What is Kendo?
Kendo practice consists of 2 elements, kata, and bogu (armour) practice.
Kendo Kata are set pieces that teach kendoka the basic elements of swordsmanship using a bokuto (bokken). They are performed as a pair, the uchidachi taking the role of teacher and the shidachi taking the roll of student.
The ten Nihon Kendo kata were brought together in the late 19th century by the various sword schools in Japan as a way of training in a non-lethal manner whilst allowing kenshi to improve their echniques.
In 2003 the All Japan Kendo Federation devised the nine Bokuto Ni Yoru Kendo Kihon-waza Keiko-ho to allow practice of techniques which translate into bogu practice.
Bogu practice is full contact training using a shinai.
Practice is broken up into various sections, each part aimed at improving aspects of technique, fighting spirit and physical conditioning. These include such things as kirikaeshi, uchikomi geiko, kakari geiko, tachiai and kihon waza practice.
Ji-geiko is free fighting practice where kendoka practice their abilities against other members.
During kendo practice the 4 valid strike points on your opponant are Men, Kote, Dou and Tsuki. In kata these are performed with no contact using a bokuto, in bogu practice these are performed with full contact using a shinai.
Each of these areas are protected by bogu (armour). The tare is worn to protect the legs from misplaced hits.