Make your own free website on

-- Kendo should not be seen as a sport but as a lifetime study. --

This is very much the philosophy of the kendo-ka (Kendo players). Practitioners who enter into a fights, primarily concerned with not being hit, will find that their adversaries will more easily score points or win the battle. In kendo, the strike is viewed as a by-product of what has come before and what is about to follow, and there is a strong emphasis placed on initiative and taking control (seme:attack).

This plays a very important part in kendo development, along with a constant sense of readiness and alertness(zanshin).

The concept of kendo:

The following is an extract from the All Japan Kendo Federation, highlighting the true concept of Kendo and the purpose of practising this art:

To mould the mind and body
To cultivate a vigorous spirit
Through correct and rigid training to strive for the improvement in the art of kendo
To hold in esteem human courtesy and honour
To associate with others with sincerity
To pursue forever the cultivation of oneself

Thus, you will be able:

To love your country and society
To contribute to the development of culture
To promote peace and prosperity among all peoples

The aim of kendo is for kendoka to react intuitively, with fluency and elegance. Speed and body movements are of the utmost importance in the delivery of a skilful technique. Yet the aim is not to be the first one to score a point or to win in the kendo practice, but to work together, striving towards good technique, giving and taking along the way. Only in competition should this philosophical aim be different.

Kendo places great emphasis on moral values, discipline and self-control.

Try to think of kendo not as a sport that you might participate in for a few years, but as a lifetime study. Mental and physical controls are of the utmost importance, since the balance of the two leads to harmony, not only in the art itself, but in your general well-being. It is for this reason that there are four deep-rooted mental hurdles that kendoka must overcome:

Fear, doubt, surprise and confusion.
Collectively, these are known as the four poisons of kendo.

In comparison to Olympic fencing, where a point is scored simply by making contact with the target, in kendo several elements are required in order for the essential winning point to be scored. These include:

A very important part of kendo training is zanshin, which translates as "good awareness or remaining posture" - that is, of the opponent and the continuing element of battle. It is the ability to take in the environment, being sensitive to any threat or other factors that could lead to injury, even death. Zanshin enables kendoka to attain a heightened ability and awareness, thus to react instantaneously to minimise risk.

Benefits of Kendo

The benefits derived from learning kendo affect many aspects of your everyday life. These include:

* transcribed from "Martial Arts."

Some Kendo terms:

onegai-shimasu (before practice) : Please teach me.
arigato gozaimashita (after practice) : Thank you very much.
ohayo gozaimasu : Good morning
jaa mata : See you again
(when you give something to someone)-dozo : Here you are. domo : Thanks.

(Bow in) -
sei-retsu : line-up
mokusou : meditation
shin-zen ni rie : bow to "god"/higher place
sensei ni rei : bow to the seniors or shou-men ni rei : bow to the front
otagai ni rei : bow to each other

men tsuke : put on
men tore : take off
uchi-dachi : attacker
moto-dachi (shi-dachi) : receiver
sei-retsu (ichi-/ni-retsu) : line-up (one /two-lines)
sage tou : hold shinai easily
tai tou : to the waist
kamae : be ready
jo-ge (su) buri : swing shinai up-down easily
sui-hei uchi : swing shinai horizontally easily
mae : forward ato : backward
hidari : left migi : right

rei : bow
sonkyo : squat
hajime : begin
wakare : break up
men-ari : point
ippon-me / nihon-me / shoubu * hansoku
1st-point 2nd-point decider penalty
yame : stop
syoubu-ari : game is over
sonkyo : squat
osame-tou : put a sword away
rei : bow

yon-kyu : 4th grade
san-kyu : 3rd grade
ni-kyu : 2nd grade
ik-kyu : 1st grade
sho-dan : 1st black belt
ni-dan : 2nd black belt
san-dan : 3rd
yon-dan : 4th

kiai : spirit
maai : distance
tsuba-zeriai : swords contact
en : continuity
zan-shin : remaining posture
su(m)imasen : sorry/excuse me
wakarimasu ka : Do you understand ?
hai, wakarimasu : yes, I understand.
uchikomi-geiko : show openings
kakari-geiko : make openings
ji-geiko : game-style practice
Back to the homepage