Chikako Kawasaki sensei

Kendo Monochrome - Interview

1. When and where did you start kendo?
I joined the kendo club when I entered university.

2. Who have been your main or most influential teachers?
Yamanouchi-sensei (山之内成豊) during university. Toda-sensei (Meijo-kan) and Okada-sensei (after I restarted).

3. Why did you begin studying kendo?
I had practiced the piano until I was a high school student. I had a desire to become something. When I first saw Kendo practitioners wearing the men and making a loud voice, I thought that “this is what I want to do!”

4. In what ways does the study of kendo benefit you?
I have practiced the piano since I was a child. Playing the piano is about making music not by facing an opponent, but by facing yourself. Maybe, at the last stage, kendo is also the fight within oneself. But it is important to use the shinai to communicate effectively with the opponent. Recently, I began to feel the importance of “wa” (harmony). The most important thing in playing Kendo is to breath with the opponent. The feeling to cherish my colleagues became stronger.

5. What do you feel have been your greatest contributions toward budo?
Now, I teach kendo to my husband and my children. I want them to be people that don’t give priority to winning or losing, but instead think a great deal about reisetsu (courtesy).

6. What was the most difficult grade you ever passed (or didn’t pass) and why?
Now, I am taking the 7th grade. I feel it is the most difficult grade because if I don’t watch the opponent well, I can’t do my best kendo.

7. At your current level of kendo, what are the main points that you are currently working on?
Recently, I strongly feel the importance of the shape of kendo kata (剣道形), and practice it.

8. What is your tokui-waza (“go to technique”)?
Tobikomi-men (jumping men).

9. Which direction would you like to see kendo go toward in the future?
It is important to think about winning or losing at the match, but I want people to think deeply of courtesy in kendo (I especially think that children don’t observe courtesy correctly).

10. Do you have a motto or favourite phrase?
Nothing special.

Translated by Ami Aniyama