Anyone ever train Kendo?

What is it like? I was thinking of training in it. Is there much of a work out?

gotgame trains. He should have more info when he gets on.

Hi, OutLaw. I sure do train kendo. Be happy to answer all your questions. In response to your first: is there much of a workout, the answer is most definitely yes, but it is anaerobic in nature and won't train every part of your body (it's common to see kendo guys with nice legs, nice forearms - and a gut; kendo's emphasis on social drinking or "second practice" doesn't help).

Cost can be a problem, too, because the armor is around $500 or higher, plus the clothing, plus $20 shinai that break over time and require replacing, so that adds up; but you don't need to pony all this stuff up right away, most clubs will let you start with just some sweats and a shinai.

As for what practice is like: you train basic cuts over and over, then spar with them, so it's a lot of drills plus fighting. Kinda like boxing! There's also kata and eventually kata work with real steel (esp. if you cross over into iaido.) The movements are not natural, either, so it takes a lot of effort to get used to them. But it is worth it. I have been at it five years, am a 2nd-dan, and plan on doing it til I croak.

I wish there were some good videos online. Hmmm... A quick google turned up this page, in Spanish, with some good mpegs and wmv files:

Shows both kata and shinai kendo.

Here's some good info:

For iaido:

So, where are you? I may know the club in your area. Best thing to do is watch a practice.

I'm in SF. I checked out a class today but I didn't get to stay the whole time. I will next time though. I saw alot of Kata. But He said thats because of the upcoming promotions and testing. So I didn't get to see a normal class. They said they have equipment there to lend to me. All they ask is for me to by a shinai. The guy I was talking to was really cool. It seemed very traditional and strict. No hats no shoes. I totally got culture shocked since I am so used to BJJ schools. Here's the place I checked out.
Thanks for the info. It was very interesting.


Naw, it was movie swordsmanship, although I did enjoy the movie. It's hard to watch period flicks or sword flicks when you actually start training in it! The swordwork in the "Yojimbo" movies and even "Lone Wolf and Cub" was much more, I think, realistic. One thing to note right off the bat: the way Uma holds that sword, her left hand is too high up on the handle.


I know that dojo, it's in the basement of a Buddhist church, right? I visited there last time I was in SF a few years ago. Yes, the culture of kendo is very Japanese, very traditional (usually more Japanese than white people involved); but what seems very formal at first becomes very comfortable after a little while, and you'll make great friends. You'll be in great hands with those folks.

The only drawback to kendo as I see it is that your other activites may not get as much attention. Anything worth doing is worth doing well, and kendo requires a lot of effort and time before it starts paying off. As you have experience in martial arts, you understand that I'm sure. If you're young and have more time than old married dads like me, you can make it work, but not having enough time to adequately do kendo AND judo AND vale tudo, I kind of lament.

Still, I'm happy with kendo. Let us know how it goes!

Hello Gotgame,

What is the procedure for keeping the sword blade sharp and clean?

Ive seen aa antique "kit" that contained I believe clove oil (at least that what it smelled like) and a soft ball on a stick that "powders" the blade?

Hello, Steel. Yes, it's something like that. I myself know very little about caring for art swords or very good swords, I've always used iaito or weapons designed specifically for martial arts use. So I've always cleaned my blades with machine oil and 100% cotton toilet paper or a cotton cloth.

But to really take care of an art weapon or an older weapon or a weapon that's meant to be cared for in a traditional manner requires water, clove oil, and this powder of which you speak. And to polish the blade - that's a whole 'nother profession! People can make careers out of simply polishing the weapons (which I think also takes the little nicks out of them, too).

P.S. TTT for andre.

it's common to see kendo guys with nice legs

tf, pics?

Haha! Pics of kendo?

If those kinds of people do show up they get washed out by having to prove it "on the mat." It ain't an easy workout!