Kendo History

Ideally, it’s safe to say that Kendo is a timeless sport. It has excited millions of people over the years and also faced numerous challenges along the way. The result is a bigger and better game that is capable of entertaining many more generations to come.

During the late 16th century, in the island of Japan, warriors had no safe way of nurturing their combat skills. It was a matter of taking a carefully crafted sword and matching into a battle. This trend was a dangerous one considering that learning the craft was a life or death situation. Those that lived to see another battle had passed, while the others had failed and paid with their lives.

As time went by, they used wooden swords to train recruits in a bid to build a better army. And that right there was the first instance of Kendo – only that it was known as Kenjutsu. It significantly reduced the risk levels, and consequently, more people signed-up.

The great battle of Sekigahara marked the end of widespread violence and the growth of fencing as an art. They created a lighter and better dummy sword called the shinai – made of several pieces of bamboo wrapped in a silk or leather bag. This training tool proved to be so effective that a similar version is still used to date.

As this point, sword fighting had become more of an art than a battlefield skill. So they made special safety gear (bogu) for the sport to attract even more people (including children). The gear slightly resembled those of the ancient Samurai except that they’re much lighter. And nothing much has changed since then.

Today, there is a Kendo world championship title up for grabs once every three years. And more than 50 countries send their best Kendo players.