Can I watch a practice before joining?
- Yes. Visitors are welcome to observe at any practice. We accept new members at the beginning of every term (in January, May and September).
- Experienced Kendoka from other clubs are welcome to join our practice at any time. We encourage you to contact us by e-mail in advance of your visit.
What do I wear to my first practice?
- Loose fitting sweats or a track suit are fine. Judo or Karate uniforms also work well if you have them.
- For safety reasons, jewellery should not be worn.
Do I need equipment?
- Yes. You will need a bamboo sword (shinai) and a wooden replica sword (bokken). It is advised to purchase your own in advance.
- The club has some spare shinai that can be borrowed during your first few practices. However, these are limited and it is always best to have your own equipment.
When do I need to get my own uniform and armor?
- You can buy the kendo uniform (Keikogi and Hakama) after you’ve decided you’re going to stick with it.
- If you’ve been practicing with the club for a while, a senior member of the club or Sensei/Instructor will let you know when you are ready to start looking to purchase your first set of bogu (armour). Common vendors include e-Bogu and Kenshindo, among others.
Where can I buy equipment?
- All the equipment needed for kendo, including keikogi, hakama, shinai, bokken and bogu (armour) are available through various suppliers.
- The club’s instructors can recommend suppliers and things to look for/avoid when purchasing.
How much does equipment cost?
- A basic bamboo shinai generally costs $30-$40 (plus shipping) and should last a beginner 6-8 months. A basic wooden Bokken will cost $25-$40 (plus shipping) and will last for years.
- A gi/hakama set will cost around $100
- There are a few kendo equipment suppliers, for instance e-Bogu and Kenshindo, that have “beginner sets”, which are a good way to get all the needed items (gi & hakama, shinai, bokken and shinai bag) all at once. Asking a more senior member of the club for ideas on where to look is always encouraged.
Can I borrow equipment?
- A limited number of sets of armour (bogu) are owned by the club. They are available for members to use, assuming they fit (they are old and may not fit).
- We don’t have any extra bokken, but do have a few shinai for beginners to borrow.
What is a beginner class like?
- When first starting, you will learn warm up exercises, proper footwork, how to swing the shinai properly, and execute basic strikes. This is done under the close supervision of an instructor or senior member. You may practice striking senior members wearing armour (bogu), but you will not be struck yourself. For the most part, a shinai held at head or wrist level will be used as a target to practice the basic strikes.
- Kendo is done in bare feet, and you will likely get blisters at some point. There is little aerobic exercise value in Kendo at this stage. Before you can participate in full contact sparring, you need to have the basics down cold.
What is an advanced class like?
- After the first term (or thereabouts) you will put on armour and practice the strikes in full contact practice with an opponent. The first half of practice will typically be drills, often finished up with intense aerobic conditioning drills. The second half typically consists of free practice sparring with other members of the club.
What do my dues pay for?
- Dues pay for facilities rental, purchase and maintenance of club-owned equipment, annual membership fees to the Canadian and Ontario Kendo Federations and occasional special events such as seminars.
- The club’s instructors are all unpaid volunteers.