These questions are sample questions which have been
used in the past. Future tests may use different questions. Please use
these as study guides for answering future questions.
Each applicant testing for
1st kyu and above will be required to answer any two of the three test
questions given for the rank they are testing for.
1. Name and briefly describe the five basic on-guard postures (kamae)
2. Discuss Metsuke.
3. What is zanshin?
1. List the names of all 12 All Japan Kendo Federation Iaido kata.
2. Define Mono-uchi and describe its function.
3. What is Jo-Ha-Kyu?
1. What is the purpose of chiburi?
2. Draw a simple diagram of a katana and identify the following:
d. fuchi (fuchi-gane)
h. kashira (tsuka-gashira)
3. Explain ki-ken-tai-ichi and give two examples of its application
in the All Japan Kendo Federation Iaido kata.
1. What do you hope to gain through the study of Iaido?
2. What is suki and why should you avoid its occurrence in your practice
3. What is kirioroshi? Describe its use in one All Japan Kendo Federation
1. Is it important, or is it not important to participate in Iaido Competitions?
Explain your rationale.
2. Write what you know about kokyu (breath control) in Iaido.
3. Describe the three kinds of sen.
1. Discuss the concept of fudo-shin.
2. Tsuki (thrusts) occur in five of the All Japan Kendo Federation Iaido
kata. Name the five kata and identify the target area of the tsuki.
3. Discuss the importance of rei-ho in the practice of Iaido.
1. Explain the philosophy of shu-ha-ri.
2. What are ma and maai? Describe their application in one or two All
Japan Kendo Federation Iaido kata.
3. There are key points to watch for when judging iaido. List the key
points for two of the All Japan Kendo Federation Iaido kata.
The posture in which the tip of the sword is lowered from chudan-no-kamae
(middle guard position) down to the level of the opponent’s kneecap.
This posture is considered suitable for defense.
The posture in which the right foot is forward, the sword is held with
both hands so that the tsuka-gashira is in front of the tanden and the
sword is aimed so that the extension of the sword points to the opponent’s
throat/face. This posture is suitable for both offense and defense.
It is sometimes also called seigan-no-kamae.
Posture in which the right foot is behind, in a hidari-hanmi (left side
forward, half turned) position and the sword is held below the right
armpit, with the tip of the sword pointing backward and the edge of
the blade facing diagonally down to the right. The level of the tip
is a little lower than it is in gaedan-no-kamae.
The posture where the sword is held above the head. The most offensive
posture among the kendo postures. The posture where the sword is held
with both hands and the left foot is forward is called morote-hidari-jodan-no-kamae.
The posture in which the sword is held with both hands and the right
foot is forward is called morote-migi-jodan-no-kamae.
There are katate (one hand holds the sword) versions of both jodan kamae.
The posture where the sword is held with both hands near the face. The
left hand stays on the body’s center line, and the right hand
is about one fist width away from the mouth. The kissaki is pointing
upward to the right rear, and the edge faces the opponent. The left
foot is forward and the body is in hidari-hanmi (left side forward,
half turned) position.
Positioning of the eyes. The act of paying attention to the opponent’s
whole body while looking into his/her eyes.
A term meaning it is important to look at the figure of the opponent
as a whole rather than at a particular point, as if looking at a far
Kan-no-me is the way of seeing with which one sees the essence of things,
while ken-no-me is the way of seeing with which one sees only the surface
phenomenon. In Gorin no Sho (The Book of Five Rings) swordsman Miyamoto
Musashi said, “Kan-no-me is strong, ken-no-me is weak.”
As this teaching implies, the term kan-ken-no-metsuke emphasizes the
importance of having a keen eye which can not only see the opponent’s
appearance but which can also perceive the opponent’s abilities
and state of mind through his/her posture and appearance.
The body posture and state of mind in which even after striking, one
is alert and ready to respond instantly to any counterattack by the
opponent. Zanshin is the state in which, after striking with full power
and without hesitation, one faces the opponent with full spirit and
with the ability to respond naturally.
The part of the sword which exerts the most force upon contact. This
part of the sword begins from the kissaki and extends for approximately
6-8 inches toward the other (back) end.
12 Sei Tei Kata Names
3. UKE NAGASHI
4. TSUKA ATE
5. KESA GIRI
6. MOROTE TSUKI
7. SANPO GIRI
8. GANMEN ATE
9. SOETE TSUKI
10. SHIHOU GIRI
11. SOU GIRI
12. NUKI UCHI
Jo-ha-kyu is the continuous acceleration applied to the execution of
most sword drawing techniques. Each movement of a kata begins slowly,
gradually gets faster and until maximum speed is attained. This increase
of speed produces sharp technique. The first technique of the first
kata (nukitsuke in Mae) is a good example of the use of jo-ha-kyu.
The purpose of chiburi is to clean the end of the blade of anything
left on it from cutting. Chiburi also has a spiritual meaning of cleaning
A term which expresses an important element in moving for offense and
defense; it is mainly used in teaching striking moves. Ki is spirit,
ken refers to the handling of the sword, and tai refers to body movements
and posture. When these three elements harmonize and function together
with correct timing, they create the conditions for a valid strike.
