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WHAT IS KENDO?
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What is Kendo?
Kendo is a Japanese martial art and modern sport. The name literally means "The way of sword". Its modern form developed from the combat skills practiced by the Japanese warrior class, the samurai. The central premise of Kendo is fighting against a similarly armed opponent. Thus, Kendo focuses on developing the skills and strategies needed to deal with an swordbearing opponent.
Training consists of two generalized areas: shiai and kata.
Shiai or competition practice focuses on developing the skills and strategies needed for open dueling or gigeiko. In shiai practice, kenshi (those who practice kendo) wear protective armor called bogu over a uniform called the kendo-gi (keiko-gi). The armor consists of a helmet (men), chest protector (do), gauntlets (kote), and a protective apron (tare). This armor is designed to both protect the kenshi against hits from a bamboo sword or shinai, and to approximate the design of the traditional samurai armor known as yoroi. The bogu allows kenshi to practice at full speed with full commitment during shiai practice.
Kata or forms practice focuses on understanding the form, technique, and philosophy behind kendo practice. The ten modern kendo kata (Nihon Kendo Kata) are a set of predetermined movements for a designated attacker (uchidachi) and defender (shidachi), each showcasing a diversity of technique, form, and philosophies. In contrast with shiai practice, there is no contact with kata. Also, a wooden or metal sword is used to more closely approximate the weight and balance of a sword.
Kendo is a traditional martial art and modern sport with a diverse body of practitioners, attracting both young and old, women and men alike.