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COVID-19 Keiko suspension

In light of the latest Government guidance regarding social distancing our training sessions will be suspended until further notice (effective today 18 March 2020).

Training is one of the ways we keep our minds and bodies fit and healthy so I hope we can all continue to find ways to practice safely until the situation improves.

I look forward to when I can announce that our dojo will open once more and training is re-starting.

For all our members, followers and friends I hope you and your families keep well and take care of each other.

Change of Leadership

On August 15th 2019 our Dojo Founder, Pascal Stiefenhofer, left our Dojo to begin work in a new City. We are saddened by his departure, and are deeply grateful for his generosity of spirit and sharing with us his vast knowledge and expertise of Kendo, he was the Daikokubashira (central pillar) and has left a legacy in his wake that forms the bedrock of our Dojo.

However, now we have a new energy, Pascal handed the leadership to Karl Scott, who is our new Dojo Leader. Karl brings with him diligence and commitment that will serve this new era in our Dojo very well. Karl is an exceptional Kendoshi and an individual Gold Medal Holder. We are fortunate to have him in this new role; the Dojo will flourish with his guidance.

Adam Antoszewski – 18.09.2019

A Practitioner’s Insight

I began training with Brighton Kendo Club in April 2017, I started with my Son, and my second son also now trains with BKC.
Kendo is a Martial Art I had wanted to do for many years, so I threw myself into it 100%, simply put, I love it. Pascal is an inspirational Dojo leader, his own passion for the art comes through in his teaching and it fuels enthusiasm. The senior members of the Dojo are also fantastic players, with decades of experience, as a beginner you could not wish for a better dojo.
As a Martial Art there many aspects to it that I like, however to highlight a few of the aspects; it’s standardised globally, if you go to any dojo in the world, the art remains true to it’s origins, you know what to do and how to behave, wherever you go. It means that what you learn here in Brighton is what you would do anywhere else. It’s based on a set of few simple moves.
There is an aspect of competition, some enjoy competition some don’t, but it is a very useful component to have to be able to gauge, in a live environment how your skill is developing, and what needs to be worked on. The training pulls no punches, you must be prepared to work hard.
We are fortunate in BKC to have a Suisse National Team Competitor, who is now the Suisse National Team Manager as our Dojo Leader (Pascal), further to this we have individual gold and silver medal winners, and typically come away from team competitions with at least Bronze, Silver or Gold, we are a small club that does, to everyone’s surprise, punch above it’s weight.
I have been fortunate to achieve the rank of Shodan, in other Japanese martial arts this is denoted by a black belt. In Kendo it simply means that you have shown sufficient evidence to be considered a seriously committed beginner- from experience I can confirm this (that said you don’t have to grade ever, if you don’t want to). The insight I take from this is that in Kendo it is understood to be a life-long commitment to improvement. The higher your rank the more onus there is on you to be a good representative of the art, both in your etiquette and your kendo.
As a beginner, you are given much guidance, but it is like walking in a dark room, looking for the door. Things don’t make sense at first, but as you progress the reason for things start to become revealed, and then they are logical, it’s a good process, it means that it is never dull.
There are times when the constant repetition of basics seems like overkill, but the fact is it is a very simple art, that depends wholly and completely on getting the basics right, that is, ironically, the paradox, we may want it to become more complex, more “fancy”, but the best Kendo, is only ever performed by staying true to the basics. To be at a seminar with a Hachidan (highest level) is not what you would expect, they bring you back to basic footwork, back the most basic strike, and rarely, if ever go into more complexity… always always keep it simple. The reasoning is that the most effective strike is the most perfectly timed simple movement, and that is what can take a lifetime to understand.
If you’re willing to put the work in this world has a lot to give back, the reward is a stronger body, a stronger mind, respect, and being part of a community that values and maintains the old ways…and a lot of fun will be had along the way.

Adam Antoszewski 29.01.2019

Watchet Seminar and Gradings – May 2018

This year some BKC members attended the British Kendo Association’s Watchet seminar and gradings in West Somerset
We had couple of training days on many different aspects of Kendo including correct footwork, ki ken tai ichi, kirikaeshi, kata and the concept of yuko datostu.
We also have the chance to practice kata outside in the lawn in very amazing sunny day.

Groups divided into mukyu to nikyu, Ikyu to shodan, nidan to godan and trained with the following instructors:
Ujita Yoshinobu – Kyoshi Nanadan – Special guest from Wakayama
Geoff Salmon – Kyoshi Nanadan
John O’Sullivan – Kyoshi Nanadan
Hiyama Yasayuki– Renshi Nanadan
Gary O’Donnel – Renshi Nanadan
Yoshikawa Emiko – Renshi Rokudan

We practised, learned and received lots of feed back that we used the day after.
On Sunday afternoon, we attempted our grading and all BKC kendoka passed, that was an amazing results after several weeks of gradings training
Many congratulations to:

Adam – Ikkyu
Matt – Shodan
Lorenzo – Shodan
Sung Kyu – Sandan

We would like to tank all our fellow dojo mate to help us on training and of course Pascal for sharing with us his experience and leading us to the success.
See you on Thursday night for another training session (yes we don’t rest).

Mumeshi 3s Competition – BKC Silver Medal

After the last year 3rd place, bronze medal, this year the Brighton Kendo Club joined again the Mumeshi 3s competition with two teams.

