is a traditional Japanese style of fencing with a two-handed wooden
sword, derived from the fighting methods of the ancient samurai.
The unification of Japan about 1600 removed most opportunities
for actual sword combat, so the samurai turned swordsmanship into
a means of cultivating discipline, patience, and skill for building
In the 18th
century, practice armour and the shinai, a sword made of bamboo
(shinai), were introduced to allow realistic fencing without risk
of injury. The study of what came to be known as kendo was even
compulsory in Japanese schools from time to time.
Kendo Federation was formed following the end of the occupation
in 1952, and an International Kendo Federation was founded in
1970. Kendo matches take place in an area 9 to 11 m (about 30
to 36 feet) square. Contestants wear the traditional jacket, long
divided skirt, chest protector, waist protector, mask, padded
use the "cutting" edge of the shinai, though this is not sharp.
The shinai is usually held with both hands. Points are awarded
for blows delivered upon the left side, right side, or top of
the head; the right or left wrist; the right or left side of the
trunk; and for a thrust to the throat. These are the only scoring
areas. The name of the point struck must be called out simultaneously
by the attacker with his blow and is verified by judges. A contest
is won by the first combatant who scores two points. Kendo is
widely practiced among students (required in high schools), police,
and military groups in Japan and to a lesser extent in the United
States, Canada, Great Britain, and Brazil.