What is Kendo?

Kendo is a modern Japanese martial art which uses bamboo swords (shinai) and protective armour (bogu) to allow the free practice of swordsmanship. Kendo is a dynamic, full contact activity which offers a physical and mental challenge.

Kendo students are from all walks of life, and of any age. There are many different goals to pursue and reasons that people enjoy the art. The BKA has put together a leaflet with more information about the history and practice of Kendo, available here.

How do I start?

Beginners are always welcome to join a class. The club has shinai (practice swords) that you can borrow, so you don't need any special equipment to start with. You can practice in any comfortable clothing that would be suitable for the gym.

Practices are £5 per session. The club, like the majority of Kendo clubs, is run on a non-profit basis.

If you wish to join the club after a taster session, then you would need to take out a temporary membership with the BKA, which provides the insurance to practice. Temporary membership is only £10 and lasts for 3 months. Details about joining the BKA can be found by clicking here.

A typical kendo practice

Tora Dojo, based in London, have a good video showing a typical kendo practice.

A kendo practice session follows a fairly standard format the world over: A dynamic warm up, drills with and without armour, and free practice (sparring).

Kendo in the UK

There is a healthy Kendo scene in the UK, with strong links between clubs. There are many seminars, gradings and competitions throughout the year (with several events aimed at beginners). Seminars often benefit from visiting Sensei from Japan. In Scotland, there are annual seminars held by Taiseidokai in Glasgow and Yugenkai in Dunfermline, along with The Thistle Cup, a competition hosted by Aberdeen Kendo Club.

The UK national squad regularly competes at international events. Monthly squad training sessions are organised by the BKA and are open to all.

Leave your contact details below to register for the beginners course.