Video: Director and editor Kai-Jae Wang; cinematography by Joe Sherman and Kai-Jae Wang; interviews by Ned Brown

Campus & Community

The way of the sword

2 min read

Wintersession offered students introduction to Japanese sword fighting

During Wintersession 2016, the Harvard-Radcliffe Kendo Club (HRKC) offered a three-day kendo crash course called “Introduction to Japanese Sword Fighting.”

One of the oldest collegiate kendo clubs in North America, HRKC is composed of undergraduates, graduate students, and other Harvard affiliates. During the Wintersession course, participants learned basic forms and techniques, and had an opportunity to engage in sparring. The concept of kendo is to discipline the human character through the application of the principles of the katana.

The equipment used in modern kendo includes the shinai, a mock bamboo sword, and bogu, or protective armor. The bogu protects the head (men), the torso (do), the hands and wrists (kote), and the groin area (tare). There are four basic strikes in kendo: strikes to the men, strikes to the kote, strikes to the do, and thrusts to the throat (tsuki). In order to be considered successful, an attack must be powerful, graceful, and spirited, according to the club’s website.

Their women’s head coach is Kaori Ota, 4th dan, and the men’s head coach is Professor Fumio Ueda, 7th dan kyoshi.

The club’s first practice for spring semester is from 7 to 8:30 p.m. today, Jan. 28., at the Malkin Athletic Center, second floor mezzanine. Equipment is provided.