Back to Back Issues Page
Kendo-Guide.Com Newsletter, Issue #017 - Great Kiai Stories from Hanshi
June 24, 2009

Kendo for LIFE

Kendo-Guide.Com Newsletter, Issue #017 - Great Kiai Stories from Hanshi

Thank you for reading the Kendo-Guide.Com Newsletter, Issue #017.

In this issue, you will see updates since the last newsletter and also an article on "Great Kiai Stories from Hanshi".

Don't miss the good deal!

Maruyama is doing a "buy two get one free" sale until the end of June.

I wrote a review on a koban shinai of Maruyama Kendo Supply. When you go to the page, find the word, koban. If you use the "Control + F" function, it is easy to find the review.

Thank you!

Now enjoy the updates!


I have several e-mails that I sent came back due to the wrong e-mail address or someone else.

If you don't hear from me within three or four days, it is quite likely that you mistyped your e-mail address or your e-mail software/Internet server reject e-mails from me. Please make sure to whitelist Kendo-Guide.Com.

If you have not done a kendo general survey, please participate. It takes only a few minutes. Thanks!

What we have in this issue is shown below. Enjoy this Newsletter!

Table of Content

- Articles Since the Last Issue -

- New Video Added in Subscribers' Area -

- Kendo Q & A -

- Kendo Online Workshop -

- Questions about eBook -

- Great Kiai Stories from Hanshi -

- Comments or Questions -

There are links to change your email address for the newsletter or unsubscribe at the bottom of every newsletter. Thanks!

- New Articles since Last Issue -

- Kendo Kata: Yonhon-me

- New Video Added in Subscribers' Area -

- Kendo Training - Children

Finally I could edit this video. Even though this is a training for children, I hope it gives you some idea for your training at your dojo. Please do listen to what Abe sensei (8th dan) says at the end.

- Kendo Q & A -

- How do you do "DO" strikes?

- Shinai Length

- Been defeated in kendo

- I don't have a dojo in my area and want to learn kendo.

- Dangers of Kendo

- Do I have to do something before using a new shinai?

- Kendo Online Workshop -

- Hitting Men

- Cutting DO

- Questions about eBook -

- MR. P Dourley

- eBook Trouble

- Benefits of Kendo -

- Kendo, my way of saying "if someone throws a punch, take it and move on."

Great Kiai Stroies from Hanshi

In the Kendo-Guide.Com Newsletter, Issue #015 - Improve kendo right away, I talked about how kiai can improve our kendo immediately. At the dojos I instruct, I have been concentrating on the improvement of my students' kiai and also mine.


And I received a new issue of a monthly kendo magazine from Japan recently. Guess what? The main topic was kiai! What a coincidence! There are various articles about kiai from 8th dans so I would like to share some main points with you.


What is kiai?

First of all, what is kiai? Sumi sensei (Hanshi 8th dan) says in his article, "according to Kojien (Japanese-Japanese dictionary), kiai is 'a will/spirit or shout when implementing something while concentrating.'"  He continues, "So when we say 'do it with ki', it means 'concentrate and do it.' In kendo, we have to make our opponents feel our 'spiritual/mind force' created by our concentration. This is a 'victory by kiai' in kendo." Let me explain this.


A victory by kiai is a victory before actual striking happens. So if you feel your opponent strong kiai and the kiai moves your mind, i.e. you get scared or surprised etc., you are already defeated by your opponent's kiai. This is often called a victory by kiai in kendo.


Wanna be strong? Shout!

Kanno sensei (Kyoshi 8th dan) tells his story about his teacher, Abe sensei (Hanshi 9th dan). When Abe sensei was in Manchuria, Abe sensei received this advice from TAKANO Shigeyoshi sensei: "Mr. Abe, if you want to become strong in kendo, have louder kiai than anyone else."


After Kanno sensei heard this story, he tried to have louder kiai than anyone else. Generally speaking, in budo, as we get older and more experienced, we should be able to fill ourselves up with ki without having loud kiai. However, Kanno sensei says that "I feel how much I am filled up with ki by having loud kiai. Until now I have been training to have louder, more powerful and deeper kiai than my opponents."


He also says, "We should have a loud, powerful and sharp kiai when striking each target like 'men!,' 'kote!,' 'do!' and 'tsuki'! If you do that, even when your opponent is filled up with ki, you can execute a strike that can smash through your opponent's ki."


So it is very important to have a loud, strong and sharp kiai. There is no doubt. But as you improve, the kiai should have more quality than "loudness". Many people try to imitate kiai of high ranks and have very short and quite kiai. But the difference between the short and quiet kiai of high ranks and low ranks is "quality" of kiai.


As Sumi sensei says above, in the fights between high ranks, they seek a victory by ki. That is why we do not see many strikes between high ranks.


Are you 4th dan or above?

Sumi sensei mentions that kiai should impress not only your opponent but those who are watching you. Therefore, your ki is not a laser beam towards your opponent but it should be round like a ball surrounding you. In this way, even when you were surrounded by more than one enemy, your enemies could feel your ki and could not attack you.


 If you image the light coming out from a light bulb, it is much easier to get the idea of the ki that Sumi sensei is talking about. So try to generate ki and give off the ki out of your body like a light bulb.


He also mentions, "Even though you look very calm, there should be the ki inside you like red hot magma. That ki should be delivered to your opponent. My image of the ki is like that". 


Imagine strikes from Sumi sensei with the ki as the red hot magma. And that ki is given off like the light of a light bulb. Moreover, the strikes have the power of volcanic explosion.


I personally experienced a tsunami wave like strike from the late Tsurumaru sensei (Hanshi 9th dan). I knew it was coming right at me but I could not do anything about it…


I should mention that this is a good example of a victory by ki. I was overpowered by the ki of Tsurumaru sensei before he executed his strike.


Don't think too much; just shout

It is important to have a lot of kiai. We know that, but why do people stop having loud kiai when doing jigeiko? It is because people, generally speaking, tend to "hold" their breath when they are concentrating.


It is ok to hold the breath for a second but not for a long time in kendo. Of course, if you are a high rank and know what you are doing, then it is a different story. Usually holding your breath means you are quite vulnerable to your opponent's strikes.


We have to create a good flow of ki in our body. To do so, we have to keep breathing, just like mokuso. Thus, if we want to keep breathing, it is a good idea to have a loud long kiai before striking. After breathing out the air out of your body, there is only one thing to do. Breathe in.


Breathe out long and breathe in short, just like in mokuso. It is hard to do but if you are 4th dan or above, please do try to do it. I am working on it and it is darn hard.


Hope this helps.


- Comments or Questions -

If you have a kendo related question, please go to Kendo Q&A and use a special form for that.


If you want to contact me personally, please use a contact form.


If you do not send me email through the form, my email system does not pass through your emails. That means I never get your email.


Please do not use the email address I used to use at The Cyber Dojo either. It will not be used for communication purpose. This is the main website. Click here to contact us...


Thank you for reading the newsletter. See you in the next issue!

Back to Back Issues Page