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Kihon is a japanese term that means ‘basics’ or ‘fundamentals’. In kendo, it comprises a set of movements repeated during almost every class.

These movements are oriented to teach the skills needed to make proper cuts and face an opponent. The main elements to focus on during kihon practice are as described by the All Japan Kendo Federation (AJKF) are:

  1. Shisei (Posture)
  2. Kamae (Guard or stance) and metsuke (eye level)
  3. Kamae-kata (the way of drawing the bokuto/shinai) and osame-kata (the way of putting away the bokuto/shinai)
  4. Ashi-sabaki (footwork)
  5. Suburi (Swinging the shinai)
  6. Kakegoe (vocalization)
  7. Ma-ai (to stablish a proper distance between us and our opponent)
  8. Kihon no uchi-kata (way of hitting), tsuki-kata (way of thrusting) and uke-kata (way of receiving and giving the hits)
  9. Kiri-kaeshi (Continuous strike to the centre, right-left men)
  10. Tai-atari (Colliding with the opponent)
  11. Tsuba-zeriai (Fighting close with the sword guards)
  12. Zan-shin (Proper physical and mental posture maintained after the cut)


In order to acquire the feeling that the shinai is an actual katana, the bokken (a solid wooden sword) is used to execute a set of different movements called bokuto niyoru kendo kihon waza keiko hou, which can be translated as:  “Method for study the basic kendo techniques through the use of bokken. The set is comprised by 9 kata reviewing all the possible movements in kendo. The first 4 are direct attacts「Shikake-waza (しかけ技)」meanwhile the last 5 correspond to counter attacts 「Oji-waza (おじ技)

  1. Kihon Ichi Ippon uchi no waza (基本一 一本打の技): Simple cuts [men, kote, dou, tsuki]
  2. Kihon Ni Renzoku waza (Ni-Sandan no waza) (基本二 連続技 (二・三段の技)): Two continuous cuts [kote-men]
  3. Kihon San Harai waza (基本三 払い技): [harai men]
  4. Kihon Yon Hiki waza (基本四 引き技): [hiki dou]
  5. Kihon Go Nuki waza (基本五 抜き技): [men nuki dou]
  6. Kihon Roku Suriage waza (基本六 すり上げ技): [kote suriage men] The technique should be performed using the ura (right side) of the sword
  7. Kihon Nana Debana waza (基本七 出ばな技): [Debana kote]
  8. Kihon Hachi Kaeshi waza (基本八 返し技): [men kaeshi dou]
  9. Kihon Kyu Uchiotoshi waza (基本九 打ち落とし技): [dou uchiotoshi men]

The video shows all the bokuto ni yoru kendo kihon waza keiko ho (starting at 8:00). Although it is in Japanese, it is a good resource to learn the movements by doing mitori geiko.