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Welcome to Kendo Online Workshop

In kendo online workshop, we are looking at some points many people are doing wrong or not explained in detail.

Some of them are very small things but very important aspects of kendo such as which knee you should put down first when you sit in seiza.

These are not something we can ignore and keep learning kendo without knowing.

In this kendo online workshop, I try to show you these details by articles, videos and/or pictures.

Hope you learn something out of this.

Hiro Imafuji

www.Kendo-Guide.Com

Let's Work it Out Together!

Do you have any specific questions about kendo movements? For example, your instructor and senpai have kept telling you to fix a particular problem but you don’t know what they are saying or how to fix? This is the right place to ask such questions!

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see problems from other visitors to this page...

About Gedan no Kamae in Kendo 
I'd like to ask about the Gedan no Kamae in modern Kendo. What do you think about using this stance in keiko and shiai? Is it effective for a strong …

Training alone empty handed 
Hello Imafuji-sensei, my question regards training without any instrument or our beloved bokutou/shinai. Also, English is not my mother language, so my …

Confused about Tenouchi 
Hello again Sensei! Thanks for answering my previous question! I've been doing some research to improve my tenouchi and to use more my left arm. I've …

Left handed fumikomi 
I am left handed and find it easier to do fumikomi with my left foot. I struggle with timing with my right foot. Any help? Answer: Thank you for your …

Gyaku do Zanshin and Cuts 
How would a gyaku do cut be "correctly" done? I normally apply the same concept of a tameshigiri cut, cut with my shoulder rather than my hand (similar …

Tips to take jodan no kamae 
I have a busted left knee and I don't know if I should do Jodan or not. And any tips on how I should prepare myself for jodan. Thank you in advance …

when i do haya suburi i always am off balence 
When I do haya suburi I always am off balance When I do haya suburi I end up off balance can you tell me what I’m doing wrong. I generally have good …

Use Kata in Kendo? 
Are you allowed to use kata forms when sparring in kendo? Answer: Thank you for question. Yes and no. For example, wakigamae in No.4 is useless …

carpal tunnel syndrome 
Dear Masahiro (Hiro) Imafuji. My name is Guillermo, I'm from Argentina, and I’m 45 years old. I've practiced kendo for about six years, but in 2010 …

Is it normal to get really bad bruising after bogu practice? 
Is it normal to get really bad bruising after receiving men and kote strikes? If I get these, is it because I'm not receiving men and kote properly? …

Stiff shoulders 
Hello, Imafuji-sensei, Is there a way to relax my shoulders? Every time I swing my shinai (by doing any men suburis or doing haya-suburis or anything …

Left-handed training? 
Hello all, My right hand was crushed in a car accident a couple of years ago. Although I've undergone some pretty serious rehabilitation and training, …

Harai and Uchitoshi 
Hi, My name is Reyhan from Indonesia.. I would ask a question. 1. What is Harai? 2. What is Uchitoshi? 3. Which one of them is more effective …

Kirikaeshi speed and distance 
1. Quite often I see the kirikaeshi is performed in high speed during keiko or grading exams. And some senseis require high-speed kirikaeshi. Others talk …

Faster Suburi 
In our dojo we do suburi slow a few times then at "regular speed" a lot of times. My problem is, I can't keep up with the regular speed. I get out of rhythm …

MEN strike 
My sensei tells me that when I hit men it seems as though I am making a chopping motion not a swinging motion. How can I fix this? I'm not really sure …

Slight Disk Herniation at c4-c5 and Kendo 
I had been diagnosed with a slight disc herniation at c4 c5. I had been enthusiastic with Kendo and dream of reaching at least 5th dan in my lifetime (I’m …

Good Practice Techniques for Striking Do, for Tall Kendoka  
Good Practice Techniques for Striking Do, for Tall Kendoka I'm a fairly tall person (6'2"/189cm). I find that in shiai and jigeiko, I tend to hit above …

Why Jodan? 
I'm interested in knowing some reasons why individuals do jodan besides injuries. Answer: Thank you for your post. There are several reasons. 1. …

