Special Interview ~Yukiko Takami~(1)
Today we will be revealing our interview with YukikoTakami.
She has been the Japanese representative in the World Kendo Championship for 3 times
in both the Individual and Team categories.
With her vast experience in the scene of the kendo world,
she will share with us her view on kendo through the eyes of a female warrior.
We will be revealing the first part of the interview today,
PART 1 "Fundamental Persistence"
～Takami Yukiko Japan Representative of WKC Year ’09 ’12 ‘15~
(From here on KENDO PARK = KP Yukiko Takami = Takami)
Started kendo in Josuikan, Fukuoka and won the inter-high championship while studying in Aso High School.(@Kumamoto)
Won the national championship in the team category as a 1st year student at Seiwa University.
Represented Japan in WKC in 2009, 2012 and 2015 winning Individual champion once,
2nd Runner-up once, Team Champion once.
Currently an Assistant Professor at Jutendo University’s Sports and Health Science Department.
You have obtained a significant amount of titles to date, would you like to talk about it in retrospect?
Among all the titles, I would say being selected to join the Japan Representative Training "Gashuku"(=Camp)
to be the greatest.
I was still a student back then and was persistent on “Winning and Losing”.
However, my mindset has shifted my focus to “Fundamentals of Kendo” after I joined the "Gashuku".
What was noticeably different?
First, I noticed a lot of participants were not very well versed with "Reiho" (etiquettes) and basic kendo knowledge.
As the selection of Japanese Representative spreads across the nation,
we have a lot of wonderful people, this allows us to observe the personalities of others
while reflecting and better our own.
Having joined the camp, my thought process has been more diverse as though a colorful gallery.
Can you share with us what you do in your current Keiko?
My current main focus is the training of the Juntendo University students
while my personal Keiko spans across 4 times a week of Jigeiko.
Jigeiko takes up roughly an hour each session.
After the 2015 WKC, I have retired from being an active competitor and adopted this training lifestyle.
What points are you most conscious about during Keiko?
I take the “ Process of Cutting” very seriously.
Specifically, always being conscious to aim for a Tsuki at all times.
In the female kendo scene, it is very common to see "Shikake Waza" stemming from feint,
"Katsugi," etc. which opens up a weakness on the attacker to the opponent,
thus the focus for a Tsuki for me is important.
Aim for the moment the opponent moves their Shinai, with the right situation and conditions, go in for a Tsuki.
In the case of facing against a male student, most will jump at you even if you have the centre,
what do you think of this?
There are ways to break this offense.
As I have obtained the centre during the process, The opponent would usually slow or naïve.
Reply the offense with a "Kaeshi Waza" or in the case of a slow opponent, go for a "Debana Waza".
Male opponents do differ in power and speed, what do you think female Kendoka should be aware of?
No matter what, do not back down.
Of course, fear is present as stamina, power and reach are totally different,
putting too much weight to the back of the body would increase the risk of injuries,
female Kendoka should muster the courage and not back down.
Do you have any changes in your focus in Keiko?
After obtaining 6Dan, I thought “I must improve my kendo to match my level”.
Focusing on the process of cutting has cause the biggest change in my kendo.
Especially for female Kendoka, we must change our kendo according to our age.
I am now persistent in researching the process of cutting to better my kendo.
Can you share with us on how to improve kendo for working men?
By not moving the torso ( If possible, aim as if going for a Tsuki), constantly moving your feet would be a start.
Like a swan on a lake, where the upper body is stable but the feet is constantly pedaling in the water.
Are there any techniques you have learnt in your childhood that you still do today?
Your specialty Waza changes as you age, it is hard to express it in words.
However, whatever the sensei taught me back then has definitely affected me greatly.
During my time at Josuikan, the other kids around me were doing "Nuki-Do"
and thus I followed suit. At that time, instead of men, we cut a lot of Kote and Do.
After getting into Aso High School, we practiced a lot of "Hiki Waza", this causes me to use a lot of "Hiki Waza".
I remember using a lot of "Hiki Waza" during my time in Seiwa University and won
a lot of matches in the All Japan Student Championship with "Hiki Waza".
After the All Japan Student Championship however, my techniques have changed again.
During the process of change, I won less bouts than usual which is also the case now.
My current favourite Waza is Tsuki. I could not use this Waza at all
when I was a student, but my current focus on Tsuki has allowed me to be better at it.
Almost all of the Japanese representative consists of police,
what is the Pros and Cons of a teaching staff being chosen as one of the representatives?
As a Japanese police athlete, it is more convenient to have a venue
and schedule to train for results, thus it makes a full focus on kendo training possible.
An academic staff however, I have to balance out the training time and my duties.
On the other hand, I can train according to my own schedule,
and with the currently competition active university students, I can try out a lot of techniques.
The hard part of being a teacher is to find someone to teach you.
It is possible, however, to learn while teaching your own students.
Focusing on the process of cutting and always aiming for a Tsuki.
Kendo through the eyes of a female Kendoka will be revealed in the next part of the interview.
~BOGU AND SHINAI BAG MODELS USED
BY JAPANESE REPRESENTATIVE IN THE 2015 WKC~
Born December 8th, 1987 in Tokyo
Graduated from Keio University's Faculty of Law.
Started Kendo at 5 years old at the Tokyo-budokan (located in Ota-ku, Tokyo), and continued kendo club activities throughout Keio junior high school and Keio high school, and during Keio University Athletic Association's Kendo association, as well as Nomura Securities' Kendo association.
Started KENDO PARK services in 2017.
Major kendo accomplishments include:
・Second place in Kanagawa prefecture's high school kendo tournament
・Best 8 in Kanto students' new player tournament
・Best 16 in All-Japan Business Organization Kendo Tournament, etc.