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Closing date for applications: Friday 1 September 2023

Course: Sunday 1 October 2023, in Cambridge


Would you like to serve your dojo and local community by becoming a kendo coach? Have you already been helping out with the training in your dojo but now wish to get licensed officially?

I’ll be running a BKA Kendo Coaching Course for Coach Levels 1 and 2 in Cambridge on Sunday 1st October 2023.

For a quick one-page guide to the BKA Coaching Programme Levels 1 and 2, please see:

For full details on all four levels:

“Course” is perhaps a slight misnomer: maybe “assessment and advice seminar” would be a better description. The process is as follows. FIRST, you prepare for at least a month by (a) studying the extensive coaching documentation provided to you on application and (b) practicing coaching in your dojo, under the guidance and observation of more senior coaches who endorse your application. THEN you submit a portfolio of completed work, including essays by you and observation statements from your seniors, in order to be admitted to the session. FINALLY you come to the one-day session. The point of the session is not to teach you from zero how to become a coach: you will be expected to have already studied and practiced that. Instead, we shall interactively review all the duties and responsibilities of a coach, highlighting aspects where the essays of the attendees show incomplete awareness or understanding. There will be a chance to ask questions about things that didn’t work for you and discuss various scenarios. It is expected that the participants who submit a complete portfolio by the deadline and demonstrate readiness and maturity at the session will be handed their coaching certificate menjo on the day.

Here is the process in detail.

1) Please apply as soon as possible by filling in the following online form. You need one BKA coach to propose you and another to second you. Submit this form early because the sooner you do, the sooner I will give you access to a wealth of useful study material on kendo coaching. It’s OK not to upload your essays and observation statements just yet but please complete all the rest of the form right away to get access to the study materials and give yourself more study time. Once you submit the form, you get an email with a link that allows you to revisit and update the form later to upload any missing attachments. The deadline for the final submission of the completed form, including all your required observation statements, essays etc, is in step 3 below.

2) Do some coaching under supervision, if you haven’t already. Have one or preferably two qualified BKA coaches observe you and write observation statements about your coaching, according to these guidelines:

2a) If you are applying for Level 1 (to be an assistant coach in a dojo run by someone else), it’s OK to submit just one observation statement instead of the preferred two, and it’s OK for the observation statement to come from a BKA coach of any level (typically your dojo leader) provided that, if they are Level 1 themselves, the observers have served as BKA coaches for at least 3 years.

2b) For Level 2 (a coach who may run their own dojo), at least one observation statement must be from a Level 3 or 4 coach. If you don’t know of one in your area, please ask your dojo leader or the BKA to put you in touch with one.

3) Once you have your observation statement(s) and the required essays, upload them to the form you filled in during step 1. The FINAL DEADLINE for the submission of the completed portfolio with all the supporting documents is Friday 1st September. NO FURTHER APPLICATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED PAST THIS DATE. Applications might close even earlier if the venue capacity (20 attendees) is reached. Use the time between the close of applications and the session date to study the supplied BKA coaching documentation in detail.

As a summary, you will need:

– a proposer

– a seconder

– at least one observer statement (ideally two), usually from the people above

– a SIGNED coaching portfolio, comprising

  – applicant’s statement

  – observer statement(s)

  – health and safety essay

  – children and vulnerable adults essay

  – running a club essay (only for L2)

– a SIGNED code of conduct

– a SIGNED coaching program

Documents that need to be returned SIGNED by you as part of your application:




The course will be Kendo-centric but Iaido and Jo practitioners are also welcome, provided that their Bu still recognises the coaching certificates issued by the Kendo Bu. Please come in loose clothes (your kendogi if you wish, but a tracksuit is also fine: it’s mostly a desk/notes/seminar/discussion session, not a kendo practice session, but we will use the bokuto at some point for teaching practice) and bring a pen, a notepad, your bokuto, your BKA licence booklet and a packed lunch.

There is no charge for attending. I serve as a volunteer (as do you when you coach) and venue hire will be covered by the BKA.

Any questions, please email me.


The Pavilion, Girton Recreation Ground, Cambridge Road, Girton, Cambridge, CB3 0FH (parking available)

Times: 10:00 – 17:00 on Sunday 1st October 2023

Course instructor:

Professor Frank Stajano

BKA Regional Coach Level 3

4 dan kendo

Dojo leader of Tsurugi Bashi (University of Cambridge)

Summary of dates:

ASAP: submit your application form, even with an incomplete portfolio, to get access to the study materials Fri 2023-09-01: FINAL DEADLINE for you to submit your completed portfolio (no applications accepted past this date) Sun 2023-10-01: one-day kendo L1 and L2 course in Cambridge

The last BKA coaching course I ran was in March 2022. Expect the next one to be in 2024 or 2025.