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What do I do if my instructor is teaching me wrong?

My Karate sansei is also my Kendo instructor. Although very advanced and worthy of great respect in Karate, he self-admits he is a "beginner" in Kendo.


We live in a city in which there are no other advanced Kendo instructors. He teaches me that every valid strike in Kendo MUST begin with sweeping your shinai underneath your opponent's shinai and attacking from the left side of his shinai.

I have now read four books on Kendo, watched countless YouTube videos, etc., and not only do I not see this requirement mentioned anywhere, it doesn't even make sense, as the action would announce your intention to attack and briefly make you vulnerable yourself.

However, he is adamant that this is a requirement for any valid strike and will not allow me to attack any other way. I don't want to learn incorrectly, or get into a bad habit, but what can I say? I have great respect for him and don't want to "argue" with him. Can anyone tell me for certain that he is wrong? And can any one advise me on how to get him to let go of this idea?

Answer: Thank you for your question. It sounds very complicated.

To make your idea of kendo clear, please allow me to ask you a question. You want to do kendo that International Kendo Federation introduces; kendo that is derived from samurai swordsmanship in Japan?

The reason I asked is that there’re still tons of people out there who have different ideas about kendo. So this is a very important question to ask.

If you want to do kendo that is Japanese budo then you can share these videos and books with him. He might be doing something different and think that he is doing kendo. That is very common.

If this doesn’t work, tell him humbly that it is not kendo you want to learn. I think if you should him what you want to learn and that is different from what he teaches, he will understand. Well, I think he has to understand, in my opinion.

Let’s ask others as well. So you can have more options.

Hope this helps!

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