BKCA – Pascal Steifenhofer, Lorenzo Bellucci and Andre Pimentel

BKCB – Mohammed Benchekroun, Adam Antoszwski and Hiroshi Shimizu

The BKCA team manage the fight until the final versus the York University Team where the team lost for 0-1 ippon, so getting the second place and winning the Silver Medal, this is was a brilliant result happily celebrated by both teams.

Silver medalist BKCA

The over all  experience was very good and  both team manage all the fight with our usual fighting spirit , showing the best of the Brighton Kendo Club taikai experience and training.

Both BKC Team

As BKC tradition we celebrate with the competition winners…….

On the background Ben photobomb!

This victory is a results obtained thanks to all the members effort from the senior to the new comers.

Thank you every one.

Brighton Kendo Club, FAITO!!!!





[a valid point; successful execution of Kendo waza that leads to a score.]

By Sung Kyu Kim

There are certainly many ways to attack (strikes and thrust) in Kendo, but only a few count as ippon in a shiai (official match). So, what makes an ippon? There are four essential elements to make an attack an ippon.

First, you must use the correct “datotsu bu” of your shinai to attack.

[da (utsu: strikes) + totsu (tsuku: thrust) + bu (area)]

For striking attacks (kote-men-do) – the area of impact (contact) is between the sakigawa (leather covering the tip of the shinai) and nakayui (leather knot), which represents the mono uchi (the cutting part) of a katana (Japanese sword).

For thrusting attack (tsuki) – the area of impact (contact) is the sakigawa (the tip of the sword).

To get the datotsu bu right, however, you need to have a good understanding of the distance.


Second, your attack must hit the correct targets of “datotsu bui” of the opponent.

[datotsu bui: allowed areas for scoring when the opponent is in chudan and jodan no kamae]

When your opponent is on chudan no kamae – there are seven areas that you can hit.

  • 3 areas for men: sho men (centre), migi men (right), and hidari men (left)
  • 1 for tsuki: nodo tsuki (neck)
  • 2 for do: migi and hidari do
  • 1 for kote: migi kote

Source: Pictures from Hamot and Kenichi (1995) in Découvrir Le Kendo.

Source: Pictures from Hamot and Kenichi (1995) in Découvrir Le Kendo.

When your opponent is on jodan no kamae – there are nine areas that you can hit.

  • 3 areas for men: sho, migi, and hidari men
  • 2 for tsuki: nodo (neck) tsuki and mune (chest) tsuki (no longer valid)
  • 2 for do: migi and hidari do
  • 2 for kote: migi and hidari kote


Third, your attack must demonstrate correct execution of “ki-ken-tai no uchi”.

  • ki: using sufficient (that is, the right amount of) energy.
  • ken: correct handling of the sword.
  • tai: moving in with proper posture and throwing the whole body including the kiai (expressing your fighting spirit with a strong shout) into the attack.
  • no uchi: executing all the actions above in one (that is, coordinated and harmonious) movement.

Each element of ki-ken-tai no uchi is a subject of its own, and it would be too long to write them in this blog. Let’s explore these points more in detail during our practice.


Fourth, you must ensure that your attack finishes with powerful “zanshin”.

[zanshin: presence or fighting spirit that emanates from your posture, actions and movement]

Zanshin is non-physical, so it’s hard to explain plainly. But commonly, zanshin can be observed in the following actions.

  • By stepping in (or running through if conditions allow) the opponent’s centre line,
  • Your shinai and arms extended forward in face height after the attack,
  • Continuing the kiai after the attack and until you turn around and face the opponent,
  • Making sure that there is no room for the opponent to counterattack or undermine your attack.

That said, getting all the elements of ippon goes well beyond the physical ability and technicality. Yuko datotsu (making a successful ippon) comes with much practice, observation, self-reflection and of course, keiko experience. It is a self-learning experience, so always keep these points in mind when you practice. That way, every practice, every keiko, every waza, and ultimately every attack will be an opportunity to learn about and achieve ippon. In that sense, yuko datotsu is a state of body, mind and spirit.

Happy practice!

Author: Sung Kyu Kim

First Internal Kendo Examinations

Grading system in kendo

At Brighton Kendo Club Kendo (BKC) grading criteria follows the regulations defined by the British Kendo Association (BKA).

At Konami Dojo we use a grading system, which ranges from 9th kyu to 2nd Kyu with 9th kyu being the lowest grade. These grades can be obtained by BKC internal examinations. Such examinations are scheduled to take place twice a year. We are looking forward to have our first grading examination taking place on 5th September 2015.

Who can grade?

Internal examinations are open to any beginner and member of BKC. The purpose of grading is to prove achievement and progress in kendo. Grading is voluntary, and not taking an examination will not affect your kendo progress in any way.

Advanced kendo levels

Higher levels are cane be obtained by passing an examination provided by the BKA. Such events take place a few times per year at different locations. In order to take 1st kyu and any dan grade you are required to be a full member of the British Kendo Association.

Eligibility for advanced grades

Eligibility criteria for 1st kyu are a minimum age of 12 years, registration with BKA for at least 6 months of which 3 months must be a full registration.

Eligibility criteria for 1st Dan are a minimum age of 14 years, 3 months registration with BKA after receiving 1st kyu.

How to prepare for your grading?

Attend training as regularly as possible. You’ll automatically learn the things that your need to know for your exam.