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Kendo

Twenty years after the ancient Japanese samurai class was disbanded at the dawn of Japan’s Meiji Restoration (1866-1867), there was a resurgence of interest in traditional Japanese sword arts that led to the creation of kendo.

In 1886, the Japanese police began gathering forms from kenjutsu schools that were famous before the disbandment to develop a standard way of training in kenjutsu with the sword. By 1912, the controlling body for all martial arts in Japan, Dai Nippon Butoku Kai, introduced a standard core curriculum for the new “way of the sword, ” which was kendo.

Despite it’s shaky history, kendo has evolved into a sport with strong martial arts values in which the practitioner develops physical and mental discipline with an almost Zen-like oneness with his sword, no matter whether it’s a bamboo shinai, wooden bokken or steel katana.

The Korean version of kendo is called kumdo. Its name is written with the same two Chinese characters as kendo, and its techniques and rules are identical.

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  1. Beginner’s Guide to Japanese Swords: What You Need to Know to Get Started

    Beginner’s Guide to Japanese Swords: What You Need to Know to Get Started

    If you’re a beginner, the Japanese sword arts — with their bokken, shinai, shinken, iaito and so on — can be intimidating. This article provides a brief overview of the categories of weapons and the ways they’re used in arts like kendo, kenjutsu, iaido and so on.
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  2. Katana Tricks and Stupid Japanese Sword Injuries

    Katana Tricks and Stupid Japanese Sword Injuries

    Do not allow anyone to swing a sharp sword at you.

    You’d think that would be common sense—like “Don’t walk in front of a speeding bus.” Apparently, though, while people walking directly and deliberately in front of oncoming traffic is blessedly rare, it’s fairly easy to see videos of people in
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  3. Ikken Hissatsu: the Kendo-Karate Connection

    Ikken Hissatsu: the Kendo-Karate Connection

    If you practice any form of Japanese karate, you need to understand that one of the most significant influences on your martial arts training has been kendo. Virtually all senior Japanese karate instructors in the West have been influenced by it since the 1960s. Sometimes the influences are conscious, other
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  4. Samurai Myths and Legends: Are Katanas Illegal?

    Samurai Myths and Legends: Are Katanas Illegal?

    In part three of our Samurai Facts vs. Samurai Myths and Legends series, Samurai Swordsmanship authors Masayuki Shimabukuro and Carl E. Long answer the age-old question: Who would win during a samurai staring contest?

    Samurai Myth No. 1: On the battlefield, two samurai would often face each other for hours before
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  5. Samurai Facts vs. Samurai Myths and Legends: Finding the Best Sword

    Samurai Facts vs. Samurai Myths and Legends: Finding the Best Sword

    Welcome to part two of our series: Samurai Facts vs. Samurai Myths and Legends. To help us separate fact from fiction, we asked Samurai Swordsmanship authors Masayuki Shimabukuro and Carl E. Long to answer the most common questions we receive about Samurai history and Japanese swords.

    Samurai Myth No.1: The best
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  6. Kendo Training Still Draws Martial Artists Interested in Samurai Swords

    Kendo Training Still Draws Martial Artists Interested in Samurai Swords

    Tak-tak! Tak-tak! Bamboo training swords smash against one another, and interspersed among them are sharp kiai shouts. With row after row of seemingly alien figures clad in black armor, their faces hidden behind metal masks, it’s a scene that wouldn’t be out of place in a Star Wars movie. Welcome
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  7. How the Bushido Code of the Samurai Influences Japan’s Police Force

    How the Bushido Code of the Samurai Influences Japan’s Police Force

    Judo and kendo are part of law-enforcement training in Japan, and many police officers continue to study the martial arts throughout their careers. In most cases, the toughest dojo in a city in Japan is a police dojo. Civilians who have gone there for martial arts training or who are
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