About UNC Kendo

About Triangle Kendo & Iaido and the UNC dojo

The UNC kendo club’s dojo name is Carolina Kendo Kai. We are a member dojo of Triangle Kendo & Iaido which is a non-profit organization in the Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina devoted to affordable training in kendo and iaido. We do only kendo at this moment at the Carolina Kendo Kai. In addition Carolina Kendo Kai has been an official student organization on the campus of UNC at Chapel Hill since 2004-2005. Our members are a mixture of UNC students with some alumni that still practice with us as well as a few community members. The median age for our membership is in the 20’s.

The sensei at Carolina Kendo Kai is Mike Watson. He has been the instructor at UNC since 2005 under the leadership of the head instructor for Triangle Kendo and Iaido (presently James Kim sensei). Mr. Watson is currently a Yondan (4th degree black belt) in kendo and is also an officer on the Board of Directors for the Southeastern US Kendo Federation (SEUSKF). Our other instructor is Mr. Teppei Tsurumi. Tsurumi sensei is also Yondan and is a member of the TKI Raleigh dojo but practices with UNC regularly.


The Concept of Kendo

The concept of kendo is to discipline the human character through the application of the

principles of the katana (sword).


The Purpose of Practicing Kendo

The purpose of practicing kendo is:

To mold the mind and body,

To cultivate a vigorous spirit,

And through correct and rigid training,

To strive for improvement in the art of kendo,

To hold in esteem human courtesy and honor,

To associate with others with sincerity,

And to forever pursue the cultivation of oneself.

This will make one be able:

To love one’s country and society,

To contribute to the development of culture,

And to promote peace and prosperity among all peoples.


From the All Japan Kendo Federation 


Etiquette (Reiho)

1. When entering or leaving the dojo, perform a standing bow towards the shomen (center of the front wall).

2. When entering the dojo, greet the most senior person already present.

3. Be prepared to begin practice quickly once you enter the dojo (practice room).

4. Practice clothes should be neat and clean.

5. Fingernails and toenails should be short and clean.

6. Help with cleaning the dojo before and after practice (as needed).

7. Never step over a sword (including shinai and bokuto) or other equipment lying on the ground.

8. Do not use someone else’s equipment without permission.

9. Avoid unnecessary talking during practice.

10. Address the instructor as “Sensei” or as “[Last Name]-sensei.”

11. Be alert and attentive during practice.

12. When it is necessary to move about the dojo, do so quickly.

13. When it is necessary to pass in front of someone else, extend your right hand and bow slightly.

14. Never lean on a shinai or bokuto or use it like a cane.

15. Carry shinai in the left hand. Carry bokuto in the right.

16. Bow and say, “Onegaishimasu,” when beginning practice with a new partner.

17. Bow and say, “Arigato gozaimashita,” or “Domo arigato gozaimashita,” when finished.


Opening and Closing Ceremonies

(This is also part of reiho)


Opening Ceremony

Seiretsu “Line up.” This command should not be necessary. You should be lined up when it is time for class to start.


Seiza “Sit down.”

Mokusô “Meditate.”

(Mokusô o) yame “Stop (meditating).” Stop meditating and return your hands to your thighs.

Shômen ni rei “Bow to the shômen.” Perform zarei to the shomen.

Sensei ni rei “Bow to the instructors.”

Otagai ni rei “Bow to each other” bow and loudly say, “Onegaishimasu.”

Kiritsu “Stand up.”


Closing Ceremony

Seiretsu “line up”


(Men to kote o tore) “Take off the men and kote.” Those students wearing kote and men should remove them.


(Mokusô o) yame

Sensei ni rei This time say, “Domo arigato gozaimashita.”

Shômen ni rei At this point, any closing remarks will be made by the instructors or senior students. Remain in seiza.

Rei “Bow.” Zarei.

Keiko oware “Practice is finished.” Pick up your bogu /shinai/bokuto and carry to edge of room where your equipment is and put them away quickly as we often have another class using our room right after we are finished.