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What is Kendo...

Kendo is a combination of two Japanese words - “ken” meaning “sword” and “michi” or “do” meaning “road” or “way” ; the result being “sword’s way” or “the way of the sword.” Kendo was derived from one of the oldest of the martial arts - Kenjutsu (swordsmanship, or the technique of the sword) of which written records date back to the seventh century. Kenjutsu was born during the early Tokugawa Period (1603-1867) when Tokugawa Ieyasu ruled as the shogun, and pressed the other provincial lords to cease hostility among themselves. There was a special need for the samurai of that day - something other than just the practice of swordsmanship. This is when Kenjutsu made its beginning.            

Since old-fashioned training with real steel swords and hardwood swords caused so many unnecessary injuries and deaths, bamboo practice swords were created around 1710 developed by Japanese armorers and Japanese swordmasters. Around 1740, Japanese sword masters and Japanese armorers improvised chest and head protectors as well as heavy gloves. As can be imagined, the original bamboo practice swords and protectors were quite primitive and of simple construction. Over the centuries, these were refined by Japanese armorers into the attractive and practical Kendo equipment as seen today in Japan. Subsequently, Kenjutsu has undergone various refinements, such as the introduction of protective equipment, a substitute weapon for the sword, techniques, etc. Kendo emerged in the late 19th century.




Although Kendo is regarded today as a physical sport, the mental development portion must still be considered an important function. Kendo, the art of Japanese swordsmanship, is a way of life designed to contribute to self-development through training in the guiding principles underlying the art of the sword. Through rigorous training in Kendo, the student strengthens his or her body and mind, develop a strong spirit, learn to treat people properly, to value truth, to be sincere, to always strive for self-development, love society and country, and contribute to the peace and prosperity of humanity. 

In modern Kendo, there are two types of attacks: strikes and thrusts. Strikes are allowed to only three points on the body-the top of the head, the right and left sides of the waist and the forearms. Thrusts are usually permitted only to the throat. Unlike western fencing where two opponents show each other only their sides, in Kendo, the opponents stand face to face and these four target areas were chosen because they are the most difficult. In competitive matches, it is not enough for your bamboo sword to just touch the opponent; points are awarded only when the attacks are done properly to the exact target with good control and a yell or Kiai. The first person to win two points wins the match.

As of 2000, several million people practice Kendo in Japan, including about 1.2 million who have been awarded a Dan-rank in the art. Kendo is enjoyed by about one million practitioners abroad. The International Kendo Federation (IKF) has members in 41contries and through correct and rigid training,

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