- How do I start Kendo?
- At what age can I start Kendo?
- What about Kendo for Women?
- How do I find a Kendo club?
- How do I know if a club is good / reputable?
- Who is the instructor at Southampton Kendo Club?
- How much does it cost?
- Why does armour vary in cost?
- Is Kendo Dangerous?
- Does a shinai blow hurt?
- How is Kendo Graded?
- What are Kendo Competitions like?
Q: How do I start Kendo?
A: Find a club in your area, go along at practice time and watch a session and talk to a senior member. Southampton Kendo Club runs 3-4 Beginners Courses per year, and welcomes all visitors to our Monday session (Practice Times). To register for the next course see the Beginners page.
Q: What about Kendo for Women?
A: Kendo favours speed and agility over strength and is particularly suitable for women. The training of Kendo is identical for men and women who practice together, however tournaments are seperated into Mens and Womens matches.
Q: How do I find a Kendo club?
A: All UK clubs are listed at the British Kendo Association (BKA) website.
Q: How do I know if a club is good/reputable?
A: All clubs should be members of their National Federation which in turn belongs to the International Kendo Federation.(I.K.F.). When visiting a club see if the club is well-attended and if you feel comfortable there; ask any questions you may have and see if they are answered to your satisfaction.
Q: Who is the instructor at Southampton Kendo Club?
A: Southampton Kendo Club has 2 qualified instructors: Andy Bennett (Dojo Leader, 3rd Dan, L1 Coaching) and Sean Ovans (Club Chairman, 2nd Dan, L1 Coaching). In addition we have a number of lower grade members who are very capable of teaching beginners.
Q: How much does it cost?
A: When you begin Kendo you do not need to use armour right away. Beginners are required to attend a beginners course before they can become full members of Southampton Kendo Club. The current price of the beginners course is £20 for an eight week course. This includes 3 month membership of the BKA. Between 2 and 3 months after the end of the beginners course you will be ready to start training in armour; a certain number of sets will be available at the club to borrow during practice. Therefore you may practice Kendo cheaply for many months while finding out if it is for you. Eventually you will want to buy your own armour, this can be sourced from from armour suppliers (see links in the sidebar for equipment suppliers)
Q: Why does armour vary in cost?
A: Armour quality can vary a lot, due to the way it is constructed and where it comes from.
Basic differences in armour are: For beginners a good-fitting cheap, machine-stitiched ‘Bougu’ from a reputable supplier or bought carefully second-hand is fine, and will last you for a good few years.
Q: Is Kendo Dangerous?
A: Kendo injuries are rarely more serious than a bruise. Atlhough there are some strains usually associated with the feet and ankles - these can be prevented with a proper strectching programme. Generally Etiquette (Reigo-saho) in the Dojo prevents dangerous practices.
Q: Does a shinai blow hurt?
A: A correct shinai blow which lands on target (the armour), doesn’t hurt. You feel the hit, but no pain (except the bruised ego).
The shinai is designed to flex and absorb the blow. A cut which misses the armour usually causes no worse than a bruise, although it certainly can hurt at the time.
Q: How is Kendo Graded
A: Kendo is Graded on the Kyu-Dan system used in Japan.
The Kyu grades descend in order from 6th Kyu to 1st Kyu, after which you move to a Dan grade (equivalent to a Black Belt in other arts) which then ascend from 1st Dan to 8th Dan.
No belt or other indication of grade is worn - Higher grades are evident by their ability.
There are time limits as to how long one has practiced at a certain grade before being permitted to take the next grading.
Q:How do Competitions work?
A: Tournaments called Shiai, consist of matches where two competitors fight on a 11m sq area. The first competitor to achieve two clean correct hits on his opponent wins the match. Matches only last for a few minutes but are intense and dynamic.