Bokuto Ni Yoru Kendo Kihon-Waza Keiko-Ho (木刀による剣道基本技稽古法) – Tips to Help Memorize Their Order and Resources

I wrote this article as an aid for me to learn the “Practice Methods of Basic Kendo Techniques with a bokuto (wooden sword)” developed by the All Japan Kendo Federation (AJKF).  It may be useful for others as well.  Our dojo recently started learning and practicing this keiko-ho (Practice Method) consisting of nine forms – prompted by new guidelines published in April 2019 by the All United States Kendo Federation (AUSKF) [AUSKF_Bokuto].  Starting in 2020, 3rd kyu candidates will be required to perform Keiko-ho 1 to 4 and 2nd kyu candidates, the complete set from 1 to 9.

Here’s some tips to aid in memorizing their order and some resources in terms of Videos, Books and Articles.

Tips to Help Memorize Their Order

Part of the challenge for me is in memorizing the sequence of the Keiko-ho.  Here’s some insights that may help:

  • As explained in [Quinlan_KataBokutoWaza, p. 49] [TriangleKendo_Bokuto], the first four are classified as Shikake-waza (techniques to initiate an attack) and the last five as Oji-waza (techniques to counter an attack).
    • The four Shikake-waza consist of:  1) Single-strikes: men, kote, do and tsuki, 2) an example of multiple-strikes:  kote-men, 3) an example of sweeping the opponent’s (motodachi‘s) sword aside before striking: harai-men and 4) an example of striking while moving away from the opponent:  hiki-men.
      • This seems to be in order of increasing difficulty and a natural order of teaching them to a beginner.
    • The five Oji-waza consist of: 1) an example of nuki-waza (a dodging-technqiue):  men nuki-do, 2) an example of suriage-waza (a parrying technique of re-directing the opponent’s shinai as it comes in):  kote suriage-men, 3) an example of debana-waza* (a pre-emptive technique): debana kote, 4) a kaeshi-waza (receiving and countering strike): men kaeshi-do and, finally, 5) an example of uchi-otoshi-waza (striking-down technique):  do uchi-otoshi-men.
      • For the Oji-waza, I’d roughly categorize the first three as techniques with little to no blocking and the last two with full blocking.
      • For the first three Oji-waza, the techniques seem to be increasingly more pre-emptive in nature where the kakarite‘s** strike is closer and closer to the launching point of the motodachi‘s attack***:
        • The first where the kakarite strikes the motodachi‘s do when the motodachi is close to completing a men-strike (one of the furthest targets for the motodachi).
        • The second where the kakarite strikes the motodachi when the motodachi is close to completing a kote-strike (the closest target for the motodachi).  This technique includes a re-directing of the motodachi‘s shinai.
        • And the third where the kakarite strikes the motodachi when the motodachi is about to launch a men-strike and has hardly budged before getting struck.

* Debana-waza is a technique of striking the opponent just as he or she is about to attack.  One potential point of contention should be noted.  Debana-waza is classified as a Shikake-waza according to [SCKF_Debana] and [Kendo-Guide_Techniques] (which cites the “Kendo-Physical Education Textbook” by AJKF).

** kakarite (掛手) refers to the person demonstrating the various Shikake and Oji waza (techniques).

*** And more indicative of the ability for the kakarite to take more quickly the sen (先), i.e. the initiative [Noma, Sec. 24 “Sen (the initiative”), p. 53] and the rather impressive ability “to anticipate what your opponent will do”  [Kendo-Guide_Sen].


There are many resources available on-line.  Here’s some samples that I have found helpful.


[AUSKF_Bokuto] “Bokuto ni yoru kihon keiko ho requirements,” AUSKF, April 15, 2019.

[Kendo-Guide_Techniques] Mashiro Imafuji, “Kendo Techniques Guide,”

[Kendo-Guide_Sen] “Kendo Terminology: Sen ‘Sen no sen’ ‘Sen sen no sen’ ‘Go no sen’,”

[Noma] Noma Hisashi (1910-1939), The Kendo Reader (PDF, 55 pages).

[Quinlan_KataBokutoWaza] Stephen D. Quilan, Nihon Kendo no Kata & Kihon Bokuto Waza, 4th ed., Kingston Kendo Club, May 19, 2014.

[SCKF_Debana] SCKF, “Advanced Concepts – Waza”

[TriangleKendo_Bokuto] “Bokuto Ni Yoru Kendo Kihon Waza Keiko Ho, Basic Kendo Practice Methods Using a Bokuto,”, (PDF, 10 pages).

Keywords:  Shinsa, Remember, Memory, How to, Kata

Copyright 2019

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s