naginata in germany ( by frank h. jaehne / university mainz)

Mid 2002 a scottish kendofriend, George Mc Call, informed us about a group of netherlandish 'universities-kenshi', who recently before had attended an english kendo and naginata seminar with sumi sensei from japan.
Our kendo group at university mainz (, member of the german kendo federation (, who is always interested in contacts to other (universities) groups ( has hoped to get in touch with those guys and their sensei mr. Andre Raboen, a former well known kendo nationalteam member and former WKC participant, who regulary has visited japan.

After having contacted them a few days later, we found out, that this group from "nami kai" was practicing naginata as well. Though, obviously mr. Raboen seems to be more interested in naginata contacts, we deciced to visit the netherlandish group a few weeks later, expecting to convince them to join our informal 'club' of european 'kendo-universities'.

Soon we found out, that instead of convincing them, they took us on their 'naginata-hook'. ;-)
After a weekend in Middleburg with intensive naginata-training and friendly contacts to the seminar participants, we started to love that long and strange weapon and it's sounding big round cutting-movements.
For me personally it was a 'deja vu': when i started with kendo in 1986, i actually don't want to practice a martial art as well, and that's now nearly 18 years i regulary practice kendo. maybe that's a good omen for my naginata practice as well. ;-)

The problem in germany right from trhe beginning was, that there was no profound atarashi-naginata teacher to find, wether in the kendo scene nor via internet. Only obscure guys had offered expensive seminars. Because of that reason, we decided to invite Raboen sensei as an INF aknowledged instructor for regular seminars every two month at mainz university. The sensei has visited us now since two years without expecting financial richness.

Meanwhile fortunatly a sho-dan and post-doc at our university, mr. Andreas Nichol, who had learned atarashi-naginata in japan and Cecile, a french student from stuttgart city help us in our regular training lessons.

In 2003 a delegation of students traveled to france and they sucessfully participated at their first naginata taikai. Another delegation attended a czech training with Baba sensei.

Beside the pure teaching problem, we were confronted with an organisational problem:
actually, we only want to learn naginata. but soon we found out, if to get the benefits of suport by the INF authorities, japanes teachers, nationalteam activities etc... we have to be accepted by the INF, which goes via the ENF. Therefore we had to found the german naginata association / GNA (, which includes 3 dojos and some spreaded individuals in germany. In 2003 the GNA contacted the ENF with the inquiry of corporation into the ENF. A process which is still in progress.

From the 9 german atarashi-naginata starters in 2002 at Middleburg seminar, still 6 are regulary in training. At the 1st german naginata seminar in december 2002 nearly 30 people participated, but as things turned out, many are leaving after the first enthousiastic lessons because of various reasons. Fortunatly every semester new interested people found the way to us. at the moment we are a group of 25 active naginata-ka.

Since april 2004 naginata is now recognized by the university of mainz and official lessons are offered by the general sport department and printed and published at the program ( , which means, that every student in mainz will be informed about naginata. therefore the naginata future at mainz university will be more secure.

Naginata is a very unknown martial art in germany. It's our goal now to spread the information about atarashi-naginata throughout germany. Therefore we organise the yearly december isshu-shiai in mainz, were kenshi are fighting with naginata-shi, by that way of publishing it at beginning of october at the german kendo homepage ( the kendo scene will be more and more informed about us, and interested guys can come in touch with us.

What will the future bring?
Some kendo dojos in germany contacted us recently and asked for demonstrations and introduction seminars in naginata. Our students try regulary to organise naginata demonstrations as e.g. at the frankfurt nippon film festival.
In 2005 some of us will try to pass a sho-dan exam, to have more authority in introducing naginata to beginners. Now we like to go more often abroad to other countries for learning at other european seminars.
a.s.a.p. the ENF / INF will have accepted us officially we can try to promote naginata in a more profound manner. Then the first nationalteam will be formed.

If someone will visit us in training saturday 12.00 - 13.30 or wednesday 20.30-21.30 at the university sport centre, don't hesitate to contact us. You're heartly welcome as guest, and we always will find a sleeping place in our dojo or in our houses.

with best regards

frank h. jaehne ( chairman in charge)


German Naginata Association

c/o Frank H. Jaehne

Lerchenweg 5

55127 Mainz / Germany

Tel./Fax: ++49-6131-622-1036