Budo refers to the “martial ways” of Japan and is rooted in the bujutsu or fighting techniques of the feudal period. With the decline of the samurai class and social changes in Japan from the Meiji Restoration, traditional techniques for killing were no longer necessary, and martial arts evolved into forms of physical education focused on personal growth and discipline.

Teachings in budo emphasise the importance of cultivating physical and mental strength, courtesy to others, and unification of spirit, technique, and body. Budoka are encouraged to seek self-improvement throughout their lifetime, and to approach both winning and losing with grace and humility.

The dojo is the practice area for Japanese martial ways, and it is a space that is clean, solemn, and safe. It is here that practitioners work hard to learn the lessons of budo and apply them to their daily lives.

The special qualities of Japanese martial ways are recognized and valued by millions of people in many countries around the world. Budo has become world heritage and a medium for promoting mutual understanding and respect among different cultures.

The Kendo Mind: A Guide to Grading Successfully

by Shigematsu Kimiaki

Those who study kendo regard promotion examinations and matches as vehicles for cultivating self-discipline. Preparing to take a grading is especially motivating compared to regular training. It is, however, also a tremendous disappointment when you fail. There are those who manage to pass each examination without ever failing, and others who reach an impasse. So, what is the difference between these two groups? If you can figure this out, even just a little, you are one step closer to finding success. There are many things needed for success in an examination, not least of which is impressing the judges with resonating strikes. There is no way to achieve your goal without knowing how to accomplish this. The content of this book is based on lessons I learned from my sensei, my personal experiences in the dojo, and what I read in books and instruction manuals along the way. I hope that you will find the information in this small volume useful reference material as you tread down the path of kendo.

This link is for Amazon.com, but it can be purchased from most Amazon stores in print and Kindle formats.


Chapter 1“Strike in a way that will leave an impression on the judges…” 
1Why we need examinations
2It’s not so much the strike, 
but the seme-ai that counts
3Who will you come up against?
4Tidy appearance and proper reihō
5Sonkyo is crucial for an effective strike
6Elements of datotsu
7Your greatest weapon is your spirit
8Patience after the strike
9Keeping it together at the venue
10Keiko after the grading
Chapter 2Cultivating your own kendo philosophy
1Kirikaeshi and uchikomi foster strength
2“Two-faced” keiko
3The right attitude
4Forging ki
5Consider “kyojitsu”
6Does your kendo match your dan?
7Acknowledging insufficient strikes
8Seek and learn
9Solitary keiko
10Discipline your mind in everyday life
11The teaching of shu-ha-ri
12Instructor qualities
13Is your instruction appreciated?

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