Kendo Tips From Sumi Sensei


Last weekend (June 10 — 12) the 7th International Kendo Tournament “Kharkiv Cup” took place in Ukraine. Masatake Sumi sensei (8 dan, Hanshi) with a group of 7-th dan senseis from Europe hold the seminar. That was a great experience for everybody to learn from such a high level senseis.

Unfortunately it is impossible to write down everything said by senseis. But here are some probably main points from this seminar (I was making notes during every break, so I hope the notes maximally meet the reality since I hadn’t time to forget).


Kendo Tip 1. Forget about how to run away

When you are in front of your opponent the important things are:

  • Step forward
  • The strike
  • Step backward

When you are striking and running away from the opponent shouting “Me-e-e-e-e-e-e-en!!!” – it is not kendo. In kendo we do not learn how to run away.

If you strike and your opponent turns sideways facing at you, it is dangerous. In this case you should go through opponent. (Otherwise opponent can counterattack you.)

Kendo Tip 2. Hold your shinai correctly

In chudan no kamae our grip is relaxed. In the top end position we grip hard immediately. Then the strike is relaxed.

Kendo Tip 3. Quickly lift your shinai and then strike relaxed

If we divide the strike into 2 phases, the 1st one is the quickest – lifting the shinai up. After that grip hard and then again relaxed grip during lowering the shinai down (striking).

Kendo Tip 4. Suri ashi is a good way to train your posture

Not to lose you posture, use your butt muscles.

Kendo Tip 5. Motodachi’s work in uchikomi geiko

In uchikomi geiko motodachi should keep center. When kakarite approaches motodachi should make an opening with a sharp and quick movement.
(An emphasis is made on the making an opening maximally sharply and only after kakarite approached.)

Kendo Tip 6. Hands near the tsuba

If you want to lose the habit of moving your left hand forward and at the same time pulling the right one backward during the strike (please see the picture below) then try to use that kind of grip during the training: both hands are near the tsuba. Strike from this position to train your hands to remember the correct movement during the strike.


After the tournament we had a chance to get know about our main mistakes made during shiai. Sumi sensei made comments on the competition during the closing ceremony. Here are videos:


Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Olga Klochkova, Vladimir Klochkov


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