Fun way to teach beginners? 
I'm Cederik from a very young, (3 year old) dojo in Belgium. This year, it is the first time we have two classes a week, one with our Sensei, coming from …

Tsubazeriai in Yudanshas 
When becoming a yudansha, I heard kendo becomes more... conservative. Like as in tsubazeriai, shodans should start to be more probing for openings, right? …

Hiki Techniques 
I heard that Hiki-Do is very difficult to be an ippon, especially the left do side. What can I do to improve it? I usually do it, because my opponents …

Kaeshi do 
I recently came from a taikai and I was amazed at how some of the kendoka kaeshi dou looked so beautiful. But I noticed that the way they were cutting …

Timing and 3D Seme: Shinai, Body, and Mind II 
Hi again, 1. I will try to make this question as simple as possible without much details. I want to know a 3rd person's view point. I am very tall …

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Timing and 3D Seme: Shinai, Body, and Mind 
I understand that every kenshi (even the very high ranking senseis and players at the top level) have a thing called okuri. Through practice and experience …

What should my mentality be in shiai? 
I've been on quite a losing streak lately in shiai and my frustration is only building up. I know I have the adequate speed and form, but I just can't …

Jodan as a solution to injured right wrist? 
I've been practicing kendo for about 4 years now and currently in my ikkyu level. Unfortunately, an old injury on my right wrist would come to haunt …

Best way to practice maai? 
I run a small Kendo club in a very small & isolated community which I recently moved to. There are no sensei within hundreds of miles. Can you recommend …

Valid men vs not valid debana kote 
The situation: In shiai one person makes a valid men strike. At that moment his or her opponent makes not valid debana kote strike (by not valid I mean …

How to do taiatari properly, without hurting your wrists? 
When I receive taiatari, my wrists get compressed and it hurts for a few days. Is there a way to avoid this? How should I hold my hands on the shinai …

Fumikomi: How To Perform This “Stomping” Action 
Fumikomi has been discussed a lot here in the site. Many very informative articles are posted like Fumikomi Mechanism and  First Time Fumikomi …

Attacking from Nito:Nito Strikes 
How exactly can we strike with nito ryu? I mean, When doing men strikes or kote strikes, arm strength seems to be a problem. So, I'm wondering …

How to correct "duck feet" (feet turned outward)? 
I've always walked with my feet turned outwards (like a duck?), I also stand that way, and ride a bicycle that way. Of course, in kendo, I have to …

How to stay motivated to improve 
I've now reached a point in my kendo where I feel like I've hit a brick wall, and I'm not improving. I've been practising kendo for about one hour …

Strike is not fast enough 
How to make the blow more rapid and precise? I practice not so long and saw that it is not quite sharp and agile. It should be like a thunderbolt, …

Men-Do: how not to hit do with a shinai center 
During Men-Do technique if motodachi moves back not quickly enough after a Men strike kakarite may appear too close to strike Do correctly. Should …

Tsugi-ashi 
When is it better to use tsugi-ashi than okuri-ashi? Do we need to train tsugi-ashi like we train okuri-ashi or we only learn okuri-ashi and tsugi …

Which muscles are used primarily in kendo, and can they be trained through isolation exercises in a gym? 
I noticed a trend of muscle pain in my shoulders, upper pectorials, and calves after my first 6 sessions at my dojo. That got me wondering what are all …

Shall we economise energy during kirikaeshi on exams 
Shall we economise energy during kirikaeshi on exams I've noticed that the most exhaustive training for me is kirikaeshi. I absolutely get tired after …

How to close your openings... 
How can you hide your openings from your opponent? Any ideas? Answer: I have words for you not from me but from many sensei s. If you don’t want …

Kirikaeshi hitting men or shinai 
Why is it sometimes required to perform kirikaeshi (in bogu with men on) hitting men and sometimes hitting shinai? Are there two different kirikaeshi …

Kirikaeshi main points for mudansha 
What points in kirikaeshi should mudansha concentrate his/her attention on during training? And  what can be expected from mudansha in kirikaeshi during …

Left foot forward? 
The problem I have is that I feel extremely off-balance and uncomfortable in the normal right foot forward, left foot back for push off Chudan stance. …

