Kendo, the way of the sword, is a modern martial art based on ancient kenjutsu (the art of swordsmanship). The word Kendo is made of the characters ken (sword) and do (way or path); a way of life following the practice of Kendo.
Kendo practice is composed of solo exercises, Kata (pre-arranged forms), and training with a partner or opponent. Like other martial arts, Kendo requires discipline and dedication to training. New students begin with learning the basics of etiquette, posture and footwork; and how to properly utilize a sword. Eventually, students begin practicing methods of attack and defense with partners using armor and shinai. As students progress they join regular training which includes competition, kata and other exercises.
Kata are pre-arranged sequences of motions that demonstrate various aspects of the art. Kendo kata are practiced between two people using solid wooden swords called bokken. Repetitive practice of kata leads to increased awareness and deeper understanding of the underlying principles of Kendo.
The purpose of Kendo practice is to:
– cultivate the mind and body
– develop a vigorous spirit
– pursue thorough, correct strict training
– hold in esteem human courtesy and honor
– associate with others with sincerity