Mississauga Kendo Club: Kendo basic training preparations

Mississauga Kendo Club: Kendo basic training preparations

Many are confused whether Kendo is a martial art or sport. As practiced by the members of Mississauga Kendo Club, it is both a way to train the mind and body in the principles of the way of the katana or sword. It is a martial art in self development and a sport in fencing. 

Whether you want to learn Kendo for self improvement or you want to train for competitions, you need to be familiar with basic training preparations.

  1. First part of the training

The four things that you need to learn are:

  • Etiquette
  • How to sit
  • How to put the sword back in
  • How to wear your sword

The Kendo philosophy places great emphasis on etiquette and respect for the opponent. It is not all about physical abilities and winning a point does not count if your mind and spirit are not together when you make the hit. In Kendo training, concentration and mind training must go together along with your manners.

Kendo training, concentration and mind training are inseparable.

  1. Kendo armor and equipment

There are four key pieces of armor and equipment needed for Kendo:

  • Helmet
  • Bamboo sword
  • Breastplate
  • Gauntlet

To make the sword, four slats of bamboo are strapped into a cylinder with a leather grip and cap and then connected by a nylon cord and a tie in the middle.

  1. Target areas for attack and defence

There are four target areas in basic attack and defence techniques

  • The head
  • The wrists
  • The torso
  • Thrust to the throat

In Kendo training, you are taught many variations of the attack and defence techniques using feints, parries and blocks.

  1. Competition rules

Competitions can be held indoors or in an open field usually on the grounds of a shrine or temple surrounded by trees.

There are three referee judges who keep track of both attacks and defences. The designated time is usually between 3 to 5 minutes and the first to score two valid points is declared the winner.

If one competitor scores only one point within the regulated time, he or she is still declared the winner. If neither were able to score, time extension may be allowed to decide the match.

  1. Scoring points

Unlike other combat sports, Kendo does not have categories or classes that separate competitors by weight or size. The matches are fast pace, each opponent is always looking to score points by 

  • Finding a gap or opening to strike
  • Deflecting an attacking sword
  • Initiating an attack to create an opening by disrupting an opponent’s posture

It is tradition to respectfully bow before your opponent at the start of the match and after. You also have to shout your next move and intended targeted area and make eye contact when you strike your opponent. 

  1. Training tips

Dedication and commitment is important. Recommended number of practice is three times a week and a total of six hours.

Focus and do not rush yourself in training. There is a big difference in quickness to rushing your movements so just listen and follow each and every instruction.