Proper Fumikomi 
I have a problem with my fumikomi where I tend to bend my legs so much before lunging that my body lowers considerably. My back is still straight but …

Tense Shoulders? 
I've been involved with Kendo for about 8 months now. I took a 6 month break for my first semester in college, now I am coming back. I've been having one …

Hitting Kotei-men 
My sensei keeps telling 'Don't walk' when I do hit kote-men. I was told later on that I actually walk a step after hitting kote and before hitting men. …

My swing becomes angled 
It appeared that when I swing while shinai is above the head it moves not straightly. My training partners sometimes say that it looks like I am …

Fall over when performing fumikomi 
Some people fall over when they are doing fumikomi - their right foot catches on hakama and as a result they cannot finish fumikomi normally and fall …

Should kensen bounce up in suburi? 
When we make suburi (men, kote, do) should kensen bounce up because of tenouchi or it has to stop sharply at some level without bouncing up? I saw …

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How not to hit kote too hard 
I find it really hard to hit someone for some reason. I fear that I might actually hit too hard whilst receiving a nice bruise as a gift from everyone …

Body movement when striking kote 
When we strike kote we have an impulse like we do while performing other strikes, so our body moves forward. As a result it may appear that our shinai …

What to do and not to do in jigeiko 
What should we try to do and what should we try NOT to do in jigeiko? For example, in jigeiko we may pay all attention on continuous striking doing …

Kendo training menu 
I would like to ask about your training schedule. In training,  how long do you usually spend for warm-up? Suburi? Basic techniques? What is always …

Bokuto Ni Yoru Kendo Kihon Waza Keiko Ho 
Would you be so kind to tell about Bokuto Ni Yoru Kendo Kihon Waza Keiko Ho (Bokuto Keiko Ho)? Everything is interesting. History of inventing, quantity …

Strategy application 3 Qs 
I've achieved my first kyu rank and am starting to work on the long road to becoming a good kenshi in combat. I've always been a student of Musashi …

The suburi pace 
Last summer I participated in seminar with Hijikata Naohito sensei . One thing that surprised me was the suburi pace. We did suburi rather slow …

Shall we always go through the opponent after strike 
Sensei s always tell us to go through our opponent after performing some strike and when we are behind our opponent to turn round. But I have read …

Feints in kendo 
Feints in kendo Higher ranked people in my dōjō seemed to use feints in their shiai matches. So, exactly how could I do that? Answer: …

Different ways of going backwards in hiki 
I've seen two ways of shinai movement in hiki waza . When we strike and our shinai meets a target ( men , kote , do ) it bounces up and back. …

Breathing before attack 
This summer I participate in a Kendo Seminar with Ota Sensei . And he emphasised that a big men had to be made in 1 movement/timing. Looking at …

Nito Start Up 
What does it take to practice Nito Kendo ? I was wondering if you could give me your opinion on a few things. The requirements for nito kendo …

Different ways of passing by the opponent after striking right kote 
I’ve seen two ways of passing by the opponent after right kote strike, here they are: 1) We strike the opponent’s right kote and go forward from …

Different ways of striking Do 
Different ways of striking Do I would like to ask about right do strike. Different senseis show this strike differently. Here are variants: …

How to stand up with shinaï from seiza stance ? 
How to stand up with shinaï from seiza stance? Could you describe this movement from seiza stance? I don't remember when I must to take the shinai …

How do I know if I’m striking too hard? 
One of my instructors tells me that I’m hitting too hard, but then another instructor tells me I’m hitting too soft and to not be afraid of hurting them. …

How to perform correct and effective Taiatari? 
I would like to know how to perform correct taiatari in combination with fumikomi. It often happens on men strikes that the opponent blocks and both crash …

What am I doing wrong when striking with shinai 
I'm not too sure what I am doing wrong but it does not seem to be working. I do realize it is very difficult to get the Cutting Technique while using the …

Suggesting Kendo Summer Training in Philippines 
I'd like to suggest that if you have a dojo in the Philippines please make a summer training for the beginners Answer: I do not have a dojo in …

Taking Two Swords: Nito 
I have an interest in training with two swords. Is that possible and if so how would I find an instructor? Answer: Is it possible? Yes, it is …

