Sumi Masatake sensei – Hanshi, Hachidan

For those of you who may attend the Kodokan Seminar for the first time and for many of you who are regulars (33rd this year), here is a brief history on Sumi sensei.

I first met Sumi sensei on a visit to France, when I organised for a group of British Kendoka (The Thames Valley Kyokai), to practice and stay with The Maisons Lafitte Dojo, just outside of Paris. This was in the spring of 1987.

During this visit, on the Saturday we visited another Dojo in Paris -‘Paris BUDO Xl’. At this practice was Masatake Sumi (then 7-dan) who, with his wife Kaoru and two sons was staying in France as the official teacher assigned to the French Kendo Federation from the AJKF.

His two sons were then quite young, but both practicing Kendo and Sumi sensei’s wife is a highly respected naginata sensei and was also teaching French students (subsequently she has attended the Kodokan seminar with her naginata on 3 occasions to date).

Sumi sensei expressed at that time a desire to visit Britain, and so we jumped at the opportunity of inviting sensei and his family came over for a long weekend. At that time the Kodokan Seminar had run for three years, two with Jumpei Matsumoto (then 5-dan now 7-dan) and that year same year that Sumi sensei visited with Shoji Enamoto (then 6-dan now also 7-dan), both of these sensei were and are of a very high standard and appreciated by all who attended and very much by myself for their support.

However the best was yet to come, I asked Sumi sensei if he could help us out the following year 1988, by leading the Seminar and he said yes… and then ‘Oh Boy’- the rest is history. This is the 30th year that he will have lead the Kodokan Seminar and for many years now accompanied by at two great friends Tashiro sensei also 8-dan and Kumamoto sensei. Often other sensei will also attend and  ably assist at the seminar. Including the Après Kendo – social aspects 😉

Began Kendo age 8 at Primary school in Fukuoka. Passed 1-dan age 15, 2-dan age 16, 3-dan age 19, 4-dan age 20, 5-dan age 23, 6-dan age 26, 7-dan age 32, and 8-dan age 47 (the minimum age required to take 8-dan) passing first time when over one thousand 7-dan(s) took part in the examination…. something ‘very special’ indeed

In 2001 he was made Hanshi (only 3 appointed for that year and none the previous year).. ‘again truly outstanding’ Currently there are only 350 Hanshi out of the 600 or so 8-dan

He is also captain of the Fukuoka Team representing at the All JAPAN Professors championships and President of the University Kendo Association in Kyushu

A teacher of the highest calibre, the very best I have ever met or could possibly hope to meet and we at Kodokan are just so very fortunate to have his continuing support. Personally I feel just so very proud to be associated and taught by him over these many years, but most of all it’s his patronage and friendship that I value the most.


Paul Budden,
Kyoshi Nanadan
Kodokan UK