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Kendō (剣道) is the martial art of Japanese swordsmanship, developed in the 16th century to unify a large number of different techniques. Since 1975 the concept of Kendo has been stated as "to discipline the human character through the application of the principles of the Katana". Kendo is therefore self-discipline while Kenjutsu is the actual techniques of fighting.

Taught using "swords" made of split bamboo (shinai) and extensive protective armour (Bogu), practitioners are called kendoka. In Kenjutsu bokken (wooden swords) or katana (steel swords) are also used. In modern kendo, there are only two types of attacks - strikes and thrusts. Strikes are allowed against only certain areas on the body - the top of the head, the right and left sides of the body, and the forearms. Thrusts are only allowed to the throat.

In matches points are only awarded when the attacks are done firmly and properly to the allowed targets with good control and a yell, in Japanese as to the appropriate part of the opponent which is being targeted. For example if the opponents head is the target, an accompanying cry of "Men" should be bellowed. For an attack to the wrist, "Kote" should be shouted. For an attack to the trunk "Do", and for a thrust at the opponent's throat "Tsuki" should be shouted. The first to two points wins the match.

The International Kendo Federation (IKF) has members in 41 countries. The international championships are held every three years since 1970, when the IKF was founded.

See also

iaido budo gendai budo koryu martial art