What is Kendo?
“Ken•doh” is the Japanese term for “way of the sword”. The history of Kendo can be traced back to the Edo period of Japan when samurai still practised their techniques. Many of today’s equipment is modeled after what samurai used in their training. They created wooden swords and practice armour so that they could practice their techniques without harming each other. When the government outlawed the carrying of the katana, and therefore outlawing the samurai itself, samurai schools began condensing their techniques down to core fundamentals. Today, modern Kendo has only 4 general target areas; the head, wrists, stomach and throat. A diagram outlining the specific areas can be seen on the in this image.
Practitioners of Kendo try to achieve perfection in Japanese style sword fighting techniques while developing oneself emotionally and spiritually. In this regard, showing proper etiquette and respect to your opponent in equal measure to yourself are what distinguishes Kendo from other sports. This is common to most martial arts, but it is practised to an exceptionally high degree in Kendo.
The atmosphere when playing Kendo is intense. Proper etiquette must be expressed at all times both to the senseis and to fellow kendo players. Players at all times must do their best or there is no meaning to the practised techniques both for you and your partner. This means coming up against your own limits and then challenging them until they are overcome and a new set of limits are found. Mental toughness is necessary and must be greater as you increase in rank. The physical, emotional and spiritual learning required in training keeps playing Kendo fresh and interesting as you progress!
Some of the benefits of playing Kendo include:
Developing stamina and energy.
Developing respect for yourself and other people. This was commonly referred to as character development.
Learning about the Japanese culture.
Gaining friendships with active and interesting people.
Learning about the mental states and physical realities necessary to perform Japanese sword fighting at a high a level as you are prepared to develop yourself.