2024 Detroit Open Kendo Tournament Announcement

To All Kendo Dojos and Kenshi

We are pleased to inform you that the 26th Annual Detroit Open Kendo Tournament and Kendo Seminar will be held on Saturday, February 17th and Sunday, February 18th, 2024 so mark your calendars!

The venue for both days is Seaholm High School in Birmingham, Michigan. (Map link below)

After the Kendo seminar on Saturday there will be a Kyu/Dan examination.

Kyu/Dan examination is for all Kyu levels and Kendo 1-Dan through 4-Dan.

Seaholm High School


In mid-December, we will send you detailed information about the testing/tournament registration website and our special guest instructor for the Kendo seminar.

We are looking forward to seeing you in February!

Best regards,

Detroit Kendo Dojo

Tournament/Seminar Committee

Japan Festival 2023

We were honored to be invited to this year’s Japan Festival sponsored by the Japan Business Society of Detroit at Novi High School.

Youtube Video of our Performance

Thank you to Shitani-san for taking the video and to Nabeshima-san for taking the photos below. It was a great experience and we hope to see you again next year!

Detroit Open Taikai 2023 Announcement

Hello fellow Kenshi!

We are excited to announce the annual Detroit Taikai will take place on the weekend of February 18th and 19th 2023 at Seaholm High School.

We are honored to have Kendo Kyoshi 8-Dan Komeda Toshiro Sensei who will be leading a seminar on Saturday the 18th at 8:30AM.


Kyushu Gakuin High School and Chuo University


Kyushu Gakuin High School Teacher

Kyushu Gakuin High School Coaching

Works as Kendo Head Coach at Kyushu Gakuin and led the high school team to achieve the following results

Japan National Inter-High School Kendo Championship

Team 1st place 8 times

Individual 1st place 4 times

Japan National High School Selection Kendo Tournament

Team 1st place 10 times

Japan National Gyokuryuki Kendo Tournament

Team 1st place 10 times

Japan National Sports Festival, Kendo Tournaments

Team 1st place

Individual Kendo Results

The All Japan National Kendo Championship

Participated 3 times

The Japan East West Kendo Competition

Participated 3 times

Japan National Sports Festival, Kendo Tournaments


All Japan Teacher Kendo Championships 

Team 1st place

This is a rare opportunity to work with a distinguished sensei and should not be missed.

Seminar Schedule

7:30-8:30 Seminar Registration

8:30-8:50 Seminar Opening Ceremony

9:00-11:30 Seminar Main Portion

11:30-12:00 Individual Practice for Seminar Instruction

12:00-12:45 Lunch Time

1:00 Rank Testing Check-In

1:30 Onward – Rank Testing

Hotel Discount Available! (Includes breakfast meal vouchers)

We have secured a discounted rate at a the Detroit Marriott Southfield hotel which is near the Taikai. You can use the link below to purchase a room at the discounted rate for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Breakfast vouchers for 2 or 4 per room night are included. Breakfast is also served from 6:30 am on Saturday (Seminar) and 6:00 am Sunday (tournament) for your convenience.

Book your group rate for Detroit Kendo Tournament

Registration links for the tournament and seminar will be sent out soon. We are looking forward to seeing you and practicing Kendo together.

Mejirushi / Tasuki

Participants need to bring their own mejirushi / tasuki to the tournament. There will not be any provided.

Example of mejirushi / tasuki

Tournament / Seminar Registration Link

Registration is now closed.

If you have any questions please contact tournament@detroitkendodojo.com for more information.

How To Make A Tenugui Mask & Kendo Practice Heat Precautions

We would like to remind everyone that for participation in dojo practices, we ask that all members wear a double-mask to ensure strong transmission mitigation.  We encourage a mesh mask next to the face and an additional fabric mask covering the mesh mask. This allows respiration, yet ensures appropriate exhaled droplet containment and inhalation prevention.  When using kendogu (wearing men), we ask that you wear a mask on the inside as well as a rigid faceshield/mouthshield to avoid exhalation/inhalation of droplets. 

