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Kendo Equipment

Kendo equipment is usually made up of the uniform, the swords, and its armor.

When it comes to Kendo swords, there are two different types used and these are the bokken or bokuto and the shinai; the bokken is a quality, solid wooden sword that is made from beautiful oak or any other suitable type of hardwood. This type of sword is commonly utilized for kata but never for competitions, matches, or even sparring sessions. The shinai, on the other hand, is made from four bamboo leather and staves so due to its elasticity, the shinai is commonly used for sparring practice.
As for the dogi (uniform), it is made up of a woven cotton top called the Keikogi plus pleated trousers that resemble a skirt that is called the Hakama. For its Bogu, it is made up of four specific pieces and these include the Men (its helmet), the Do (body protection), the Kote (body protection), and the Tare which is specifically made to protect the groin and hip area.

The Kendo Swords

Although these are rarely utilized by Kendo practitioners, the Katana is known as the original steel weapon that was utilized for Kendo techniques and the Kendoka should have a thorough and firm grasp of its nomenclature and parts.

The Bokken

This is a wooden sword utilized primarily for practice of Kata; it has the same appearance like that of the samurai Katana but it can also be shaped like other swords such as the Tanto or the Wakizashi. The Bokken features a simple wooden construction that does not necessarily need too much maintenance and care compared to the Katana. Additionally, using the Bokken for training is not generally dangerous for both the user and other practitioners in the area since the Bokken is not sharp like the usual metal swords. Bokken is not being used for fencing as it can still cause considerable damage.


The Shinai is the sword mainly used for practice and various Kendo competitions. It represents the Japanese sword and it can also be utilized in other forms of martial arts; The Shinai was created to reduce a large number of practitioners from getting seriously injured when training with the Bokken. This was also the reason why the Bogu (the armor that is part of the Kendo equipment) was created and it is used primarily to protect the Kendoka from various injuries and hits.

When practicing Kendo, the most commonly used weapon is a single shinai which is sometimes called the Itto style; however, there are a couple of Kendoka who choose to use the double shinai and this Kendo style is commonly called the Ni-to. A Ni-to practitioner makes use of a long Shinai that is called the Daito and it is usually wielded in the person┬ĺs right hand; the shorter shinai is called the Shoto which is commonly held in one┬ĺs left hand. The position of holding the weapon can be altered, with the daito on the left and the shoto on the right. Keep in mind that the daito can still be a little shorter and even lighter compared to the shinai that is being used in the itto form of Kendo.

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Kendo Bogu

Another item that is part of the Kendo equipment is its Bogu or the armor which is made up of the men (its face mask), the do (chest protector), the Kote (a pair of gloves), and the Tare (its waist and hip protector). Although it greatly protects the user, the Bogu is generally lightweight which provides the user with proper mobility and adequate comfort which is highly essential for training and competitions.