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.

Effective immediately – Weekly COVID-19 Testing Required for Participants 13-19 Years Old.

Recently the CDC concluded that much of the recent surge in Covid cases is related to youth sports activities.


The dojo’s attorney has reviewed the applicable Michigan Department of Health and Human Service’s orders and interim guidance. Paragraph 6.f. of the March 19, 2021 order states, “Beginning on April 2, 2021, gatherings for the purpose of sports practice and competition involving persons age 13 to 19 are prohibited unless all such persons participate in a testing program as specified in the MDHHS publication entitled Interim Guidance for Athletics issued March 20, 2021.” 

The interim guidance requires that all our members age 13 to 19 must get tested for Covid at least once per week in order to participate effective April 2, 2021. 

Effective immediately – For all participants between the age of 13 and 19 proof of a negative result test within a week of any practice session will be allowed to participate.


At the reception for each of class, we will collect your declaration of the date of Covid-19 negative testing and signature from a parent for all applicable members in order to meet this guideline.

Reminder: Wednesday and Saturday In-Person Practices

Starting on 4/7/2021 (WED) in-person practice will resume at the Northville Community Center from 7:00PM – 9:00PM.

We will also continue our Saturday in-person practice at the Plymouth PARC from 5:00PM – 7:00PM.

  1. Masks must be worn by all participants
  2. Complete the updated waiver here
  3. Print and sign the practice participation form here
  4. Wear exercise clothes (Please wear dogi / hakama once you have them)
  5. Bring your regular gear (shinai, bokuto, dou, tare etc)

With this re-opening of weekday in-person practice, we will return to two in-person practice sessions per week. To support that we are also returning to the monthly tuition system. Paid but unused dues as of March 2020 will be credited to each member/family.  Tuition dues will be collected at the in-person practice sessions.  Cash will not be collected as of SAT Apr 3rd at PARC in Plymouth. 

Details about membership and tuition can be found on the “How to Join the Detroit Kendo Dojo ” page.

Wednesday and Saturday In-Person Practice Resumes with COVID Precautions

Check-in and a health questionnaire is required for all attendees

We are happy to announce that Saturday practice sessions are resuming as of 2/6/2021 and Wednesday practice sessions are resuming as of 4/7/2021. Everyone’s safety is the main priority and we are taking precautions such as proper distancing and requiring masks for all attendees. Also, we are taking 5 minute breaks for every 30 minutes of practice.

Please check the document below for detailed guidelines.

Every member must complete the AUSKF-Covid-questionnaire document for each session.

Proper distancing is also required

You can find the upcoming dates by visiting the calendar . To find out more please contact detroitkendodojo@gmail.com

We look forward to seeing you, safely, and appreciate your understanding and cooperation.

Outdoor Practice Every Saturday Until 10/24/2020 @ 4:30PM

Hello everyone,

After a long delay we will be conducting an outdoor practice tomorrow at 4:30PM at the Novi Meadows Elementary School on the Soccer Field.

Practice dates are for every Saturday in October EXCEPT 10/31 (10/03, 10/10, 10/17, 10/24)

The cost to attend is $5/person

Schedule

4:30PM – Practice begins

5:10PM – 10 minute break

5:20PM – Practice resumes

6:00PM – Practice ends

Requirements

  1. Masks must be worn by all participants
  2. Complete the updated waiver here
  3. Print and sign the practice participation form here
  4. Wear exercise clothes (dogi / hakama not required)
  5. Bring your shinai and bokuto (if you have one)
  6. Do not bring bogu (men, kote, dou)

We are looking forward to seeing you!

COVID-19 and Continuing Practice with the Detroit Kendo Dojo

After a long period of remote video training we are preparing to conduct in-person training in the near future.

Because of the new risks associated with COVID-19 we have updated our Liability / Photo waiver. You will need to complete the waiver again for yourself and/or any participants under age 18.

To-Do

  1. Complete the Liability / Photo waiver for yourself and/or any underage participants in your family here
  2. Before EVERY practice print and complete the AUSKF COVID-19 Questionnaire a physical copy is required each time

To safely meet and train there are many new requirements which will also be outlined in the next few weeks. Please continue to check https://detroitkendodojo.com for updates.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding!

Update regarding COVID19 (Coronavirus)

Announcement dated March 13th, 2020

Last night we cancelled keiko, considering that many local school systems decided to cancel classes. Here is what we have decided with Tagawa sensei’s approval:

1. We are cancelling keiko for the rest of March. The dojo will announce about April onward as soon as decisions are made.
2. Each DKD member needs to refrain from any Kendo keiko in groups and participation to seminars or tournaments.
3. We highly encourage each individual to wait to take any promotion test, until our normal keiko resumes.