For those that are interested in making their own fabric masks, instructions are below showing how to sew your own mask using tenugui (bandana/cloth) material. Thank you very much to dojo member Ishida-san for her adaptation of the instructions from the AJKF guidelines!

  1. Cut out 2 of 3 cm strips from the bottom of the Tenugui.  Then cut the rest of tenugui in half vertically.
  2. Fold in half of the 3cm strip horizontally, then fold 0.5cm of both long sides inside. Iron the strip then sews both long sides together.  This will be attached to the mask in the process ④.
  3. Fold the tenugui in half with the backside out. Then sew 1cm from the outside leaving one side open. Turn over from the inside then iron it.
  4. Sew the strip on process ② to the tenugui on process ③. Making sure the center of the strip and the center of the tenugui matches so the strip will be attached to tenugui evenly. Finish with iron.

We recognize that wearing a double-mask can contribute to difficulty in breathing and heat stress.  Please find below useful information regarding heat stress in kendo:

English (credit to the Associación Ecuatoriana de Kendo) -> KENDOECUADOR.ORG :: Asociación Ecuatoriana de Kendo » Hyperthermia in Kendo «

Japanese (credit to the All Japan Kendo Federation) -> 熱中症 | 全日本剣道連盟 AJKF (kendo.or.jp)

As always, safety is our top priority. Let’s work together to stay safe and participate in our sport!

Shinai Maintenance

Here are some photos from our most recent shinai maintenance session. As a reminder – all members should check their shinai before and after each practice session for any elements that could be dangerous. This includes splinters, broken/cracked slats, loose strings/bindings and overall condition.

We conduct periodic training sessions for shinai maintenance and other equipment maintenance.

Safe equipment is required for participation in kendo and at our dojo. If you have any questions please reach out to the sensei at the dojo; they are always glad to assist you.

8/14/21 Family Taikai and BBQ Photos

Here are some photos from the recent Family Taikai and BBQ event. Thanks to everyone who participated especially the volunteers! We really appreciate your support!

Here are a few photos from the event.

Group Photo after the BBQ (Masks were only removed for the short time to take the photo)
Kids participating in watermelon splitting (すいか割り)
Some of our great volunteers helping feed everyone
A Kendo Men pinata! A first for our club
A shot from the tournament. Masks are required for all participants and staff at all times.
Thank you again to the volunteers!
Pre-tournament preparation

Guidance for Kendo Matches (試合) During Covid-19

Recently Kunihide Kota Sensei, a Kendo Sensei in Japan, outlined new guidelines for having matches while respecting Covid-19 restrictions. Please take a moment to read the guidance below. Also, a video of his speech in Japanese is available at the bottom of the page.

Key points from Koda-sensei:

  1. Kendo has a high risk of infection due to the nature of doing kiai(expressing spirit with a loud voice), and being at close proximity.  Hence, we will mitigate this risk by:
    • Wearing masks
    • Avoiding tsubazeriai (close sword contact at the sword hilt) as much as possible
  2. We also want to aspire to elevate the level of kendo shiai to the best possible, ideal state of kendo.  Tsubazeriai is one of the most critical aspects.  As this is shiai, you must be dedicated to the shobu (win/loss result of a match).  However, the manner in which you do this should be fair and sportsmanlike.  Try not to compete at the boundary of fair play (close to being penalized by hansoku), but compete fair and square with your kendo.  To this point, many times we see a lot of tsubazeriai within the shiai, to the point that 2/3 of the shiai time is spent in tsubazeriai.  We should aspire to do kendo at the tachiai no maai (sword tips crossed).  We should do seme (advancing, forcing an opportunity to attack) at this maai (distance between opponents), close in, back-out, capture the opportunity.  This is the kendo we should be aspiring to and cultivating.  If we can develop this at the high school level, we can expect that this will continue through university as well as through adulthood.  What is most important is that the shiaisha (match participants) do this proactively.  It should not be the judges enforcing this.  If the judges enforce, it would mean numerous wakare (separation ordered by judges) or hansoku (penalties).  Tsubazeriai is a matter of mindset and behavior. 

