Starting Kendo

Age, Gender and Physique Requirements

Kendo is open to all ages and members range from our juniors at 5 years of age to some in their 80s. Juniors under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent/carer and signatures on consent forms will be required. Kendo is for all genders. There are no gender advantages and disadvantages. Physically, kendokas vary in all sizes horizontally and vertically.

Starting Kendo – Clothing and Footwear

You need to wear some comfortable loose fitting gym clothing such as sweatpants, gym shorts and a T-shirt. Please do not wear jeans as that will inhibit your movements. Kendo is practiced in bare feet, so you will not need any footwear. We will loan you a bamboo practice sword (shinai) for the trial period then order some basic equipment through the joining fee.

The kendo clothing includes the hakama (trousers) and keikogi (shirt). These are not required in the beginning. You will require these once your footwork and posture are satisfactory and approved by the senseis.

We require that all beginners have senseis’ approval on their progress before purchasing any bogu armour.

Initial and Long Term Costs

The cost of kendo needs to be considered and understood when you start. You will not be required to purchase anything other than the shinai bamboo sword and the bokuto wooden sword at the beginning. This is part of our beginners equipment pack. Once you have progressed further, the hakama and kendogi clothing are required with a set starting at £50-60. The set will not require replacement for many years depending on frequency of wash and wear. The bogu is the most expensive part. We usually recommend ones that are in the range of £200-£300 or slightly higher. This midrange bogu can last well over a decade. Once the kendo clothing and bogu are acquired, there will just be the occasional replacement of the shinai bamboo sword starting at about £20 each. The frequency of replacing this depends on the individual’s level, amount of excessive strength used and also the regular accuracy of the kendoka. The bokuto wooden sword rarely requires replacement from wear and might only be replaced based on the person’s change in taste.