Also called Shin-ki-ryoku itchi.
A weakness of the mind caused by astonishment, fear, doubt or hesitation.
Also a weakness in one’s action or posture which results from
losing control of the center.
Suki provide an opening for attack by one’s opponent.
The term kiri-oroshi means cutting down. Usually it is a 2-handed cut
down from over the head. Many, though not all, of the All Japan Kendo
Federation style kata have kiri-oroshi.
Kiri-oroshi is contrasted with nukitsuke, the cut made, in one continuous
motion, from drawing the sword. Kiri-oroshi requires that the sword
already be drawn.
The act of inhaling and exhaling. In kendo this term also means to predict
the opponent’s movement and adjust one’s moves accordingly
as part of the interaction with the opponent.
There are two ways of breathing. One is chest breathing by the motion
of the ribs and the intercostal muscles and the other is abdominal breathing
by the elasticity of the diaphragm. One type of abdominal breathing
is tanden-kokyuu in which one exhales and expands the abdomen and then
maintains this state with exhaling. This tanden-kokyuu breathing is
considered very important in kendo and iaido.
In Iaido, as a general rule, you begin to move on the third breath’s
inhalation. It is desirable to complete each technique as you finish
Breathe silently, without raising your shoulders, so as not to alert
Don’t wait too long between techniques, but don’t go too
For beginners, this is difficult, Continued practice using the 3 breath
timing will lead to improvement.
The three sen. In kendo it is of paramount importance to suppress the
opponent’s move at the moment it begins. It may be said that the
competition to take sen decides the match. There are said to be thee
sen (mittsu-no-sen) in sen. In the book titled Kendo written by Sasaburo
Takano, the mittsu-no-sen are explained as sen-sen-no-sen, sen and go-no-sen.
These three can be summarized as follows:
Sen-sen-no-sen: When facing an opponent in a match, having the keen
insight to quickly recognize the opponent’s start, and then attack
immediately, thus forestalling the opponent’s move. This act of
attacking faster than the opponent’s sen is the most important
in kendo. Also called kakari-no-sen.
Sen: When the opponent sees a suki (weakness/opening) and initiates
an attack, winning by striking in turn before the opponent’s strike
is successful. Also called tai-no-sen.
Go-no-sen: When the opponent sees a suki and initiates an attack, winning
by first striking down the opponent’s sword or parrying, then
attacking strongly when the opponent has become discouraged. Also called
A state of mind which is not moved or distracted by anything; a flexible
state of mind able to respond to various changing situations.
Five All Japan Kendo Federation kata use the technique of thrusting
4. Tsuka ate: thrust (blade is horizontal, edge faces away from your
chest) to the rear opponent’s sui getsu/ mizu ochi/ solar plexus.
6. Morote tsuki: thrust (blade is vertical, edge faces down) to the
front opponent’s sui getsu/ mizu ochi/ solar plexus.
8. Gan men ate: thrust (blade tilts upward from horizontal, edge faces
to your right) to the rear opponent’s sui getsu/ mizu ochi/ solar
9. Soete tsuki: thrust (blade is vertical, edge down) to the (single,
on the left side) opponent’s abdomen at about waist level.
10. Shihou giri: thrust (blade tilts slightly downward from horizontal,
edge faces away from your chest) to the second (to the left rear) opponent’s
sui getsu/ mizu ochi/ solar plexus.
Reigi sahou is very important. Budo begins and ends in reihou.
Reihou is the form we use to express respect—for our teachers,
our dojo, for our fellow students, and for our own practice.
A teaching which explains the levels of training in kendo. Shu is the
level where one obeys the principles of one’s master and learns
them solidly. Ha is the level where one adds one’s own ideas to
what one learned in the previous level and develops one’s technique.
Ri is the level where one rises above what one learned in the previous
two levels, further develops one’s technique and establishes a
new personal style.
The space of distance between two objects, events or times. An important
and distinctive concept focusing awareness on time and space; the term
which expresses this concept. In kendo, ma more or less refers to temporal
distance, and ma-ai is used in contrast when referring to spatial distance.
The term ma-zumori refers to the proper creation and measurement of
ma in time and space. The act of missing the proper distance or a chance
to attach is call ma-hazure, while the act of intentionally avoiding
the opponent’s attacking distance or chance is called ma-hazushi.
The spatial distance between one’s self and the opponent. The
gap between two opponents. The establishment of ma-ai through the relationship
with the opponent is a subtle and important matter.
Generally called chikai-ma-ai (closer distance). A smaller distance
than issoku-no-ma-ai. At this distance one’s strike can easily
reach the opponent, but the same holds for the opponent’s strike.
This is the distance which enables a player to strike the opponent by
taking one step forward and to evade the opponent by taking one step
backward. The fundamental spatial distance in kendo.
Generally referred to as tou-ma-ai. A distance which is farther than
issoku-ittou-no-maiai. A distance from which the opponent’s strike
cannot reach you, and, at the same time, your strike cannot reach the