Japanese Kendo

Japanese Kendo

Japanese Kendo is a popular sport that places great significance on manners, form, and etiquette. Every Kendo competition or even practice always begins with the Kendoka exchanging formal curtsies and ends with another formal exchange of respect. This specific type of courteous bow is called the Rei and it is a kind of action that shows the participants’ wish for victory, gratitude towards their friends who train together with them, as well as showing their respect for their instructors.

Those individuals who practice the art of Japanese Kendo are called Kendoka (and sometimes referred as Kendoists for Western practitioners); they are ranked based on their skills as well as the length of time they have trained and dedicated themselves to the martial art. A beginning Kendoka will always be ranked as the 7th Kyu, and for them to increase their rank during the training period, they will need to pass certain tests that will help them move to the next Kendo rank. After the Kendoka has reached the 1st kyu, the Kendo practitioner will progress to a new series which is the Dan. Of course, the Kendo practitioner will have to start with the lowest Dan level which will then be followed by the 1st Dan onwards. The highest ranking would be the 10th Dan which is the top rank possible in the world of Kendo.

In an actual Japanese Kendo bout, the aim of every Kendoka is to hit the opponent on certain targets on the body and not just anywhere. There will always be specific target areas where every practitioner may strike, and they should call or shout out the name of the spot that they will hit before executing the attack. There are three specific target strike zones and these include the trunk, the head, and the forearm (these are the do, the men, and the kote which are respectively the names of the target areas in Japanese Kendo). There is another known strike zone and this is the Tsuki; it is the portion of the throat just underneath the person’s head and their shoulder protector. Although it is also a strike area in Kendo, attacking this spot is extremely dangerous so it is not permitted for children up to the middle school age to attack or target that point.

In Japanese Kendo, striking in areas other than the given points will not score anything and the time limit for the competition would just be five minutes. Any participant who first acquires two points will win.

Kendo Equipment

Kendo is practiced while utilizing the traditional Japanese style of gear, a protective armor, plus other Kendo equipment which include the following:

Kendo Shinai

The Kendo Shinai is specifically utilized for Kendo competition and practice; it is also utilized in a variety of traditional martial arts. Keep in mind that the Kendo Shinai should not be confused with the bokuto or the bokken.

Bokken or Bokuto

Another Kendo equipment is the bokken or bokuto; these are Japanese wooden swords that are utilized for training in martial arts such as Japanese Kendo. The bokken usually features the same shape and size of a Katana but it can also be shaped like other swords such as the tanto or the wakizashi.


This protects a Kendoka’s face, neck, and shoulders. It is usually composed of a face mask with horizontal metal bars to protect the whole width of the practitioner’s face.


The primary piece of the do is its slightly curved stomach area and the protector along the chest. The contemporary form of the do has a more distinct bulge which easily averts various attacks away from the soft and tender spots in the middle of a Kendoka’s torso.


Another important part of the Kendo equipment which are basically gloves that look like mittens and are primarily designed for Kendo.


In Japanese Kendo, the Tare is an important Kendo equipment; it is a durable and thick belt made of cloth that is wrapped firmly around the Kendoka’s waist.