Thoughts on Nito Kendo

This… does not seem like kendo at all, particularly at 0:18 in the second video. Hands down, the WORST kendo  I have ever seen in my life.

Great, I get that he’s a technically proficient kendoist in his own right, but man, that just feels like the equivalent of seeing an MMA fighter in a boxing match (and I LOVE how pissed Teramoto looked). Anyways… I came across these videos because somebody asked me about nito… I’ve faced three in shiai, and all were pretty bad and physically tough in the “I’m going to win by giving you as many bruises as I can” way. I think when I saw Matthew Raymond of Canada was the only time I ever felt awed by nito, but even then, learning that he was mainly used as a “momentum stopper” in team matches kind of dampened that for me. A REALLY promising route of nito was shown by L. Zhang of China in the latest WKC… elegant, efficient, sleek… a true nito of kendo, instead of the Itokazu style of stick hacking. (Still has a ways to go though… the daito is a bit slow. But by all means, it’s a very promising style of nito, in my humble opinion).

Obviously, Toda sensei has the most refined nito of them all:

What do y’all think about nito?


10 thoughts on “Thoughts on Nito Kendo”

  1. i don’t think you can blame the nito player for having bad nito, a lot of it comes down to how your opponent is fencing, if they crowd you and wont let you play your best kendo then you have to adapt. if you watch Japanese and Korean players against each other, you will see the same scrappy kendo, not beautifull to watch, but this is sometimes what shiai comes down to.


    1. Right, I can definitely see that. Of course, this is WKC so I don’t think of it as the pinnacle of good kendo – that would be something like the all Japan or the national Korean tournaments. But I don’t think either of Itokazu senshu’s opponents were quite expecting him to be so… violent.


  2. Ahhh 0.18 was one of my favourites.

    One of the tactics used against nito players is to dominate/bludgeon them. This is merely the nito player asserting his authority, that he cannot be bullied and teaching the other guy to not lift his hands after a cut whilst moving in and breaking his own form.

    The counter cuts were executed as part of one technique rather out of malice. A grounded player can till be cut if it is part of the same technique which this clearly was. All in all a stellar performance by the nito player. I honestly can’t fathom how this is misconstrued as the worst of kendo???

    No comment about the first and third video.


    1. I think otherwise. Perhaps this might be an issue of semantics, but I have always thought that as opposed to bludgeoning, it was to attack consecutively so as to prevent the nito senshu from holding down your shinai. Dominate is something I agree with, but not bludgeon. Yes, a grounded player can be cut, but to attempt to do so as if beating a drum in no way constitutes good ippon – he was clearly not going for ippon there, in my opinion. Again, my opinion as far as “worst” kendo… perhaps we see kendo from different perspectives.
      The first against Teramoto and the Chinese representative?


      1. I’m kind of surprised that you were awed by Raymond’s kendo while thinking this is the worst. Most videos I’ve seen are him ramming at people for 5 minutes.

        Thank god for Nobuyuki Yamana.


      2. I know, but I think it was because I saw him in-person, like, front-seat action. He had to be the biggest, burliest kendoist I’ve ever seen… looked like a bear on its hind legs swinging tree branches around (with good technique). I also think it’s because he’s older maybe… but he wasn’t doing TOO much of that when I saw him.
        And OOOH I just looked him up. Great nito.


      3. I got to do geiko and practice-shiai with Sweden’s Ren Watanabe last weekend. He scored way more than I thought, kind of expecteed he’d be a momentum-stopper as you said. But no, katate kote from gyaku-nito is fucking savage.


  3. Having recently fought nito for the first time, I can say that, given a certain level of strength and coordination, it can be an overwhelming style. Itokazu san has nice footwork, but he seems to back off too much, and loses control in tsubazeriai. Watching Toda sensei (and being under the heavy daito of my first nito fight), it seems that while the style allows for fluidity and a bewildering string of attacks, its real advantage lies in the strength of presence it brings to those who use it well. Like jodan, it is an aggressive stance with the daito ready to come down like a hammer, with the added fear of the shoto sticking in your throat. Essentially, if you can back these threats up with force, and maintain posture after the strike, it becomes the ultimate ‘tank’ style (for want of a better word), shrugging off attacks while simultaneously launching the offensive. I’d love to learn, but I know I’d be in for a lot of travel and a lot of pushups!


    1. Thoroughly agreed. If I was facing against Toda sensei, the amount of pressure and frustration would be incredible. Where’s the opening? You focus on the daito, the shoto hammers your shinai down. Focus on the shoto, and the daito comes for ippon. And I LOVE that phrase – it is definitely a “tank”ing style, the ultimate defense and offense, simulatenously (in theory).


  4. I absolutley agree with you hjyoo as regards to Itozaki, Im sure few would disagree.
    I mean, we’ve all seen Worse kendo, but your point is valid.


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