Kendo (the way of the sword) is a Japanese martial art based on the long history and traditional culture of Japan.  The spirit of Kendo relates the fundamental matters of life and death.  The Bushi, the Samurai warriors of the past, dealt with these matters as a course of necessity.  Arising from this harsh existence and their study of both body and spirit, they found a way to live their lives with dignity.  This elevated manner of living can be attained through the training and study of Kendo.  While Kendo has competitive aspects, the ultimate aim us for one to utilize the study of Kendo to train the mind and body, and discipline the human character.


Striking Zones

Kendo practitioners (Kenshi) are armed with bamboo swords (shinai).  In the simplest terms the objective is to strike the opponent.  As depicted in the diagram, in Kendo there are 4 striking zones (datotsu-bui) - men, kote, do and tsuki. In a Kendo match (shiai) to score a valid strike (ippon), the following conditions must be met:

  • showing a fullness of spirit and appropriate posture
  • striking a datotsu-bui of the opponent with the striking region and correct angle of one's own shinai
  • alertness of body and state of mind after the strike (zanshin)


The Immovable Mind & The Four Sicknesses

To be successful in Kendo and overcome your opponent, it is first necessary to overcome oneself.  Achieving Fudōshin is one of the long term objectives of kendo practice. Literally meaning “immovable mind”, Fudōshin is the ability to remain calm under pressure.  

Fudōshin is the protection against the “shikai” or four sicknesses of kendo: anger, doubt, fear and surprise. Kenshi should not lose their composure under pressure or provocation.  In practical terms this means not flinching under the pressure of a sudden strong attack, or reacting hastily to a feint. It equally means having the courage and commitment to finish an attack once initiated.


Kendo Rules Explained