Japanese Name
Japanese 剣道 Kendō
Kana spelling けんどう
Rōmaji (Hepburn) Kendo
Kunrei-shiki Kendo
Nihon-shiki Kendo

Kendo (剣道 Kendō) , is the martial art of Japanese fencing, developed from traditional techniques of Japanese swordsmanship known as kenjutsu. Since 1975 the goal of Kendo has been stated by the All Japan Kendo Federation as "to discipline the human character through the application of the principles of the katana (the Japanese standard two handed sword)".

Kendo is a physically and mentally challenging activity that combines strong martial arts values with sporting like physical elements.

Practitioners of kendo are called kendoka (one who practices kendo) or kenshi (swordsman). The latter may also be applied to practitioners of other traditional Japanese sword arts.

Kendo is taught using "swords" made of split bamboo called shinai and extensive protective armour (bogu) is worn to protect specified target areas on the head and body. Kendoka also use bokuto (wooden swords) to practice set forms known as kata. On formal occasions, real swords or swords with a blunt edge, called kata-yo or habiki, may be used for a display of kata.

A part of net information on South Korea, Kumdo main gym, and Kumdo by the practice life are and there is a selfish insistence of founder of the kendo. However, when the source of the South Korea is opened to the public with the net, a lot of fabrication points are admitted, and it antagonizes it big in Japan. A cultural plagiarism of South Korea is being put in question in the United States as news takes up the feature that points out fabrication by the Republic of Korea including Kumdo.

Moreover, the plagiarism problem of this kendo was taken up in the Japanese kendo league (International Kendo Federation), and fixed as an international fact that it was a Japanese origin. International_Kendo_Federation

In addition, this plagiarism is taken up by an opposite riot and the commotion of South Korea to such a plagiarism tone of argument in not only Japan and the United States but also each country of Europe, and contempt and the disregard of the another country culture to the Republic of Korea have been sent also to the anxiety that comes into question internationally with a lot of plagiarisms.


Kendo, "The Way of The sword", embodies the essence of the sword fighting arts. Since the earliest samurai government in Japan, during the Kamakura period (1185-1233), sword fencing, together with horse riding and archery, were the main martial pursuits of the military clans. In this period Kendo developed under the strong influence of Zen Buddhism. The samurai could equate the disregard for his own life in the heat of battle, which was considered necessary for victory in individual combat, to the Buddhist concept of the illusory nature of the distinction between life and death.


Kendo at an agricultural school in Japan around 1920

Since that time, the way of the Samurai has been preserved through Kendo practice. Those swordsmen established schools of kendo training which continued for centuries, and which form the basis of kendo practice today. The names of the schools reflect the essence of the originator’s enlightenment. Thus the Itto-Ryu (Single sword school) indicates the founder’s illumination that all possible cuts with the sword emanate from and are contained in one original essential cut. The Muto (swordless school) expresses the comprehension of the originator Yamaoka Tesshu, that "There is no sword outside the mind". The 'Munen Muso Ryu’ (No Intent, No preconception) similarly expresses the understanding that the essence of Kendo transcends the reflective thought process.

The formal Kendo exercises set down sometime several centuries ago are studied today using wooden swords in set forms, or kata. The present form of kendo training, using shinai and bogu was introduced in the 18th century by Naganuma Sirozaemon Kunisato (長沼四郎左衛門国郷 1688-1767). Training using bamboo practice swords and substantial armour includes both formal exercises and free fencing. Thus today it is possible to embark on the quest for spiritual enlightenment followed by the samurai of old. Concepts such as 'Mushin', or 'empty mind' as professed by exponents of Zen are an essential attainment for high level Kendo. Fudoshin, or 'Unmoving Mind', a conceptual attribute of the deity Fudo Myo-O, one of the five 'Kings of Light' of Shingon Buddhism, implies that the fencer cannot be led astray by delusions of anger, doubt, fear, or surprise arising from his opponent’s actions.

In 1920, Dai Nippon Butoku Kai (大日本武徳会, developer of the Japan Martial Arts Foundation) changed the name of Gekiken (撃剣, "hitting sword") to Kendo.

Modern Kendo Edit

In modern kendo, there are strikes and thrusts. Strikes are allowed against only seven specified target areas, or datotsu-bui on the head or body, all of which are protected by bogu. The targets are men (top of the head), sayu-men or yoko-men (upper left and right side of the head), the right kote, or wrist at any time, the left kote when it is in a raised position (such as jodan) and the left or right do or torso. Thrusts are only allowed to the throat (tsuki). However, since an incorrectly performed thrust could injure the neck, thrust techniques in free practice and competition are restricted to senior dan grade kendoists.

In shiai, or competition, a point is only awarded when the attack is done firmly and properly to any of the specified target points with ki-ken-tai-ichi, or spirit, sword and body as one. This means, for an attack to be successful, the shinai must strike the specified target, that the contact by the shinai must happen at the same moment as the attacker's front foot makes contact with the floor and the kendoka must vocalise an expression of kiai that displays good spirit. Additionally, the top third only of the shinai must make contact with the target and the shinai direction of movement must also be correct. Finally, "zanshin" or continuation of awareness, must be present and shown, before, during and after the strike, then the player must be ready to attack again.

In a tournament, there are three judges or shinpan. Each holds a red flag and a white flag in opposing hands. Each competitor has either a white or red ribbon attached to their back. For a point to be awarded, a minimum of two judges must agree. To signal this, the judges raise the corresponding coloured flag of the player who scored the point. The first to score two points wins the match. When the time limit is reached several things may happen: If one player has one point and the other does not, then the player with one point wins. In cases of a tie, the match may be declared a draw or decided by a period of sudden death overtime (encho) (then the first to score a point wins, regardless of time left), or by hantei, judges' decision.


There are 10 nihon kendo kata (Japanese kendo forms). The kata include fundamental techniques of attacking and counter attacking with the sword and have useful practical application in general kendo. Kata is performed with either wooden swords (bokken/bokuto) or occasionally with real swords or swords with a blunt edge, called kata-yo or habiki.

Kata 1~7 are performed with both partners using a bokken (long sword) of around 102 cm. Kata 8~10 are performed with one partner using a bokken and the other using a kodachi (short sword) of around 55cm.

During kata practice, the participants take the roles of either uchidachi (teacher) or shidachi (student). The uchidachi makes the first move or attack in each kata. As this is a teaching role, the uchidachi is always the 'losing' side, thus allowing the shidachi or student to learn and gain confidence.

References Edit

Grades Edit

Technical achievement in Kendo is measured by advancement in gr