Training kendo at the beach?

by Mauricio Fernández
(Salinas, Uruguay)

Sometimes I cannot go to the dojo because of work, but even when I do most of the times I don't feel completely worn out after keiko. So I like to train on my own every morning, doing a lot of suburi, kirikaeshi and uchikomi-geiko.


Of course, it's not the same as doing so with a partner, but it improves my stamina a lot. However, I don't have a place close to my home with a floor suitable for kendo, so I go to the beach.

Early in the morning the sand is still wet and quite hard to make for a decent floor without feeling my knees broken into pieces as it happens in concrete and other hard floors.

It's also nice in the morning because the beach is empty; set aside a few fishermen. So I don't bother people with my kiai. I'm beginning Iaido as well (4th kyū), and the beach gives such a special feeling to Iai training :P

I wanted to know if I should have any special considerations while training in the beach, before I unknowingly develop bad habits.

Also, I'm about to start making a wooden training dummy to help me with strikes, and I want to use it with bogu on. Will my bogu suffer in the beach? Should I only use my bogu indoors? I have taken 3rd kyū exam just last month, so I'm really a newbie with bogu.

Thank you for your time and I'd appreciate any advice you could give me!

Answer: Thank you for your question. Training at the beach is good because you really need a good balance to execute a good cut with fumikomi. I did some beach kendō training so I know how hard it is.

Of course, it is truly hard to do ashi sabaki. Since we never fight on the beach like the old days, we probably stick to suri ashi. So watch your suri ashi until you can perform decent suri ashi on the sand.

Do all the movements slowly, if you don’t want to develop bad habits.  Pay extra attention to the weight shift while striking.

When you lift your shinai above your head, your weight should be on the left foot. Then gradually move it as you strike. Once the right foot lands, the weight shifts to the right foot.

Since you are on the beach, this weight shift is very hard to do. And probably you cannot do it well. But do not get frustrated.  It is normal.

Instead of getting frustrated, feel and learn the weight shift. You can really feel the weight shift on the sand. That’s why you should do it slowly.

I do not recommend putting bōgu on on the beach. I’ve trained with bōgu on on the beach. I was very careful trying not to make my bōgu sandy. But it got very sandy.

And if you go to your dōjō with the sandy bōgu, you will make the dōjō sandy. It is not a good idea. So I don’t recommend having your bōgu on the beach.

Hope this helps.

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