Learn about the ancient martial art of Kendo

Kendo Equipment

Learn about the equipment the Kendoki and Kenshi use when practicing the ancient martial art of Kendo.

If you are one of those guys who would want to look cool while exercising then Kendo, along with the different kendo equipment, is the sport for you.

What is kendo?

Kendo is an ancient martial art that originated from Japan. Kendo means “way of the sword” if you translate it from Japanese to English. The style derives its technique from the samurai of ancient Japan. Kendo is not just a sport or technique but it is a way of life that the samurai of old embodies.

Practitioners of Kendo are called “kendoka” or “kenshi.” The kenshi or kendoka uses different kinds of equipment once they engage in the practice of Kendo. The art was developed as a way to hone the mind, body, and sword as one. The Kendo practitioner abides and applies the code of the katana.

The kenshi who puts on kendo equipment embodies the following traits:

  • Mushin – means empty mind.
  • Fudoshin – means unmoving mind, emotionless.

The Kendo practitioner is at peace with himself and his or her surroundings. Kendo is not only a combat martial art but also a means for spiritual transcendence. Once you put on the kendo equipment, you must be at peace with yourself and your surroundings to be able to conquer your opponents.

There are different kinds of kendo equipment that you should be aware of. You may be asking yourself what are the different kinds of kendo equipment you will need to start practicing.

Equipment for kendo

If you are familiar with Kendo then it would be a cinch to name all of the equipment that you need to have from head to toe. But for the non-practitioners you can read on to find out more about the equipment for kendo.

1. The wooden sword that a practitioner uses is called the bokuto or bokken. You can start out with the bokuto before using the more advanced sword for higher ranking techniques. You can use the bokuto to practice moves and strikes that you will need to lay the foundation for higher level techniques. The bokuto is also used to practice the different forms of kata in kendo.

2. Another weapon in your arsenal as a kenshi is the bamboo sword or the shinai. The shinai is also used to hone your skill at wielding a sword. You can switch between the shinai and bokuto to practice your striking and piercing techniques in kendo. Kendo teaches its students to use the shina and bokuto for one-edge strikes or piercing movements with the tip.

3. Kendo practitioners also wear protective gear for certain parts of the body. The protective helmet is called the “men” and has a metallic grill that protects the face but still allows the practitioner to see. The flaps that surround the helmet also serve as protective armor for your shoulders. They are called “men-dare.” The protective padding that protrudes from your neck protects your throat; it is called the “tsuki-dare.”

4. The protective gear that a kenshi wears on his breast and body is called the “do.”

5. The armor that shields the waist and the groin area is called the “tare.” The tare has 3 pads  that protect both sides of the waist and the groin area.

6. Your forearms, wrists and hands are also covered in armor called “kote.”

The Kendo practitioner is protected with a full gear of armor and matching bamboo sword. But as a beginner you will only need the shinai or bokuto as you progress in your training you will start to wear the armor.

Kendo and kendo equipment is deeply rooted in samurai tradition. It embodies the martial art and the way of life of the samurai.

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