UCLA Kendo Club – 4th Annual Yuhihai Tournament

The term “Yuhi” means “A great leap of bravery and ambition” The UCLA Kendo Yuhihai Tournament aspires to motivate students to challenge themselves through Kendo competition. The 4th Annual Yuhihai Tournament took place on the 6th of March 2011 and included 9 teams from around the country.


Kendo “The Way of the Sword“, has evolved from a nearly 2000 year old tradition of Japanese Swordsmanship. The concept of Kendo is to discipline the human character through the application of the principles of the Katana. The UCLA Kendo Club was founded in 2002 under the head instruction of Masaharu Makino, 7th Dan instructor form the Long Beach Kendo Dojo, to promote the art of Japanese Swordsmanship. The club strives to practice and teach proper Kendo, balancing competitiveness and self cultivation. The UCLA Kendo Club currently consists of a committed group of roughly 40 active participants ranging from undergraduate to faculty.

(UCLA Kendo Club at the 4th Annual Yuhihai Tournament)

Competitors from California and surrounding states as far as Massachusetts (Harvard), attended the tournament to compete in this ancient tradition of sword play. The tournament began with demonstrations from Kendo Masters with Katana’s and the UCLA Kyodo Taiko Drumming .

(Kata Demonstration by Uchidachi: Uk Hur Sensei, 7th Dan & Shidachi: Chuljoo Pak Sensei, 5th Dan)

(Click picture for a video of the Yuhihai tournament including a Taiko Drumming Demonstration from UCLA’s Kyodo Taiko)

How To Watch a Kendo Match;

The four main target area, each worth one point, are hit with strikes to the head (MEN), torso (DO), wrist (KOTE) or thrust to the throat (TSUKI). The competitors call their attempted strikes in a strong voice (KIAI), and strikes must be delivered with the upper third of the bamboo blade (SHINAI)). Even though it may appear that many strikes are finding their targets in the course of a match, a successful stroke must be coordinated with correct footwork, powerful kiai, good posture, and a strong follow through.

The three referees indicate points by snapping red or white flags overhead; at least two must agree for the point to be awarded. A fast crisscrossing of the flags at hip level means the official did not consider a strike valid. The match is halted after each successful point and resumed at center court. Two good points delivered simultaneously cancels one another and the match is stopped. Penalties are given for stepping out of bounds, dropping ones shinai, and poor sportsmanship. If a contestant accumulates two such penalties in the course of a match, one point is awarded to the opponent.

Individual matches are fought for two out of the three points over a period of 2-5 minutes. A scoreless or tied match my be extended until a deciding point is scored, though in preliminary matches a draw may be decided by a referees decision based on form, technique and fighting spirit. Team matches are usually fought in teams of three or five. Each individual competes with normal individual match rules ad regulations. To win the team match the team has to win more individual matches that the opponent. If the number of won matches is the sames on both sides, the victor is decided by number of points scored If the number of points and matches won are the same, each team selects a member to compete in a sudden death match to determine the winner. (Courtesy of Southern California Kendo Organization)

The UCLA Kendo Club in Association with the UCLA Martial Arts Program wishes to thank all the competitors and teams in the 4th Annual Yuhihai Tournament and looks forward to seeing them next year. Special Congratulations to the winners of the tournament UC Riverside.

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