Our film shoot was to take place at the Nippon Budokan training center in Katsuura by the Chiba coastline. This is an annual seminar organized by the Japan Jukendo Federation.
Jukendo is similar to Kendo but the shinai is now a wooden rifle. The original Jukenjitsu was taught at the Toyama military academy in Tokyo around the Meiji period when Japan modernized its army. Modern jūkendō uses a mokujū, a wooden replica of a rifle with an attached and blunted bayonet at the end, in place of an actual rifle. Training incorporates kata (patterns), two-person drills, and competitive matches using mokujū and protective armor. The three main target areas are the heart, throat, and lower left side of the opponent. Our instructor was Kuwahara sensei and is the last remaining 9th dan in Japan. Each Jukendoka wears their dan grade on their arm as a badge.
Kuwahara sensei is an incredible 88 years old – that is not a misprint. He still teaches a full day seminar be it with small breaks when he sits motionless on his chair. (Shown above teaching in the center). It is a very exciting martial art to watch and also much better to take part in. There was just one female taking part… a 5th dan who started practice at the age of five!
This Jukendo will be featured as part of our upcoming Budo: way of Martial Arts series which is in eight episodes.