Within the Japaneses Martial Arts certain titles are awarded. These are know as Shogo. For those of us following ZNKR sword and related arts we follow the ZNKR system. Up to c 2015 these titles were awarded by the All Japan Kendo Federation (ZNKR) to members of National Kendo Associations such as the BKA. Around 2015 various member country associations decided to award some of these titles themselves. In Stevenage in 2015 the BKA awarded 5 Seventh Dans the title of Kyoshi. The title of Renshi can also be awarded by the national associations. Only Japan will issue the senior award of Hanshi, at this time.

Within our system the titles awarded are:

  • Hanshi
  • Kyoshi
  • Renshi

These titles are not used verbally – ‘XXX 7th dan, Kyoshi’ would be spoken to as ‘XXX sensei’.


Sensei, Sempai and Kohai

The title Sensei is given to a teacher, regardless of their Dan grade. For example, if a Shodan (1st Dan) is teaching the class they are called Sensei. If a Nanadan (7th dan) is teaching they are referred to as Sensei.

The senior student in a class/club is called Sempai.

A more junior student may be referred to as Kohai.



Group names for members based on grades:


  • Kodansha – 6th, 7th & 8th dan holders
  • Yudansha – 1 st dan – 5th dan holders
  • Mudansha – 1st kyu – 6th kyu holders




Vocabulary:    w i p

  • Batto (jutsu) – iai jutsu/ sword art.
  • Boken – wooden practice sword.
  • Dojo – Practice Hall.
  • iaidoka – practitioner of iaido/sword art.
  • Iaito – metal practice sword.
  • Jodoka – practitioner of Jodo.
  • Kamiza – A shrine or token of the dojo.Home of the spirits.
  • Kamiza ni rei – Bow to the Kamiza at the start and end of practice.
  • Katsujinken – the Life giving Sword.
  • Ken – sword.
  • Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu – One of the major iai schools.
  • Muso Shinden Ryu – One of the major iai schools.
  • Satsujinken – the Life Taking Sword.
  • Sensei – teacher.
  • Sensei ni rei – bow to the teacher at the start and end of the class.
  • Shomen ni rei – Bow to the shomen at start or end of the class.
  • Torei – bow to the sword.
  • Toshin – swordsmith.