What this means for our matches:

  • When going into tsubazeriai, the shiaisha should in principle be going in with seme, resulting in tsubazeriai.  Oftentimes, shiaisha enter into tsubazeriai with no seme, in a defensive position.  This means that that the shiaisha has declined to do shobu and is only looking to avoid being struck.  This type of action should result in hansoku.
  • Now, if tsubazeriai happens.  Whether it is as a result of seme, or as a result of an attempt at yukodatotsu (valid strike that would result in a point) , at the moment of tsubazeriai there should be an attempt at a yukodatotsu utilizing waza (proper techniques).
  • In the case that a waza is not possible, both sides should acknowledge that there was no opportunity and agree to do wakare to the point where the kensaki (sword tips) is parted.  Shiaisha should not have to wait for the judge to call wakare. 
  • When doing wakare, shiaisha should not open their kamae (stance) or lower their kamae.  It is difficult to gauge distance if the shinai is not in kamae.  Both sides should do wakare with the same kigurai (mindset) and timing.  There are some cases where one side initiates the wakare with one step, but refrains from going back any further, waiting for the other to go back.  As soon as the other competitor takes a step back, the initiator takes the opportunity to strike.  This type of wakare is not considered wakare with equal kigurai.
  • Wakare should be done swiftly, with both sides keeping the shinogi (side of the sword) together (continuing to maintain spirit between the blades).
  • When doing wakare, you should not open your kamae, lower your kamae or do gyaku-kosa (reverse crossing of shinai).  If shiaisha are doing kobushizeriai (fist to fist) rather than tsubazeriai (hilt to hilt), then this is incorrect and can easily lead to gyaku-kosa.
  • If your hands are held too high in a defensive position, it is likely that this is incorrect tsubazeriai and can lead to gyaku-kosa, and improper wakare.
  • Do not do harai waza (sweeping strikes) or maki waza (spinning strikes) when doing wakare.
  • Do not take the moment of doing wakare to strike.  Both sides should have agreed that there was no opportunity at the moment of tsubazeriai and agreed to do wakare.  To strike at this point is cowardly and should be counted as hansoku or will not count as yukodatotsu.
  • Of course, there will be cases that are difficult to ascertain.  One could argue that the strike was not upon doing wakare but still at the point of tsubazeriai.  If it is clear that both sides signaled to do wakare and one side took advantage to strike at that moment, it is hansoku.  However, if it is difficult to judge, the shinpan (judge / referee) should call gogi (conference with judges) to discuss.
  • During the gogi, the shinpan should discuss whether the strike was intentional (take advantage of the wakare situation) or if it was coincidental.  If coincidental, no hansoku, no yukodatotsu.
  • If shiai follow these guidelines, there should be good shiai.  In the recent All Japan Championships, all shiaisha were able to proactively do wakare and there was not a single case of wakare due to tsubazeriai.
  • When doing wakare, there is no need to try to avoid being struck, as strikes will not count as yukodatotsu.
  • Question:  What happens at the line?  If one person has their back to the line, the other competitor should back up.  If shinpan calls wakare and one competitor steps out, call yame and bring them back to the center with no hansoku.  If the competitors proactively do wakare and inadvertently step out of bounds, also call yame and bring them to the center with no hansoku. 
  • If the stepping out of bounds happens during regular seme or striking, then this is a different story and unrelated to wakare or tsubazeriai.  Of course, the shiaisha should do their best to try and avoid stepping out of bounds.  Shinpan should also be aware and attentive to cases where yame should be called to avoid unnecessary physical contact at the line.

In summary, it is important for all shiaisha and shinpan to understand these guidelines and improve the quality of shiai with safety in mind.