Known to be a modern Japanese martial art, Kendo is a style of fencing using a two-handed wooden sword. The fighters would wear a traditional Japanese garment called hakama, which is almost always in black. Today, it is one of the most popular cultures in the country and has spread across the globe.
What makes Kendo different from other sports is its strict approach towards manners and etiquette. Once you learn the art of Kendo, you start learning how to have good manners as well. Every fight begins and ends with showing respect, regardless of one’s social status.
Here are the most common etiquettes to keep in mind in Kendo:
During a match
Before a match, you must perform a standing bow. You bend your waist by about 15 degrees while maintaining eye contact with your opponent. Both parties should bow together since one bow alone will not give the match a significant meaning.
Moreover, you should never tease or ridicule an opponent regardless of the result. Both of you must end the match with courtesy by performing another standing bow.
One of the basic etiquette rules you should not violate is arriving early during training. When you arrive before the call time, you have enough time to change into the uniform, warm up and mentally prepare for the day. In Kendo, when you arrive late, you show other people that you don’t know how to keep your promises. Hence, you’re proving that you’re not a reliable person to begin with.
During practice, wait for the permission of the Sensei before removing your mask. You need to endure being uncomfortable or sweaty. Keep in mind that this will help hone your endurance and the discipline to follow orders at all times.
In addition, you must never disturb other people when they are training. If you can’t help but walk in front of them, nod politely in their direction to let them know you’re sorry. You must also follow the rank! Seniors should always help the newbies and set a good example. On the other hand, juniors should show respect to the seniors and follow their commands.
Another thing you need to remember is you should always take a shower before starting your day. Spreading foul odour in the training area can be seen as a sign of disrespect. So, you should not forget to wash your uniform and the mask.
When handling a sword
The sword is the most esteemed instrument in Kendo, so you should handle it with care and respect. Don’t use it as a cane or a toy that you can use to mess around during training. If you damage it, you may end up replacing it to avoid harming others.
Never touch another person’s sword without their permission. It’s also considered unacceptable to touch a sword without wearing gloves.