- May I watch a practice before joining?
Yes. Visitors are welcome to observe at any practice. Experienced Kendoists from other clubs are welcome to join our practice at any time. We encourage you to contact us by e-mail in advance of your visit.
- What do I wear to my first practice?
Loose fitting sweats or a track suit are fine. Judo or Karate uniforms also work well if you have them. For safety reasons, jewellery should not be worn.
- Do I need equipment?
Yes. You will need a bamboo sword (shinai) and a wooden replica sword (bokken). It is advised to purchase your own in advance. More information here.
- When do I need to get my own uniform and armor?
You can buy the kendo uniform (Keikogi and Hakama) after you’ve decided you’re going to stick with it. You won’t be permitted to wear armor (bogu) until you’ve been practicing for six months to a year, depending on ability and practice frequency
- Where can I buy equipment?
Shinai and bokken are generally available through the club. Uniforms and armour (bogu) are generally purchased on-line by the members themselves. Some equipment suppliers are listed on the Links page. The club’s instructors can recommend other reputable suppliers.
- How much does equipment cost?
A basic bamboo shinai generally costs $30-$40 (plus shipping) and should last a beginner 8 to 12 months. A basic wooden Bokken will cost $25-$40 (plus shipping) and will last forever. More information here.
- Can I borrow equipment?
A limited number of sets of armour (bogu) are owned by the club. They are available for members to use at no extra charge. The club does not loan out uniforms, shinai (bamboo swords) or bokken (wooden swords).
- What is a beginner class like?
For the first six to eight months you will learn warm up exercises, footwork, how to swing the sword properly, and execute basic strikes. This is done under the close supervision of an instructor or senior member. You may practice striking senior members wearing armour, but you will not be struck yourself. For the most part, a shinai held at head or wrist level will be used as a target to practice the basic strikes. Kendo is done in bare feet, and you will likely get blisters at some point. There is little aerobic exercise value in Kendo at this stage. Before you can participate in full contact sparring, you need to have the basics down cold.
- What is an advanced class like?
After the first six to eight months you will put on armour and practice the strikes and thrusts in full contact practice with an opponent. The first half of practice will typically be drills, often finished up with intense aerobic conditioning drills. The second half typically consists of free practice sparring with other members of the club.
- What do my dues pay for?
Dues pay for facilities rental, purchase and maintenance of club-owned equipment, annual membership fees to the Canadian Kendo Federation and occasional special events such as seminars. The club’s instructors are all unpaid volunteers.