Starting Kendo

AGE, GENDER & PHYSICAL 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 or tight fighting trousers that will inhibit your movements.

No footwear is required as kendo is practiced in bare feet. Please ensure you take your shoes off before entering any practices. We will loan you a shinai (bamboo sword) for the trial period. If you should decide to continue, you will have to order the basic equipment set of a shinai, bokuto (wooden sword) and the weapons carry bag that’s included in the joining fee.

Once you have advanced in your kendo footwork that is assessed by your instructors, you will need to progress into the kendo clothing that includes the hakama (trousers) and keikogi (shirt). These are not required in the beginning.

We require that all beginners have senseis’ approval on their progress before purchasing any bogu armour to ensure you do not buy something that is unsuitable.

COSTS

Please consider the cost of kendo before starting kendo. You will not be required to purchase anything other than the beginner set at the onset. 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 quality of material, care of clothing and the 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. These last well over 10-20 years. 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.