About Kendo

"The concept of Kendo is to discipline the human character
through the application of the principles of the Katana."

Kendo, is a Japanese word meaning "the way of the sword" and is the traditional martial art of Japanese fencing. Kendo practitioners are known as kendoka or kenshi.

Although the history of kendo, in various forms, can be traced back as far as the 11th century, the foundations of modern kendo began to emerge in the late 18th century. Sword practice, along with other martial arts, was banned in Japan during the allied occupation following the second world war. In 1952 the All Japan Kendo Federation was formed and kendo revived. For a more indepth look at the history of kendo please visit the All Japan Kendo Federation website.

Today, kendo is practised wearing traditional Japanese clothing, comprising a keikogi (training jacket) and hakama (pleated pants) with protective armour (bogu). The bogu consists of a men (helmet), do (breastplate), tare (apron) and kote (gauntlets). The weapons used are a shinai (bamboo swords) and bokuto (wooden sword).

A match in kendo is called a shiai. A point is scored by striking or thrusting to a designated target on the opponents armour. For a point to be considered valid the datotsubu (correct part of the shinai) must strike the target with ki ken tai no ichi (spirit, sword and body as one), zanshin (continuation of spirit) must be displayed and the attacking kendoka prepared to cut again at the completion of the strike.

Kendo uniform

The Concept of Kendo

The concept of kendo is to disipline the human character through the applications of the principles of the katana.


The Purpose of Kendo

  • To mold the mind and body
  • To cultivate a vigorous spirit

And through correct and rigid training:

  • To strive for improvement in the art of Kendo
  • To hold in esteem human courtesy and honor
  • To associate with others with sincerity
  • And to forever pursue the cultivation of oneself

This will make one be able:

  • To love his/her country and society
  • To contribute to the development of culture
  • And to promote peace and prosperity among all peoples
Video produced by MUKEN member Russell Tran
© Russell Tran

Kendo Training

A typical kendo class will include some of the following activities:

suburi Solo cutting practise
kirikaeshi A series of cuts on an opponent - used to develop accuracy, spirit and stamina
kihon geiko Practising basic cuts, thrusts and footwork
waza geiko Practising specific techniques of attack and counter-attack
uchikomi geiko Practising continuous cutting to a variety of targets
kakari geiko Practising attacking techniques
ji geiko Practise sparring with an opponent
shiai geiko Competition practise matches
kata A series of predetermined techniques using the daito (long wooden sword) and kodachi (wooden short sword)