What is Kendo?

Kendo (剣道) literally translated as “Way of the Sword” is modern martial art of Japanese swordsmanship. Dating back to Kenjutsu, sword arts of Samurai, Kendo has now become a strong staple in modern culture. Kendo practitioners, known as Kendoka wear Bogu, protective equipment; Men (helmet/mask), Kote (gauntlets), Do (chest protector), and Tare (waist protector). We use bamboo swords known as Shinai during practice, and Bokuto, wooden sword, for Kata practices, which are non-contact forms. Kendo is a competitive martial art with many countries participating in world Kendo championship every year. Although everyone has different reasons for learning Kendo, the ultimate goal of Kendo is to develop healthy body and mind of the practitioners through sustained periods of practice. Compared to other martial arts, Kendo places great emphasis on Reiho, respect and courtesy. Every practice as well as a match begins and ends with a bow. At the beginning of practice all Kendoka line up together and bow to the Dojo, Sensei, and each other. Later, practice ends in the same manner.

This video does a pretty good job of introducing Kendo.

Kendo is a way to discipline the human character through the application of the principles of the Katana.

Purpose of Kendo is described by All Japan Kendo Federation is:

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.

Thus will one be able:

To love one's country and society;

To contribute to the development of culture;

And to promote peace and prosperity among all peoples.