No discussion of Sekiryukan would be complete without a mention of Senbondori. This ‘thousand-point match’ was established in 1868 by Shingo-Munetsugu Shitama, 12th Master of Sosuishi-ryu. One person challenges a group of over 50 opponents called yoseko, fighting each in turn many times until they have fought one thousand times in total, a very strenuous task, usually lasting around eight hours.
From Shingo Shitama’s first challenge until the 90th Senbondori on 7th march 2004, 352 people have completed Senbondori. On 28th march 2004, Senbondori was held for the first time in New York’s Seibukan Dojo, organized by director Dennis Fink. During this event, three more people completed Senbondori, including one woman, bringing the total to 355 people.
At Sekiryukan many challengers have been unable to attempt Senbondori if their strength or endurance was affected by illness or injury. To this day only three percent of all Sekiryukan’s members have ever successfully completed Senbondori, which demonstrates just how tough an ordeal it is.
Senbondori is attempted not only by top sportsmen but also by anyone with black belt. Senbondori transcends many social boundaries as professional and amateur judo players from all walks of life fight as equals in a test of sheer endurance. Some challengers are over 50 years old, and a total of three women , one at New York Seibukan , have completed their challenges. There’s no concept of winning or losing in Senbondori , the only important thing is that you complete it.
It is never compulsory, but many people attempt Senbondori for the respect that its completion commands.
Why not test your mind and body with the challenge of Senbondori?