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  • She also took two or three hard claps on the side of the mask; the sword, called a shinai, was only sliced bamboo staves held together by twine for presence but not strength, but at that speed when it hit, it had to feel like someone had pronged a huge rubber band against her head.

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  • Kenshiro Abbe Sensei was a regular visitor to the Hut Dojo where he would teach with a shinai (bamboo sword) he spoke very little English and rather than attempt a difficult explanation he would whack the offending arm or leg, one soon learned the correct movement.

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  • On the other hand, with a shinai, even your strongest blows will not affect her, that is, if you are even able to strike her.

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  • He stepped in fluidly, she countered a little to the left, and suddenly, like quicksilver, she went low to high—“dragon from water”—and he could not get his shinai into a block fast enough by a hair, and she slipped her blade under his guard, screamed “Hai!” with amazing force, and he felt the bitter bite of the white oak edge, classic yokogiri, against his ribs.

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  • You saw these photos all over Arkansas, though usually a dead deer or a baseball bat or a football was part of it, instead of a kendo shinai; it was the same, the father passing on what he knew, the boy, though distant, hungry for it.

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  • Maybe it was his blurred vision, maybe that thing in sports called “second wind,” maybe a final acceptance of the idea that what came before meant nothing, there was only now, and her next kata seemed to announce itself, he took it on the lower third of the blade, ran her sword to ground, recovered a hair faster, and slashed the shinai across her center chest, kesagiri.

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  • He struck the man in the neck with his shinai, hurt him quite badly.

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  • The young men were husky, handsome, quiet, athletic, graceful, and all carried kendo bags, long enough to accommodate shinai, the bamboo sword of the sport.

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  • He could not stay with her for more than three strikes and she seemed to gain speed as he lost it, and each time, “Hai!” the bokken struck him hard, once across the wrist, making him drop the shinai, once on his good hip, a phenomenon known in football as a stinger.

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  • Williams and Ellis and others would teach as Abbe Sensei did with a shinai.

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