Breathing methods during the Choyaku Shomen Uchi 
How is the breathing method during the Haya Suburi? You wrote that "We have three ways of breathing; one for mokuso, one for training and one for kendo …

right hand  
I am told that I use too much right hand and put too much strength. How to avoid this problem? Can you be more specific as I am always confused about this …

How to defeat Nito? 
I'm somewhat inexperienced at Kendo, and my teacher is using Nito, short and long sword. How can I stand a chance against him? (I'm too inexperienced …

Occurrence in shiai 
Sometimes in shiai one opponent (A) sticks to another (opponent B) leaving no chance for opponent B to attack, maybe except hiki waza. I mean most …

My body aspires to press on shinai after a contact of a shock point of the opponent, as though I press on a sword to cut the opponent.  
My body aspires to press on shinai after a contact of a shock point of the opponent, as though I press on a sword to cut the opponent. I have such …

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How do you know when kamae is broken? Not rated yet
Hi Sensei, thank you for your page. How do I know when I have broken opponent's kamae? Answer : Good question! This is very very difficult. Usually …

What makes perfect Shomen Uchi and Haya Suburi? Not rated yet
I’m pretty new to kendo but after training for some time, I've gotten to like it a lot. I'm going to be participating in a kendo competition, but as …

More insight in Suburi motion and proper posture Not rated yet
In my study to improve my suburi, I was rewatching some of your videos when I heard some things about the armpit. Now, I have been struggling recently …

Any ideas for small people? Not rated yet
I´m one of the smallest women in our dojo so I usually get to practise with bigger (male) partners. I often get frustrated because they can easily …

I'm a beginner so... Not rated yet
I'm a kendo fan from a far-away South East Asia (Vietnam) and still a beginner. I got many problems while learning and it's really bothering me... so …

Shiai for people in their 50s Not rated yet
Hi Sensei, I am going to turn 51 by May this year. I am shodan. I have taken part in shiai and I noticed that it is not easy to win matches where …

where should I focus while striking an opponent? Not rated yet
Specifically when I am striking the Kote , should I still focus on the eyes of my opponent's eyes or should I be more concerned with my strike location? …

Where did I go wrong? Not rated yet
How did I loose to my opponent? I had better techniques than him My men was powerful, fast and straight, my posture was straight with pressure on my …

Weak Kendo or loose with style? Not rated yet
I am a beginner and I notice in the competitions players wiggling the Shinai and bending at the neck in an attempt at dodging the strikes. This looks weak …

Is it okay to strike kote diagonally? Not rated yet
In my Dojo, we are told to move the shinai diagonally in order to hit the kote- what is your opinion about this? Answer: Thank you for your question. …

Shinai strike. Not rated yet
I have practice iaido for a year and want to take up kendo. Do I hold and strike with a shinai like I would do with a katana or bokken? Furthermore would …

Right thumb pain from frequent impacts Not rated yet
I've been training Aiuchi-men and also similar situations occur during the Ji-keiko. For some reasons, I have been getting some impacts on my right …

Height, weight and body stance  Not rated yet
Hello, Imafuji-sensei! I am tall (about 190cm) and very slim (about 74kg). My body stance is not so good, as I tend to hunch a lot and my shoulders …

Fumikomi Posture Not rated yet
Hi! I have a problem with my fumikomi for a while now, and I can't find a solution to fix it. I noticed that when I fumikomi, my right foot goes first …

Lefties Are Frowned Upon Because They're Better? Not rated yet
I know that you're supposed to do everything basically with your right hand when it comes to kendo, but is that simply because lefties become the better …

Same Ma-ai Not rated yet
I've seen mentioned here a few times that my ma-ai should be that I can hit my opponent in one step, but he can't hit me with one step. In practice, …

what is the high stance used for? Not rated yet
I was watching a dojo training because I am thinking of joining them, and I saw one of them use what they called a high stance. To me it looked like …

Where do you keep your eye on while attacking? Not rated yet
I have been told to keep your eye on my opponent's eyes. Do I keep my sight there as I make a cut to Kote or Do? While debana attacks? Thank you. …

