Reigi | 礼儀

礼に始まり礼に終わる
Rei ni hajimari rei ni owaru.
Kendo begins and ends with rei.
In kendo, manners are paramount. Without etiquette and respect, we are just a bunch of people hitting each other with sticks. We are all working together as partners to improve our kendo and ourselves.

Read our basic expectations

Punctuality
Be on time. Please make an effort to come to class with enough time to get dressed and be ready before the start of practice. We understand that there are sometimes extenuating circumstances, but you should not make a habit of arriving late. If you happen to be late, please do your best to minimize disrupting practice while promptly getting dressed, bowing-in, and warming up on your own.
Greetings
Always greet each other clearly when you arrive, especially the sensei and senpai (seniors). This may seem trivial, but it is a basic courtesy that helps to build dojo camaraderie and motivates us all to practice with enthusiasm.
Dojo Care
Everyone must participate in the setup and takedown of the dojo equipment. Do not let your seniors do this for you. You should budget your time to include these responsibilities before and after class.
Self care
Keep your uniform, shinai, and bogu neat and well-cared for. Have at least two shinai ready for each practice, check for splinters and make sure all furnishings are adjusted and fastened securely. Also, make sure your finger and toenails are trimmed. These are both a matter of respect as well as safety for you and your partners.
Minimize Talking
We expect you to train hard. We feed off each other's energy. Regardless of each person's level, anyone who is earnest in their training contributes to the collective spirit and atmosphere of the dojo. Please use the designated practice time wisely. It is not the time for socializing.

Our Practice

Our practices can vary in agenda. Below you will find a general description of just a few of the more common types of practice and drills as well as a general breakdown of our weekly schedule. Of course, there are other types of practice not described here (hitori-geiko, mitori-geiko, tachikiri-geiko, etc.) but these should give you a good idea of what to expect of the regular curriculum.

Kata & Bokuto Waza

Kata are forms practiced with a partner using solid wooden swords called bokken or bokuto.

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The official concept of kendo is:

To discipline the human character through the application of the principles of the katana

Practicing forms with bokken, which is closer in shape and dimension to the katana, provides a useful compliment to shinai kendo in understanding the principles of the sword. Kendo kata is an integral part of the curriculum, providing a structure to explore more subtle and deeper nuances of sword technique and kendo philosophy. Kata should not be neglected nor merely crammed just prior to examination.

 

More recently, a second set of forms were developed for beginning students called bokuto ni yoru kendo kihon-waza keikoho. Like kata, these waza help students get familiar with kendo kihon (fundamentals) and practice with a partner. They are an excellent tool for beginners to learn correct form, posture, distancing, manipulation of the sword, and mindfulness of the cutting plane of the sword edge.

We practice with bokken at the beginning of every Sunday session. Beginners and lower ranked students practice the kihon bokuto waza, and senior students and sensei practice kata.

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Kihon & Kirikaeshi


Kihon (fundamentals) and kirikaeshi (pattern of continuous striking) are the main staple of our kendo practice.

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We spend a good portion of our time practicing the fundamentals. Everyone from beginners to the most senior sensei practice basics like footwork, kamae, suburi, and kiai—these can never be practiced enough.

Kirikaeshi is a fundamental drill of prescribed continuous strikes that provides many benefits to both the person executing the strikes as well as the person receiving them.

Expect to spend much of your time doing many repetitions of kihon and kirikaeshi in your daily practice. In fact, this practice is so fundamental and beneficial that one can do kihon and kirikaeshi exclusively for years and reap tremendous gains. You should never think that you are too good for the basics. For even the most senior kenshi, often the key to their improvement or reaching the next level is not in learning new or complicated waza (technique), but in earnest practice of the fundamentals.

 

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Uchikomi & Kakarigeiko

Fast, vigorous, and relentless attacking practice.

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Uchikomi & Kakarigeiko are essential in building up your kendo spirit.

In uchikomi, your partner provides a clear and open target which you must strike with correct form, distance, and follow-through. Speed is secondary, but you should try to do it as quickly and vigorously as possible, without pausing between strikes, and without sacrificing form.

Kakarigeiko is for more experienced practitioners. In this exercise, you have successive intervals of about 15 to 30 seconds to strike as quickly and frequently as possible. Your partner will not provide the opening, but you must continuously try create your own opening by breaking through their kamae (posture). Depending on your level, your partner may not only parry but also counter the attacks.

Over time, this kind of practice helps build mental resolve, toughness, perseverance, an ability to execute without thinking, and understanding of sutemi.

You should not take this practice lightly. This is supposed to be hard.

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Waza & Jigeiko

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Waza (technique) & Jigeiko (free sparring) practice.

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We learn specific techniques in waza practice by repeating designated scenarios and practicing how you can execute attacks, parries, and combinations to achieve a valid strike with proper form. Both partners should try and perform these drills with the intensity as if they are in an actual bout, not just go through the motions. This includes taking the time to build up the proper setup and pressure (seme), then striking and follow-through (zanshin). This is important for both shikake-waza (initiating attack) and oji-waza (pressure and counter-attack), the latter even more so.

While jigeiko can be interpreted as free-sparring, more importantly, it is the time for you to work on improving your kendo. You should get out of your comfort zone and focus on what you need to work on or what sensei has pointed out to you. It is not the time for simply scoring points at the expense of sacrificing proper form. You must understand your relationship to your partner, your sensei, and how you can improve yourself during jigeiko with that person no matter who they are or what their level. This attitude provides mutual benefit to both partners rather than just an exercise in trying to win points, and you can both come away with a feeling of satisfaction.

Sotaro Honda sensei has written an excellent essay on how we should approach all of our different types of keiko.

Link: Attitudes to Jigeiko

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Sundays

Kendo

3:00PM - 5:30PM

All Levels Practice

  • Kata & Bokuto Waza
  • Kihon
  • Uchikomi & Kakarigeiko
  • Waza & Jigeiko

Beginners and advanced people may practice in different groups depending on the day's agenda. Youth and beginners not yet in bogu (armor) finish earlier at around 4:30. The remaining hour is generally waza and jigeiko practice for people in bogu.

Tuesdays

Kendo

7:00PM - 8:30PM

All Levels Practice

  • Kihon
  • Uchikomi & Kakarigeiko
  • Waza & Jigeiko

Tuesday night has a similar structure as Sunday, without the bokken practice.

Thursdays

Kendo

2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month
7:00PM - 8:30PM

Intermediate - Advanced Practice

Thursday kendo practices are reserved for people already in armor who are familiar with waza and need less explanation when practicing drills. The agenda may vary depending on attendance or upcoming events like competition, testing, or hosting visitors.


Iaido

2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month
6:00PM - 7:00PM

1st, 3rd, and 5th Thursdays of the month
7:00PM - 8:30PM

The agenda is set by Kozawa sensei and Fukumoto sensei. Practice is often joined by other iaidoka in the PNKF community.