What is the benefit of Kendo?
There are many benefits and rewards. Kendo is one of the best ways to develop mental strength, discipline, and focus; and to ignite continuous self improvement. It is also one of the rare martial arts in which age and gender are of little consequence.
The All Japan Kendo Federation established the purpose of practicing Kendo as follows.
To mold the mind and body,
To cultivate a vigorous spirit,
To strive for improvement in the art of Kendo,
To hold in esteem human courtesy and honor,
To associate with others with sincerity,
And to forever pursue the cultivation of oneself.
How long does it take until becoming ready to spar against actual opponents?
Beginner classes run for 8 to 10 classes. After learning the basic Kendo movements, you can join the Beginner Level II class where you will be training for more advanced striking techniques. Then, whenever you feel comfortable, you may decide to purchase the protective gear so you can join the sparring sessions. The actual length depends on each individual. Generally, it takes 3 months or more until you become ready to engage in the actual sparring.
Is there rank in Kendo?
Yes, there is. Kendo, like other martial arts has a system of ranks. These are referred to as Kyu, Dan and Shogo.
Kyu are the ranks that are attained leading up to Dan. Lowest rank will be 6 kyu (6th degree) and the highest is 1 kyu (1st degree).
Dan are the rank that are attained and referred to in the Western world as black belt. Lowest rank of Dan is Sho dan (1st degree) and the highest is 8 Dan (8th degree).
Shogo are titles that are attained now beginning at the rank 6 dan.
In Northern California, promotion exams are normally held twice a year for both Kyu and Dan (up to 4 dan).
I heard that Kendo equipment is expensive. Is it true?
There are many different kinds of equipment. Some of them have very unique decorations and use rare materials, so they can be quite costly.
Beginners are recommended with the minimum quality of equipment. When you sign up for the beginner class, the material fee of $35 covers one Shinai (bamboo sword) and its bag. That is all you need for the class.
Then, once you complete the beginner class, Kendo uniform, one Bokuto (wooden sword), and one extra Shinai will be required to join the next level. The cost will be around $150 for all of them.
Then, whenever you feel ready to purchase the protective gear, you may shop around and see how much you would like to spend. Brand new beginner sets cost somewhere from $300-$500.
Is Kendo safe?
There is no punching, kicking, or throwing involved. The sword is made out of 4 slats of bamboo, and its center is hollow; and you will be protected by the protective gear. Thus, Kendo is regarded as one of the safest martial arts.
The most common injury in Kendo is blisters on hands and feet.