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Kendo, The Way of the Sword – Kendo Equipment

Date Published: Last Update:2015/05/25 Traditional Culture ,

In our previous post about kendo, we learned about its history. In this post, we will learn about the kendo equipment.

As the All Japan Kendo Federation (AJKF) restored kendo and fight against the ban after the declaration of Japan’s independence, they then published “The Concept and Purpose of Kendo”.

The Purpose of Kendo

Its concept is stated as “Kendo is a way to discipline the human character through the application of the principles of the katana.” Katana is the Japanese sword used by samurais in feudal Japan. Its purpose is stated below:

To mold the mind and body.

To cultivate a vigorous spirit,

And through correct and rigid training,

To strive for improvement in the art of Kendo.

To hold in esteem human courtesy and honor.

To associate with others with sincerity.

And to forever pursue the cultivation of oneself.

Thus will one be able:

To love one’s country and society;

To contribute to the development of culture;

And to promote peace and prosperity among all peoples.

Kendo Equipment

Kendo is practiced wearing a traditional Japanese style of clothing, protective armour, and using one or, less commonly, two shinai.

Kendo equipment1. Men – Protects the head.

Men_(kendo)2.Keikogi – The jacket worn during practice.

3. Do Protects the chest.

Do_kendo

4 & 7. Kote – Protects the hands and wrists.

kote

5. Hakama – The skirt worn during practice, also part of the formal clothing worn by Japanese men in traditional life.

hakama

6. Shinai – The training sword used in modern kendo, made of bamboo and leather.

Shinai

8. Tare – Worn around the hips to protect the lower part of the body .

Tare

The armour is known collectively as Bogu and protects the participant from strikes with the shinai, so that one can practice safely. The head is protected by a stylised helmet, called men (面), with a metal grille (面金 men-gane) to protect the face, a series of hard leather and fabric flaps (突垂れ tsuki-dare) to protect the throat, and padded fabric flaps (面垂れ men-dare) to protect the side of the neck and shoulders. The forearms, wrists, and hands are protected by long, thickly padded fabric gloves called kote (小手). The torso is protected by a breastplate (胴 dō), while the waist and groin area is protected by the tare (垂れ), consisting of three thick vertical fabric flaps or faulds.

Practice clothing (Keiko gi) is worn in order to train comfortably and safely and is based on the traditional clothing from the samurai period. If looked after properly bogu can last many years. Keiko gi should be washed regularly and bogu should be aired between practices.

The shinai is meant to represent a Japanese sword (katana) and is made up of four bamboo slats, which are held together by leather fittings. A modern variation of a shinai with carbon fiber reinforced resin slats is also used.

In our next post, we will learn about some kendo moves and techniques.

References:

1. Kendo. Web-Japan.

2. Kendo Basic Equipement. Ninriki Kendo Club.

3. Images from Wikimedia Commons.

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