: san-kyodo, ni-kyodo, ikkyodo

  9. Do Uchi: san-kyodo, ni-kyodo, ikkyodo (only the right do strike)

  10. Ni Dan Uchi: zenshin kotai shomen uchi, niho zenshin niho kotai shomen uchi, kote-and-men, kote-and-do

  11. Sayu Men Uchi

  12. Fumikomi: Learning Fumikomi for the First Time

  13. Chohyaku Shomen Uchi (a.k.a. Haya Suburi)

This tandoku dosa was practiced 3 days/week x 4 months (About 48 days). The longer the better.

Sohtai Dosa (Pair Training)

Once the beginners learned the tandoku dosa, they learn pair training.

  1. Changing Directions

  2. Shomen Uchi

  3. Kote Uchi

  4. Do Uchi

  5. Ni Dan Uchi: kote-and-men, kote-and-do, men-taiatari, men-taiatari-men, men-taiatari-kote, men-taiatari-do

  6. Uchikomi Kirikaeshi

  7. Uchikomi Geiko

  8. Kakari Geiko

I think 6 months of the basic training is good. In old days, apparently it was one year or more to learn the basics.

Let's make the basics interesting, so that the beginners are happy to learn the basics so they will improve more quickly in the future.

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