Kendo is a modern Japanese martial art, which descended from swordsmanship (kenjutsu) and uses bamboo swords (shinai) and protective armour (bōgu). Today, it is widely practiced within Japan and many other nations across the world. Kendo is an activity that combines martial arts practices and values with strenuous sport-like physical activity.
The shinai is meant to represent a Japanese sword, katana, and is made up of four bamboo slats, which are held together by leather fittings. A modern variation of a shinai with carbon fiberreinforced resin slats is also used.
Kendōka also use hard wooden swords, bokutō, to practice kata.
Kendo employs strikes involving both one edge and the tip of the shinai or bokutō.
Protective armour is worn to protect specified target areas on the head, arms and body. The head is protected by a stylised helmet, called Men, with a metal grille to protect the face, a series of hard leather and fabric flaps to protect the throat, and padded fabric flaps to protect the side of the neck and shoulders. The forearms, wrists, and hands are protected by long, thickly padded fabric gloves called Kote. The torso is protected by a breastplate called the Doh, while the waist and groin area is protected by the Tare, consisting of three thick vertical fabric flaps or faulds.
In 1975, the All Japan Kendo Federation (AJKF) developed then published “The Concept and Purpose of Kendo” which is reproduced below.
Kendo is a way to discipline the human character through the application of the principles of the katana.
To mold the mind and body.
To cultivate a vigorous spirit,
And through correct and rigid training,
To strive for improvement in the art of Kendo.
To hold in esteem human courtesy and honor.
To associate with others with sincerity.
And to forever pursue the cultivation of oneself.
Thus will one be able:
To love one’s country and society;
To contribute to the development of culture;
And to promote peace and prosperity among all peoples.