Pre- Beginner's FAQ

Purpose : This FAQ is designed to help those interested in joining Edinburgh Kendo Club (EKC). We are a friendly, supportive but serious dojo that practices the art of Kendo.

1. What and Why

  •  What is Kendo ?

Kendo is a Japanese word meaning "the way of the sword" and is the traditional martial art of Japanese fencing. Kendo practitioners are known as kendoka or kenshi. The concept of kendo is to discipline the human character through the  applications of the principles of the katana.

  • Why should I consider Kendo ?

Kendo can provide not only great exercise for your physical health, but also a rich philosophy that is helpful in daily life promoting resilience, strong self development and respect for others.
The International Kendo Federation describes the purpose of Kendo as:

  • To mold the mind and body.
  •  To cultivate a vigorous spirit.

And through correct and rigid training:

  •  To strive for improvement in the art of Kendo.
  •  To hold in esteem human courtesy and honour.
  •  To associate with others with sincerity.
  • And to forever pursue the cultivation of oneself.

This will make one be able:

  • To love his/her country and society.
  • To contribute to the development of culture.
  •  And to promote peace and prosperity among all peoples.

2. Where and when

  • Where do you train ?

We train at Ravelston Sports Club, Mary Erskine School, Craigleith Rise Edinburgh, EH43NT on Tuesday and Friday nights. Full details and a map can be found in our venue page.

  • What time are the classes ?

For adults beginners classes run from 2000 on Tuesdays and 1930 on Fridays.

3. Beginning

  • Can I come and watch training before joining ?

Yes, this will provide a good idea of what you can expect from training – please contact the club via our Facebook page in advance.

  •  Are there any age restrictions ?

None – Kendo is recognised as a lifelong pursuit.
Children under 16 should join the Kids club. Further details can be found here.

  • Can I join at any time ?

Yes – Beginners are accepted ad-hoc and are expected to attend at least 5 consecutive calendar week sessions. Before joining you must contact us in advance either via our Facebook page or email if you wish to attend a session. If you would like to progress with the beginners course you should complete our online membership form.

4. Health and Fitness

  • Do I need to be super fit to take part ?

It helps to be relatively fit and healthy but anybody of any fitness state or size can start to practise Kendo. Beginners are gradually introduced to the pace of training with fun, involving sessions.

5. Kit

  • What kit do I need as a beginner ?

For the Beginners’s Course, just wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing. A shinai (bamboo sword) will be provided for you to use during the course when you pay the initial costs.

  • What kit will I need after the 5 weeks beginners course ?

Eventually, if you decide to continue kendo training, you may need:

  • A spare shinai (bamboo sword).
  • A shinai bag, for carrying and storing your shinai.
  • A bokuto (wooden sword used in kendo kata).
  • A tenugui (a cotton head towel).
  • A kendo uniform (keikogi and hakama).
  • A set of kendo armour (bogu). Armour may be rented from the club for a
    modest fee per session.
  • A bogu bag for carrying your armour.

Beginners should expect to wait a few months before Bogu (kendo armour) may be worn, and we will offer you a try-out session before moving towards and purchasing your own armour.

6. Costs

  •  What does it cost?

For beginners, there are three charges totalling £65*:

  • £20 for the 5-week course including all tuition.
  • £35 to cover necessary equipment, namely a shinai (bamboo sword) and carry bag.
  • £10 for the temporary Brisith Kendo Association (BKA) membership.

After the 5 weeks membership is over, you will need to pay a monthly fee of £30 (students £20) and be a member of the BKA (£35/year).
We accept cash or cheques but prefer paypal transfer (to or bank transfer (please get in touch with the treasurer for bank account details); beginner course fees are payable on the first night prior to practice.

7. Expectations

  •  What should I expect from the beginners sessions ?

By the end of the 5 weeks a reasonably diligent student will be competent in:

  • Etiquette (Reiho),
  • Cutting action (Suburi);
  • Footwork (Ashisabaki);
  • Correct grip (Tenouchi),
  • Correct cutting (Datotsu),
  • Basic cutting and blocking practice (Kirikaeshi)

You should expect a typical lesson to be up to 90 minutes. Most lessons will include some element of watching practise (Mitori-geiko), tipically at the end (last 15 minutes).

  • What advice would you provide to someone considering Kendo ?

Kendo is a great opportunity to learn about and challenge yourself. The beginners course will teach you the basics so its important that you enter into this with an open and enquiring mind. Be prepared to work hard, make friends and most importantly of all have fun.