Tendo-ryu at the Shubukan

The All Japan Naginata Federation has a Saturday class for children, a Thursday class for adults, and classroom instruction on Saturdays, but it also offers old koryu-style training in Tendo-ryu on Tuesdays. Master naginata instructor Yasuko Kimura is the seventeenth-generation soke, or style head, of Tendo-ryu.

Observing naginata

Naginata competitions involve sparring matches (individual or group) where competitors wear protective masks and attempt to strike designated targets, and performance matches, which are either shikake-oji performances designed to showcase combinations of basic movements and techniques, or All Japan Naginata Federation kata, which are refined forms designated by the organization to show traditional naginata techniques. Competitions are one-on-one, with each member attempting to demonstrate superior technique.

Sparring matches

Naginata matches are held between two competitors, who execute techniques in an effort to accurately and quickly strike one of five designated targets: the face (either the front or sides), the wrists, either side of the torso, the shins  (inside or outside), and the throat. Basic techniques include furiage (overhead strikes), mochikae (swapping grip before attacking), furikaeshi (spinning overhead), kurikomi (shortening reach), and kuridashi (extending reach). Opponents move quickly to strike openings at full power. Winners typically have a better understanding of timing and distance.

There are two types of matches—individual and group.

There are typically three matches in a set, with the first one to get two valid points (yuko-datotsu) within the time limit declared the winner. If neither competitor reaches two points, the match goes into overtime and the first point wins. Matches are three minutes long and can be extended once by two minutes. Matches for competitors age 60 and over are two minutes long with one minute of overtime.

Matches are judged by three referees, two of which must call a valid point in order for the competitor to score. The referees hold a flag in each hand—one red and one white—and raise it diagonally for the competitor they believe has scored a point. They can also indicate that they do not think a point was valid by waving both flags in front of them. The decisions of the judges cannot be challenged.

Performance matches

Performances matches consist of some of the designated forms among the All Japan Naginata Federation kata and shikake-oji performances. They are done one-one-one with each competitor attempting to demonstrate superior technique. Performance matches are designed to encourage both refinement of naginata technique while popularizing the correct practice of the art.

Judges look at the balance of posture, dress, attitude, vocalizations, breathing, and emotion in each competitor’s performance as well as the accuracy and intensity with which strikes are executed, zanshin (extended focus), maai (distance), angle of cuts, focus, and rational selection of technique. They also evaluate the overall impact of the performance on the viewer.

Naginata techniques train practitioners to seamlessly integrate their energy, their weapon, and their physical body as one. Dynamic movements punctuated by powerful kiai yells develop an energetic spirit and powerful focus capable of withstanding difficulties. Naginata also stresses respect for one’s opponents, with courtesy and etiquette allowing competitors to trust one another in battle. It is even said that naginata “begins and ends with courtesy”, as esteem for one’s opponent naturally develops along with physical grace and elegance. This is the essence of naginata practice.

Performance matches are judged by five referees holding red and white flags. They look impartially at the competitors to determine which has the better energy and regulation movements in their technique. The competitor who receives the majority of flags wins the match. 

Note: Excerpts taken from the All Japan Naginata Federation website

the All Japan Naginata Federation website

Training details

Instructor

Yasuko Kimura
Specializes in: Head (men) strikes

Times

Tendo-ryu

Tuesdays 1:30–3:30 PM (beginner class), 3:30–7:30 PM

Adults

Thursday 6:00–8:00 PM

Children

Saturdays 9:30–11:30 AM

Classroom instruction

Saturdays 6:00–8:00 PM (children and parents may attend together)

Location

Shubukan dojo

Tuition

¥4,000/month

Tendo-ryu only: ¥3,000/month

Open to

Ages 5 and up (must be at least nencho level in preschool)

Required gear

Uniform top (dogi), hakama, and naginata

Note: Loaners are available for beginning students

Approximate pricing

  • Uniform (dogi) and hakama: ¥10,000
  • Naginata: ¥5,000
  • Protective gear: ¥50,000 (full set)

Activities and events

Competitions, joint training sessions, Hono-enbu demonstrations, etc.

 

Dojo schedule, FAQ

Children’s class

Saturdays

8:30 Assembly

9:30 Warmups
Basic strikes, practice putting on masks, etc.
Two hours of training with breaks in between

11:30 Training ends

FAQ

Q1. Can I try out a class?

A1. Yes. Please come to watch a class first.

Q2. Can I practice All Japan Naginata kata (in the adult class) together with Tendo-ryu style?

A2. Yes, you can join both training sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Even in this case, the monthly fee will be ¥4,000 (for adults).

Contact information

Please contact us by phone, fax, or email if you have any questions about watching, trying out, or joining a training session.

Email

inquiry@syubukan.info

Fax

  • From overseas: +81-72-773-1431
  • From within Japan: 072-773-1431

Please send your name and contact information along with your inquiry.

If you would like to join the dojo or watch a class, please indicate the art (naginata, kendo, or iaido) that you are interested in.

Phone

  • From overseas: +81-72-773-1431
  • From within Japan: 072-773-1431

Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday through Saturday from 9:00 AM–3:00 PM (until 1:00 PM on Saturdays). Closed on Sundays and public holidays.