It is a very unfortunate time, but we should not panic. We need to stay calm and help each other whenever any one of us needs help. Please do not hesitate to contact the dojo or any instructor, if you have any questions or concerns or need any support.

Regards,

Detroit Kendo

General Information – 22nd Detroit Open Kendo Taikai

On February 15th and 16th, 2020, the Detroit Kendo Dojo will host the 22nd Annual Detroit Open Kendo Seminar and Tournament.

These events are our flagship endeavor and are open to all members under the International Kendo Federation and they have, since its inception, drawn thousands of kenshi from across the United States, Canada and Japan to southeastern Michigan.   We hope to use this event to advance our mission of creating learning opportunities for all generations in the art of kendo, as well as enhancing cross-cultural understanding and relationships.

Special Guest Sensei

The special guest for Tournament and Seminar Instructor is Takumi Chikamoto Sensei, Kendo Kyoshi 8 Dan from Aichi Prefecture Police Department.  He is the winner of the Emperor Cup in the 51st All Japan Kendo Championship in 2003.

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Important Notice – Participant requirement to furnish own “Mejirushi” / “Tasuki”

Following practice of FIK and AUSKF, all participants need to bring their own (or their own dojo’s) “Mejirushi” (a pair of red and white strips used during matches, another name is “Tasuki”).  The host organization will not prepare nor put on “Mejirushi” for participants.

Not having Mejirushi at the time of a match will result in disqualification. We have notified Mazkiya USA and Maruyama, two scheduled on-site bogu venders, of the anticipated needs for Mejirushi, however please order well in advance, as needed.

  1. Schedule

Sat Feb 15th    

8:30 AM           Doors Open

9:30 AM          Seminar Begins

2:30 PM           Midwest Kendo Federation Promotion Tests Begin

Sun Feb 16th      

6:30 AM           Doors Open

7:30 AM           Opening Ceremony, Tournament Begins

  1. Venue is the same for all events

Seaholm High School

2436 West Lincoln, Birmingham, MI 48009

https://maps.google.com/?cid=17674327666501385252

Parking entrance is on Cranbrook Rd, north of the school building.

  1. Seminar and Tournament Registration

Due Date: Saturday, January 18th, 2020

https://detroitkendodojo.com/2020-detroit-open-taikai-registration-form/

For individual divisions, registration is per individual, not per dojo.  Please refer to the appendix at the bottom of this page and register yourself.  The chart and entry rules in the appendix take precedence, however the on-line registration system may allow different entries.   For team registration, Detroit Kendo Dojo highly recommends appointment of team representative as soon as possible.   The representative needs to submit on-line team roster(s) before the registration due date, Sat January 18th.

  1. Midwest Federation Kendo Promotion Test

Tests are for Kendo 4-Dan rank and below.   For applications, please use the link below:

https://midwestkendofederation.com/promotions/

  1. Hotel

A special group rate is available at the Detroit Marriott Southfield, which is close to the event venue. The group rate is $104/night for a two-bed room and this rate includes a $32 value 2 complimentary breakfast passes per room per night stayed.  This is a significant discount to the other hotels in the area and we encourage you to take advantage of it.  A special arrangement was made with the hotel that breakfast will be served starting at 6 am on the tournament Sunday.

Click here to use the special registration link

APPENDIX

  1. Those who can participate in multiple divisions (i.e. Senior + 5-Dan+) can choose to only participate in one division. Participating in multiple divisions is not mandatory.
  2. Qualifications for “Sr. Youth” division

①     “Mudan” status is required. A Youth with Dan status cannot participate Sr. Youth, and he or she must participate in one of the Adult Ranking divisions (1 and 2 Dan).

②     Female Youth players with Dan status can attend both the Women’s division and one of the Adult Ranking divisions (1 and 2 Dan).

③     The above requirement is not the same for Team divisions.  Youth with Dan rank can choose either Sr. Youth Team or Adult Team.

  1. Qualifications for “Women’s division”

Dan status is required.  Mudan is not allowed.

  1. Qualifications for “Senior” division

A)    Men – 50 years old or up

B)    Women – 45 years old or up for women

①     Senior females with Dan rank must participate in the Women’s division and they can choose to either participate in either the “Senior” division or one of the Adult Ranking divisions (1 Dan through 5 Dan+).  If they choose the Senior division, they cannot participate in any of the Adult Ranking divisions, and vice versa.

②     Senior females with Dan cannot participate in both the Senior and Dan divisions, opting out women.

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Individual Registration – 2020 Detroit Open Taikai Registration Form – Individual Registration is now closed.

Team Registration – Dojo Representatives Only – 2020 Detroit Open Taikai Team Registration Form