Kendo Rules

Kendo Rules

Every bout in martial arts follow a set of rules and when it comes to the Kendo rules, there are a few things that every practitioner must follow. The bout is fought between two Kendoka in a single match; yet in a team competition, there will be around three to five participants present for each team. During the World Championships and the Continental Championships, the Kendo rules to be followed is that every team should be made up of five individuals who compete in five matches in each team.

The match time differs for juniors and adults: for the younger ones it takes three minutes while for the adults it is five. The match is fought until one of the Kendoka scores two points or until the given time ends and the participant who acquires the most points during the whole round wins the match. If there is a draw, it is necessary to have an encho (new round) which ends when one Kendoka scores the first point. When it comes to a team match, the team that acquires the most number of wins on its side wins the whole Kendo match; yet if both teams have equal numbers of wins, the team that scores more will win the team match.

The yuko datotsu (possible score point) in a tai kai (Kendo match) is described as an accurate thrust that is made right into the opponent┬ĺs kendo gu and a Shinai is used to make contact right at the datotsu-bu; each of the competitors exhibit high and positive spirits, plus the proper posture that is followed by the Zanshin. The datsu bui (point scoring targets) in a Kendo tournament are detailed as follows:


This point scoring target is the sho-men and the sayu-men which are basically the top or sides of a kendoka┬ĺs head protector.


A padded and protected spot which are the migi-kote and the hidari-kote ┬ľ specifically the areas along the protective portion of the right or left wrist


The do-bu is a spot on the left or right side of the Kendo armor that protects the Kendoka┬ĺs torso (hidari-do and migi-do).


It is a spot of the kendoka┬ĺs helmet that is located just in front of their throat ┬ľ the tsuki-dare


During a Kendo tournament, there are generally three shinpan or referees; in Kendo rules, each of them is required to hold a white and red flag in each hand. For the referees to provide points to each Kendoka, the referee lifts the flag with the corresponding color that matches with the ribbon worn by the scoring participant. Generally, two referees should agree on a single point to be given; the Kendo fighting match will continue until a point scored has been announced.
There are set Kendo rules when points are announced and when the referee shows a fast, crisscross motion with the flags just below the hip level, it means that the official was not able to see a credible point. The leading referee┬ĺs claim is considered as the final result in all cases but there are certain situations when the referee may call on the others for a thorough conference of the scoring and application of Kendo rules. A Kendo tournament usually presents a three point match and the Kendoka who scores the first two points will be declared as the winner; however, if the time limit has been reached yet one participant acquired a point, he or she will be declared the winner in the Kendo fighting match.


Before engaging in a Kendo tournament or training, there are a set of prohibitions listed in the Kendo rules that must avoided by every Kendoka and these are the following:

  • Drug Abuse
  • Insulting other Kendoka and exhibiting offensive behavior
  • Miscellaneous Kendo Fighting Prohibitions:

Participants should refrain from engaging in acts such as utilizing Kendo equipment other than the one┬ĺs provided, tripping or sweeping off a competitor┬ĺs leg, shoving / pushing opponents out of the court, dropping the weapon (shinai), and every other act that violates the general Kendo rules.