Introduction to the Equipment
Kendo equipment consists broadly of three parts and is often refered to as Dogu
The word "Dogu" means equipment (gu) for use in the way (do). Kendo-gu is also an acceptable term -the clothes, the armour and the weapons. All are traditional in form. Some modern materials are now available, although natural products are generally preferred.
The clothing is based loosely on traditional Japanese wear, the top being a kimono style jacket (gi) and the trousers a (hakama).
Today's kendo armour is the result of improvements in the protection refined through more than two hundred years of development.
The weapons are basically unchanged, the bokuto being most commonly made of oak and the shinai of bamboo.
Below each item will be discussed in a little more detail.
For the supply of equipment, armour & repair, Kodokan recommend Tashiro sensei's Tenpudo Budogu equipment specialist website: www.tenpudo.co.uk
We also recommend Nine Circles Suppliers of Quality Japanese Budo Equipment
Hakama: - Traditional Japanese loose pleated trousers worn in Kendo. Made of cotton (also available in man made fibres) The type of hakama presently used for kendo is the same as that was used historically in Japan for horse riding.
Kendo-gi: - Practice jacket, also known as a kendo gi today. Made of quilted cotton. Also called do-gi or kendo-gi
Men:- Protective head guard/mask. Made of quilted cotton with steel or titanium face bars (tate-gane) and secured by cords (himo) That are passed around the head and tied at the back.
Do:- Torso protector. Traditionally made of bamboo slats although often produced in composite materials, lacquered with a quilted and embroidered upper section (do-mune) and again tied with cords (do himo)
Kote:- Protective gloves with padded deer skin or clarino uppers (kote-gashira) and quilted cotton wrist covers (kote-Buton) laced with cords (kote-himo)
Tare:- Protective apron. Made of quilted cotton with a belt like top section (mae-obi) and three lower flaps (dare) and tied Behind with cotton tapes (tare-himo)
Bokuto or Bokken:- Wooden sword made from oak or other hard wood and in the shape of a Japanese sword. Comes with hand guard, tsuba (below left).For info click on this Wikpedia link about Bokken
Shinai:- flexible foil or practice sword and made traditionally of bamboo (although synthetic materials are approved by the AJKF - carbon graphite). Consisting of four pieces held together with a handle cover (tsuka), tip cover (saki-gawa), string (tsuru) and secured with a strap (naka-yui), comes with hand guard - tsuba (below right) For info click on this Wikpedia link about shinai
Hand guard - tsuba for Boken and Shinai, more often of a simpler design