What is kendo?
Today, kendo is practiced in dojo located all over the world, and carries on the tradition of training in Japanese swordsmanship using full contact strikes and thrusts, made possible by the wearing of protective bogu (armor) and using a shinai (bamboo sword) to attack.
Kendo training is quite noisy in comparison to some other martial arts or sports. This is because kendōka (a kendo player) use a shout, or kiai, to express their fighting spirit when striking. Additionally, kendōka execute fumikomi-ashi, an action similar to a stamp of the front foot, when making a strike. Kendo is practiced barefoot.
Kendo techniques comprise both strikes and thrusts. Strikes are only made towards specified target areas on the wrists, head, or torso, all of which are protected by armour. Thrusts (tsuki) are only allowed to the throat.
The competition side of kendo can be very important to our development as it helps us to understand what makes a ‘perfect cut’ or yuko datotsu. A point can only be awarded in kendo if the elements of yuko datotsu are observed, these include cutting at the right distance, with the right part of the shinai, on the target with intention, opportunity, correct technique and awareness of our opponent after the attack.