Kendo Information

Table of Contents

Kendo Terminology

Glossary

This is a list of common terms in kendo as well as courtesies and commands that you may encounter. There are many, many more terms listed here than a new kendoka will need, but the extras help to provide a bit more information to the inquisitive.

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Pronunciation of Japanese Terms

This short article gives the basics on pronouncing Japanese terms. It is by no means exhaustive but should give you enough of the rules to be able to pronounce the majority of the terms in kendo.

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KKC Dojo Manuals

A Beginner's Guide to Kendo

Beginner Cover

This guide gives inforamtion on formalities, kendo basics, equipment and maintenance, as well as the general layout of a practice and the drills or exercises done. It also covers some advanced topics such as waza, kendo theory, and competitions. Download








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If preferred, bound copies may be ordered online. The listed cost is for the colour printing and binding fee, plus shipping.

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Nihon Kendo Kata & Kihon Bokuto Waza: Study Guide

Kata Cover

The kata form an integral part of kendo by teaching both form and theory. This guide gives descriptions of the kata as well as information on the theory behind them. It also contains descriptions and information on the kihon bokuto waza. Download








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Fundamentals

Suburi

Here is a very short movie clip displaying three different ways you can 'time' your suburi, specifically with regards to the timing of your shinai in relation to your feet. The three different versions are a rough benchmark for techniques to be used at beginner, intermediate, and advanced level kendo. The "advanced" timing is the one we must strive for in our keiko, but it is also to be used during the kata and the kihon bokuto waza.

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Concepts and Theory

Concept and Purpose of Kendo

What is the Purpose of Kendo? This is an interesting question as modern kendo is both a "sport" as well as a "budo". While the sport aspect is easy to understand (exercise, camaraderie, competition, etc..) the "do" in kendo is much more complex. The All Japan Kendo Federation (AJKF) officially set down the "concept and purpose" of kendo in 1975. This definition embodies the modern concept of a "do"

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The Mindset of Kendo Instruction

This is a supplement to the AJKF's "concept and purpose of kendo". Where as the "concept" is directed toward the student or general populace, the "mindset" is directed toward instructors to help guide them during dojo practice and instruction. The "concept" and the "mindset" together form the core ideals of modern kendo. The All Japan Kendo Federation officially set down the "mindset of kendo instruction" in 2007.

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Notes on Jodan no Kamae

This is a cleaned up set of notes, taken from my own kendo notebook, on jodan. Specifically it covers using jodan as well as fighting against it. This is not meant to be a complete guide, but does give plenty of info for the curious.

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Mistakes in Practice

This is a small excerpt from "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind" by Shunryu Suzuki. The connection between 'zen thought' and kendo is very apparent, as are the similarities in their practice methods. While the subject of the book is that of practicing 'zazen', the advice it gives is equally applicable to a kendoka in their practice.

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Kendo no Kata & Their Effects on Kendo

This article, written by Sensei Morito Tsumura, Kendo 8th Dan, Hanshi, discusses the effect of meaningful practice of Kendo no Kata and the Kihon Bokuto Waza on Kendo.

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Applying Kendo no Kata to Shinai Kendo

Kendo no Kata are supposed to teach kendoka the principles behind modern kendo, and yet to some can seem completely disconnected from what is practiced in shinai kendo. This short article is intended to help in spelling out how to apply the kata to various situations in shinai kendo.

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Mitsu no Sen, Kendo Kata, and Striking in Kendo

The mitsu no sen are central ideas behind shidachi's attacks in the kata and are directly applicable to shinai kendo. This small article is from a presentation on how various levels of kendoka go about striking in shinai kendo, leading up to using the mitsu no sen at higher levels, and how shidachi goes about striking uchidachi in the kendo kata.

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Kendo Grading

The Ranking System and Progression

Kendo, like other Japanese martial arts, uses a Dan based grading system popularly recognized as "belt rankings". However in Kendo no explicit indication of rank is worn.

Kendo ranks are broken into two main groups: kyu rankings, also known as "mudansha", and dan raknings or "yudansha". Dan ranks are more commonly known, from other martial arts, as "black belt" ranks. This equates 1st kyu with "brown belt" and 1st dan with "first degree black belt".

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Rank Progression in Kendo
UnrankedNew students and beginners
Kyu Ranks
6th Kyu
5th Kyu
4th KyuBogu practice begins. Roughly 4-8 months practice time
3rd Kyu
2nd Kyu
1st KyuRoughly one year of practice time (minimum)
Dan Ranks
1st DanBeginner phase of Kendo
2nd Dan
3rd Dan
4th DanIntermediate phase of Kendo
5th DanSensei. Roughly fifteen years of practice (minimum)
6th Dan
7th DanAdvanced phase of Kendo
8th Dan
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Rank Requirements

In Canada, kyu rankings begin at 6th kyu and advance to 1st kyu, however younger children may start at 10th kyu. Dan raknings begin at 1st dan and advance to 8th dan.

The final rank, 8th dan, is considered one of the most difficult exams in the world having approxiamtely a 0.3% - 0.5% pass rate!

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CKF Rank Practice Time and Age Requirements
RankMin. Practice PeriodMin. Age
1 KyuN/AN/A
1 (Sho) danThree months after granting of 1 kyu14+
2 (Ni) danOne year after granting 1 dan16+
3 (San) danTwo years after granting 2 dan18+
4 (Yon) danThree years after granting 3 dan21+
5 (Go) danFour years after granting 4 dan25+
6 (Roku) danFive years after granting 5 dan30+
7 (Nana) danSix years after granting 6 dan36+
8 (Hachi) danTen years after granting 7 dan48+
Practical Examination (Fencing)
1 Kyu - 7 DanTwo, two minute fencing matches with an opponent challenging for the same rank, and within the same age group
8 DanThe CKF must be contacted regarding challenges for 8 dan
Kendo Kata and Bokuto Waza Examination Requirements
1 KyuBokuto waza 1-9
1 DanTachi kata 1-3
2 DanTachi kata 1-5
3 DanTachi kata 1-7
4 Dan+Tachi kata 1-7 and kodachi kata 1-3
Written Examination Requirements
A written exam is required to be submitted to the CKF for all dan rank challenges from 1 dan through to 5 dan
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Grading Manual

The following is a small booklet on pointers and expectations for Kendo gradings. The book is translated by Will Blades, a member of my "Alma Mater", the Halifax Kendo Club. The booklet gives information on what is required for the ranks of 1st kyu up to 5th dan.

This booklet is for educational purposes only, and is copyright by the respective author and/or publisher.

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