Queen Mary Kendo Club

Basics

kendo – 剣道 – literally “the way of the sword”
kendoka – person who practices kendo
dojo – room/hall where the practice takes place

shihan – master instructor
sensei – teacher
sempai – senior student
kohai – junior student

Note: Seniority is based on a mixture of factors, not just what one’s grade is or when one started, so it’s best to avoid using these terms; you should show respect to everybody in the dojo regardless, and that is best shown by doing your very best when training with each other.

keiko – training (see Exercises)

kata – set “forms”, or sequences of movements; see the All Japan Kendo Federation’s official instructional video

suburi – repetitive cutting exercises done without a partner (see Exercises)

rei – respect
reiho – the concept and rule of etiquette
reigi – the methods of showing respect
giri – duty/obligation
ritsurei – standing bow
zarei – bow from seiza position

shomen – front of the dojo
shimoza – lower position (the side which the door is on)
kamiza – higher position (the side opposite the door)
kamidana – Shinto shrine

shinai – bamboo sword
bokken/bokuto – curved, wooden sword
keikogi/kendogi – top half of the uniform
hakama – bottom half of the uniform
bougu – armour

ashi-sabaki – footwork

kamae – defined posture, ready for engaging with an opponent

kakegoe – loud sound used to show spirit, especially before attempting a cut

kiai – loud call of the intended target (men, kote, do or tsuki) made at the same time as the shinai landing on the target and the front foot landing on the floor (fumikomi)

ki-ken-tai no ichi – literally “unity of the spirit, sword and body”, meaning that for each cut, the landing of the sword must coincide with the kiai and fumikomi

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