Bamboo Blade | Kendo Terminology

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Kendo is Japanese fencing which translates to “way of the sword”. Those who practice kendo are called kendoka or kensihi.

Bougu
Traditional protective armour. Which consists of the following:
1. men – The facemask and shoulder protector (flaps). The helmet protects the face, neck, and shoulders.
2. dou – Torso protector for the stomach and chest.
3. kote – Mitten shaped hand and forearm protectors or gauntlets.
4. tare – Thick, sturdy leg and groin protector comprised of a belt and long flaps. The center flap is typically covered with a zekken or nafuda, which shows the person’s name or representing country.

Uniform worn under the bougu is comprised of the Keigoki and Hakama:
1. Keigoki – Traditional outterwear worn around the upper body.
2. Hakama – traditional wide-leg pants originally worn by samurai.

Shinai
Bamboo stick commonly used by kendoka’s.

Kiai
A shout made when performing a strike or cut.

Basic team ranks:
1. Senbou – Vanguard
2. Jibou – Second vanguard
3. Chuuken – Center
4. Fukushou – Second-in-Command
5. Taishou – Captain

Points
Each team member pairs off with the same rank opponent from the opposing team and spar for points which are attained through valid strike/thrust. Each pair spar for 5 minutes with 3 minute overtime for tie breakers. The match is declared a draw if there’s no clear winner in the overtime.

Basic strike or thrust allowed in kendo competitions:
1. men – strike to the top of the head
2. kote – strike to the wrists
3. dou – strike to the left or right side of the torso
4. tsuki – thrust to the neck

Basic Kendo rules:
1. Only hits made with the top the shinai (above leather binding) count.
2. Proper form must be maintained at all times.
3. Shinai must be held properly (center line must face up) for hits to count.
4. Demonstrate good flow when sparring.

Basic Kendo faults:
1. Delays and avoiding attacks will gain a fault.
2. Stepping on the white line (court boundry) will gain a fault.
3. Two faults automatically give the opponent 1 strike point.

Basic Kendo Footwork:
1. Okuriashi – sliding step with leading right foot
2. Hirakiashi – sideways step
3. Tsugiashi – short step
4. Aymiashi – walking step

Basic Kendo stances
1. Joudan – shortened form of (joudan no kamae). It’s an intimidating stance where the sword is raised above the head in front of the body which provides speed and reach in strikes.
2. Chuudan – shortened form of chuudan no kamae. It’s the most basic stance where the sword is held in front of the body.
3. Gedan – shortened form of gedan no kamae. In this stance the sword is held straight out and points to the opponent’s waist.
4. Hassou – shortened form of hassou no kamae. The sword is held in a diagonal across the body to the right shoulder.
5. Waki – shortened form of waki no kamae. The sword’s blade is hidden behind the leg with only the hilt visible.

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