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  • I have never done a martial art before, can I still do Kendo?
    Yes! Kendo requires no prior martial arts experience. Students may join having never done a martial art before.
  • I have done a martial art, will it help me with Kendo?
    It depends on the martial art and the practitioner. Some concepts or techniques may feel familiar, or you may need to adjust your “muscle-memory” from previous martial arts to properly practice Kendo.
  • Is there an age requirement? Am I too old to start Kendo?
    You’re never too old to start practicing Kendo. Kendo is an accessible martial art that many can practice throughout the entirety of their lives. Kendo can be a great experience, and we invite you to practice with us regardless of age. Please note: for our kid’s classes we do have a minimum age requirement of 7 years old.
  • Do I need to speak Japanese?
    While there is a lot of Japanese terminology and phrases used in Kendo, you do not need to speak Japanese in order to understand the practice. During your first few weeks you will become familiar with the Japanese terminology, and we will use both Japanese and English during classes so that everyone understands the technique and can acclimate themselves to the language. This page also has common terminology and definitions used in Kendo that can act as a great resource for you if you need a reference on pronunciation or a reminder of what means what. You can also ask what something means at any time.
  • What will I need to get started?
    For your first class we encourage you to come with comfortable clothes to work out in. We will go over the equipment with you during your first class, as well as where to buy, and those resources are also available on the “current members” section of the site. If you decide to sign up, you will want to purchase a shinai (bamboo sword used in practice) and bokken (used in kata) for yourself. There are several online retailers we recommend purchasing from, and you can find those retailers on the “current members” section of the site.
  • What will my first few classes be like? Will I be fighting anyone?
    Your first few classes will be getting you acclimated with Kendo techniques, etiquette, footwork, and posture. You will not have anyone attacking you, instead you and the sensei or senpai will work with you to help you get comfortable with common strikes and movement.
  • What is the etiquette of Kendo about? I see so much bowing!
    Etiquette in Kendo — called rei — is a fundamental pillar to the martial art and crucial to your growth and success. While you may be familiar with the concept of bowing to show respect, etiquette for yourself, your fellow kenshi, the instructors, and the dojo is heavily stressed. Thanking the people you practiced with after class, properly bowing during class, and showing discipline with your shinai and uniform reflects on you and the dojo. You will learn more about the importance of rei during your first classes, and will have plenty of opportunities to ask more specific questions about what certain practices mean or why we do certain things.
  • How long before I start wearing the armor (bogu)?
    You won’t start right away with armor (bogu) on, but with hard practice and regular attendance you can expect to don bogu gradually around six to eight months after starting. This will be at the discretion of the head sensei, as well as the training you put in.
  • How long before I become a black belt?
    Kendo does not have a “belt” system like you may recognize from other martial arts. The ranking is based on “kyu” and “dan”, with “kyu” ranks going from 6th to 1st, and then dan going from 1st to 8th. The first dan — called shodan — may be closest aligned with a “black belt” rank. Reaching shodan is a good goal, but do not let your pursuit for a “black belt in Kendo” be your motivation for practice! Promotion is at the discretion of the Sensei, and promotions are done at points during the year by the Ontario Kendo Federation (OKF). There is no timetable for when a student may be ready for promotion, it is instead dependent on how often they practice and the work they put in.
  • Does Kendo hurt? How likely am I to get injured?
    Typically no, practicing Kendo does not hurt. A practitioner may miss their target or strike too hard, but hard strikes — think hacking at the target rather than cutting — are incorrect, and we strive to improve our strikes so they’re more like cuts. You will learn more about these concepts in practice, and will also have a chance to adjust to the experience of getting hit when you begin wearing bogu. As for injuries, there is always the possibility of injury but Kendo injuries are actually less common and frequent than other martial arts. This is based on a study published in The Physician and Sportsmedicine Journal, which you can review. We also make sure to take the necessary steps to mitigate any potential for injuries.
  • What are the benefits of Kendo?
    Kendo is a martial art that will help you develop both physically and mentally. Classes will help you improve endurance and strength, as well as help you become a more disciplined person. TKC students strive not only to develop their physical skillset, but also become better, more mindful and caring members of society. These concepts are reflected in our effort to understand and abide to the practices of rei and Bushido — the way of the warrior.
  • Kendo Equipment, Attire, and Armor
  • Basic Commands
  • Kendo Glossary of Terms and Techniques in Practice
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