by on December 20, 2022
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First, if you're new here, you may be wondering what exactly Kendo is. It seems interesting on the surface; I mean, it's sword fighting, how could it not be interesting!? However, it gets even better when you get into the history and background of it, so let's get you up-to-date with all you need to know before you start learning:

 

What is Kendo?

Kendo is a modern Japanese martial art that involves sword fighting with wooden swords, called "shinai." Kendo practitioners, known as "Kendoka," wear protective armor and engage in sparring matches to practice their skills.

Kendo has its roots in the traditional Japanese martial art of swordsmanship, called "Kenjutsu," and was developed in the late 19th century as a way to practice and preserve the techniques and philosophies of Kenjutsu. In Kendo, practitioners aim to strike specific target areas on the opponent's body with their shinai, including the head, the torso, and the wrists.

In addition to physical techniques, Kendo emphasizes mental and spiritual discipline, and practitioners are expected to adhere to a code of conduct known as the "Dojo Kun." This code includes principles such as respect, perseverance, and honesty.

 

How to start learning:

Before you start, I highly recommend that you find a local Kendo club, as that will make things so much easier for you as a beginner. A coach's instruction is rarely substituted by anything else, so make sure you consider it. Now, let's get into it!

  1. Learn the basics: Kendo has specific techniques and protocols that you will need to learn to participate in training and sparring sessions. Your instructor will teach you the basics of how to hold and use your shinai, strike the designated target areas, and follow Kendo's rules and protocols.
  2. Find a local kendo club: We cannot stress this enough. Search online or ask around your community to find a kendo club or Dojo that offers beginner classes. Many kendo clubs are welcoming toward new members and can provide you with the necessary equipment and instruction.
  3. Practice regularly: Kendo is a physically demanding martial art that requires practice and repetition to improve. Attend training sessions and practices regularly to develop your skills and endurance. You can have cheat days with the gym, but it's probably best not to skip any Kendo sessions at your club, or you may fall behind the curve!
  4. Adhere to the code of conduct: Kendo emphasizes discipline and respect, and practitioners are expected to follow the code of conduct (the "dojo kun") as discussed earlier. This includes principles such as honesty, respect, and perseverance. In any martial art, the code of conduct is extremely important to follow, and it's no different in this case.
  5. Remember to stay safe: This doesn’t mean just wearing the necessary protective gear, including armor and a mouthguard; you’ll also need to follow all safety guidelines and protocols when participating in kendo training. Remember, respect the Dojo; the Dojo will respect you, and vice versa. And as always, remember to have fun, too!
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