Seme and the role of motodachi during oji waza practice.  Not rated yet
I have two senpai who have different approaches on how the attacker should attack the person doing the oji waza. Both obviously say the attacker should …

Reaction to seme and hiraki-ashi Not rated yet
I'm quite new to kendo and haven't had any shiai yet. But I'm curious about what should I do, when I see my opponent do seme and obviously is going to …

Suburi inversely Not rated yet
I heard in some dojos they train suburi in both variants: normally and inversely, when the left hand is near tsuba and the left foot is in front of right …

Tsuki best time Not rated yet
When is the best time for tsuki and when it is better to abstain from tsuki? E.g. I heard we should not do tsuki when our opponent comes at us since …

A few questions about training outside of planned sessions Not rated yet
First of all I wanted to thank you for putting this website up, it has been an inspiration for me to make my first step in the way of the sword; I just …

MEN cuts Not rated yet
What is the difference between HARAI men n HARI men? Answer: Thank you for your question. I am not sure where you learned the term, Hari, but it is …

Proper Men Strike Not rated yet
When coming down for a men strike, do you reach out with your arms or bring arms down? Something so simple is very complex, lol. Thank you and I have …

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How do I know if I'm doing Suburi correctly Not rated yet
Greetings Imafuji Sensei! I've been practicing kendo for a month now, once every week to be exact. During my spare time I maximize it by doing suburi …

Usual Do strike but going forward to the left Not rated yet
What should we pay attention to when striking opponent's right do and going forward not to our right but to the left? And can we perform that strike …

Katsugi Waza in Kendo Not rated yet
I was wondering when is the best moment to perform Katsugi-waza? Thank you. Best wishes from Colombia Answer: Thank you for your question. Please …

Rigth Hand Katate-Men Not rated yet
During Shiai, while I'm in Jodan, is a right handed katate men allowed/valid? Answer: Thank you for your question. Allowed or not. It is …

Motodachi work without bogu Not rated yet
When you train without bogu and your partner strikes men, what way you have to place your shinai (with both hands on tsuka) to allow kakarite strike correctly? …

Feet movement in hiki waza Not rated yet
Can hiki waza be correctly performed with suri ashi without stomping with the right foot when striking? (Smoothly moving backwards, and quickly) What …

psychological training Not rated yet
Tell us about the principles of psychological training, but tsuki no kokoro mitsu no kokoro and others that you know. Thanks. Answer: Thank …

Less Wasted Movement Not rated yet
In kendo, I feel like most of my movement is just a waste. So, how do I lessen that waste? Answer: Thank you for your question. It depends on your …

How to rebuild spirit? Not rated yet
I have been training kendo for about a year and a half now, and I still have a lot to learn.  However, I recently had to miss about a month's worth …

Why does the right hand move towards the left hand? Not rated yet
Sometimes during suburi at a fast pace or during kirikaeshi (sayu-men) the right hand moves back from tsuba so that there is a space between tsuba and …

I cannot "flick" my wrist when striking small men and kote Not rated yet
I recently entered the bogu class. But they didn’t teach us how to do the small men or the small kote And I tried watching your videos on YouTube...... …

Validity of strikes in sparing. Not rated yet
What elements decide about the validity of a strike in a sparring? E.g. what is important in, say, a kote strike to score a point? Answer: 1. …

Weak inner muscles? Not rated yet
My senior kept telling me that when I swing and hit, I look upwards. My sensei added that my inner muscles are weak and therefore I'm looking upwards …

Focus on particular points for beginners? Not rated yet
Focus on particular points for beginners? In your personal opinion, should any area of Kendo basics be more emphasized then the rest?  Foot work …

One handed strikes? Not rated yet
I have gotten into the habit of hitting one handed (right hand) Do ALOT.  It seems easier to use from a variety of positions and is seemingly much harder …

Poor arm/leg coordination Not rated yet
Just noticed that my arms/leg coordination is not that good, how can I fix this? Answer: I cannot tell you exactly how because I cannot tell how …

Fitness For Kendo? Not rated yet
My Sensei has a saying: Don’t do Kendo to get fit but rather be fit for Kendo. So I started running and doing some normal exercises. I was wondering …

