5 best books for learning kendo

The way of kendo: 5 best books for learning kendo

Ever dreamed of becoming a member of the fantastic crew of Jedi Knights in the film series ‘Star Wars’? Or, could it be anything that revolves around the mastery of fighting and swordsmanship? Lucky for you, Japan has a distinct kind of traditional martial art called kendo (the way of the sword).

If you want to learn more or take your kendo game to the next level and go beyond physical learning, books are certainly the best alternative source of information. This implies that even if you don’t practice kendo, you may learn visually by reading and viewing photographs of demonstrations. As such, the finest of the lot is shown here at Mississauga Kendo Club.

  1. Kendo — Fundamentals and Waza to Win


  • Author: Hirakawa Nobuo
  • Published date: June 26, 2019
  • Publisher: Bunkasha International
  • Pages: 182

This book is ideal for beginners because it has everything laid out just how you would like it. It is nicely divided into three sections, which are as follows:

  • 1st — introduction on the history of kendo
  • 2nd — based on how to stand, use the shinai and other fundamental movements
  • 3rd — more on specific techniques and their Japanese names
  1. This is Kendo: The Art of Japanese Fencing


  • Author: Junzo Sasamori
  • Published date: January 31, 2012
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing
  • Pages: 160

This book, like Nobuo’s, presents kendo as Japan’s exciting mental and physical activity. It delves into how it has acquired new appeal — with both sexes now playing — as well as its own growth and the efforts of a great group of teachers that have propelled it to its current place as a sport.

  1. Kendo Solo Training


  • Author: Yamamoto Kansuke
  • Published date: Eric Michael Shahan
  • Publisher: July 15, 2021
  • Pages: 95

Based on the title, this book is built on solitary kendo training. What is more important for you to know is that this book is based on almost 200-year-old scrolls. These ancient items taught the Japanese soldiers how to practice martial art. Interestingly enough, albeit being 200 years old, they are still as important now as they were back then.

  1. Kendo: Culture of the Sword


  • Author: Alexander Bennett
  • Published date: July 31, 2015
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Pages: 328

Alexander Bennett outlines how kendo developed through time as a result of a repeating process of ‘inventing tradition’. He chronicles the evolution of Japanese swordsmanship from the Muromachi period’s aristocratic-aesthetic pretensions, through the Edo regime’s samurai elitism, and finally to the Meiji state’s nostalgic patriotism. In other words, this serves as the changing philosophies and demands of Japanese soldiers and governments. 

  1. Kendo: A Comprehensive Guide to Japanese Swordsmanship


  • Author: Geoff Salmon
  • Published date: May 28, 2013
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing
  • Pages: 248

Geoff Salmon has been practising kendo for nearly 40 years, both in and out of Japan. In this tutorial, he aims to remove numerous myths about the sport and make kendo training accessible and effective for everybody. In fact, even beginning students and martial artists from other disciplines who want to add kendo training to their repertoire may benefit from his basic writing style.