Changing grip against nito and jodan Not rated yet
When I was using nito against my sensei, he changed grip from only to his left hand or right hand. Why is he doing that? Answer:   I am sure you were …

Tsuki training Not rated yet
When we train tsuki with or without a partner - should we bounce back immediately after we've executed a thrust? Or we have to stay for a moment where …

Hitting men-buton from behind the partner Not rated yet
In one article, you have said that we can strike targets that are not considered to be valid in shiai, e.g. tsuki in Do (chest part). Some people …

Shinai with lengthened tsuka Not rated yet
Are there any special shinai s with intentionally lengthened tsuka so that the distance between left and right hand are about 3 or 4 fists? What …

Tension in the Upper Body Not rated yet
I am practicing Kendo in an upstart club at my college. A reoccurring suggestion I get from our sensei and others who are more experienced, is that …

Seiza Not rated yet
Can you send me a video on how to sit in, and get up from seiza ? I have trouble understanding how I position my feet. Answer: These are the …

Kendo with Shoto only Not rated yet
In my d ōjō , we had a discussion about fighting with shōtō against shinai (like in the kata 8 - 10).  I tried it out (it …

I have a problem of using too much right arm Not rated yet
How can I fix using too much right arm? Answer: This is a very common problem and there are some Q&A for it.  If you do not find an answer, do …

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180 degree turn Not rated yet
In our dojo I was ordered to perform a 180 degree turn on the left foot (with a wooden katana for the first time) with my right foot above the ground, …

Cutting DO Not rated yet
From my understanding, Do cuts require the right arm's pull action to complete the cut by pulling the blade out from the opponent's torso. However, I …

Hitting Men Not rated yet
When I strike a men, my feet move forward faster than my hands. How can I move both together at the same time? I have been learning kendo for a year. …

Small men questions Not rated yet
I've seen your small men video , and yesterday I tried to do it on geiko but... my sensei told me I was not doing it right. He tried to explain …

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How to Grab a Shinai: Unique Methods

- This is probably one of the most common problems that many beginners have. We all know how to grab a shinai but for some reasons we lose it very easily. Here are some unique methods to fix your grip.


Detroit Seminar 2011: Teachings of 8-dan

- I had a great opportunity to participate in the Detroit Seminar 2011in February. This page is a report of what we learned from Kunihide Kōda (8-dan kyōshi) at the seminar


Shinai Adjustment

- Sometimes we have to adjust shinai length. So in this article, how to adjust the length of your shinai is shown. There is a video to show exactly how you make your shinai shorter.


Shinai Maintenance

- Shinai maintenance is important. If we do not take a good care of shinai, we may end up with hurting others. If you do not want to hurt or kill your training partners, you should know how to maintain your shinai.


How to Start Training in Kendo

- We tend to focus on how to strike or hit our opponents. But more important thing is etiquette. So we should really know how to start training.


How to Strike Small Kote

- Small Kote looks easy but many people find it hard because if they do it too small they cannot hit properly and if they do it too quickly they cannot even hit kote. Here is the secret.


How to Strike Small Men

- Small men cut in kendo is misunderstood for some reasons. People think it is to avoid getting hit. It is not true. It is a small version of the basic men cut.


Kendo is Easy: If you can walk, you can do kendo :)

- Kendo is easy...if we do not make it too difficult. It is us, learners, who make kendo difficult to learn. But you know what if you can walk, you can do kendo!


The Way We Walk and Kendo

- Many people have problems with kendo movements. But it is easy to fix if we fix how we walk. If you want to improve your kendo, you may have to change how you walk...


In kendo, Left Heel is Always up. Why?

- In kendo we are told to have our left heel up all the time. But beginners have the left heel too high. In this workshop, we are going to know why we should have our left heel up.


Fumikomi Mechanism

- In this section, you will see how actually fumikomi works. It is much easier to perform fumikomi once you know how it should be done. Analogy used in the video is quite popular. :)


How to Sit in Seiza

- In this section, you will learn how to sit in seiza in order. Also you will learn why we sit in seiza in that order. This is helpful to teach beginners too.

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