What Equipment Do I Need?

Many looking to join our training program aren’t sure how much they will need to spend to get all the equipment they need to train with us.

No student wants to show up the first day and be the odd one out and not able to participate because they weren’t fully-informed on the equipment required to participate in the training.

This blog post will provide you with a run about of what you’ll need should you join any Dojo to practice Iaido.

Iaido Supplies

If you are looking to perform the art of Iaido which is the art form that uses a katana to counter your opponent and is focused on teaching how to remove the sword from its Saya , strike the opponent and then return the katana to it’s Saya all in a smooth, calculated motion, then this is what you’ll need.

  • Most important – a katana. The price range really is up to you. I’ve had some students come in with katanas well over $1,000 and others on the lesser expensive end for around $150. Custom katana‘s are becoming a bigger trend in classrooms everywhere due to their affordability and customization making them stand out from others in the class. If you intend to do more than Iaido with the sword and will be cutting bamboo down the road then you will want to get a better quality katana. For reviews on katanas you can check either of these sites:
    • Sword Buyers Guide
    • Katana Sword Reviews
  • The ‘gi’ – also called a a keiko-gi, uwagi, or kendo-gi. This is a heavy 3/4 length cotton shirt that is worn. You can find these for a variety of prices on Amazon.
  • The ‘hakama’ is the bottom attire completing the apparel requirements. This is a skirt like piece of clothing that allows the student to move with grace and remain free and cool while practicing. The most common color of these is a dark blue.
  • The final element you need for basic practice is the ‘Obi’ or the belt. This varies from normal karate belts because it is thicker so that it can support the weight of the katana.





What Drives Your Dojo?

We realize that some of our followers may not be able to attend our Dojo for training due to time, geographic, or other restrictions.

If you are passionate about learning the Japanese art of either Iaito, Kendo, or any other martial art form you should pursue your dream, even if it is through unconventional methods (hint hint Aikijutsu Academy, we’ll save this discussion for a later post though).

Other’s may not be driven to martial arts because of a childhood dream, but instead may be due to a life event.

Sarah’s Story

A friend of mine always knew of my dojo and my teachings here yet was never interested in attending. I’d try and tell here about not only the physical and mental rewards of studying the art but also the spiritual. She wasn’t enticed…

One night on her walk home from her late shift down at the pub she found herself heading down an alley that usually is lit but on this night the bulb must have been out whether it be due to tampering, electrical issues, or just simply broke.

Either way it was dark and a situation most would avoid.

She being a brave women though decided to just jot through since she was just a short distance from home.

Then what we all fear happened, she was mugged by a bloke with a blade.

Luckily she was not harmed but she did have to forfeit her satchel containing all her identification, cash, and credit cards.

Within a few days she joined our dojo. Never again did she want to feel helpless and at the mercy of some thugs.

This is an unfortunate event that luckily ended without any harm coming to her. This was her reason to get involved in the martial art forms out there that can help anyone develop skillsets to counter harmful situations they may be placed in.

Whatever drives you, realize that you not only are finding a way to pass the time, to get fit, or to relieve stress, you may be investing in something that can save your life down the road.



Patience & Perseverance

In-Class Experience

Patience is just as much a skillset as the rest of the kendo art form.

Today at the Dojo here in Yorkshire we had a large class for some of our beginner (Kyu) level kendokas.

As we do with all our classes we start off with a warm up and progress to more strenuous/quick thrusts.

I noticed one of our students who was a Ro-Kyu becoming more and more frustrated as he struggled with the technique and following through with clean, well placed hits.

After about 5 minutes or so he threw his bokken on the floor declaring he can’t do it. Getting to know this student in previous classes he confessed to me that becoming a Hachi-Dan was his ultimate goal in his studies.

This is a level that even I myself haven’t even achieved therefore I know the vast amount of time, patience, and perseverance that must be involved in achieving that level of expertise in the kendo art form.

He also expressed his interest in learning the art of Iaito and properly yielding one of the samurai katanas passed down from his great grandfather.

These are big ambitions, no question about it.

Remembering this I confronted the student asking him why he was frustrated. His response was that he’ll never be the warrior he envisions.

Seeing his eagerness to up and walk out of the dojo I shared a story with him of my struggles when I first started. I was a bloody buffoon on the floor; dropping my bokken, tripping over my own feet, stubbing my fingers.

I at times had thoughts of quitting. I however realized that not even the greatest of ancient samurais in their starts held the level of expertise that they later held in their prime. I pushed forward, stuck to my studies and worked with my sensei to correct my form.

Asking for help and taking feedback from others is key in correcting your form. Once you are open to accepting help from others and turning frustration to concentration you can work towards improving your technique.

After sharing my story and reminding him of his goals in the art, he calmed down and changed his mindset. He promised me that from here on out he will be more patient and take the time to properly learn this art form.

Moral of the story: Be patient, remember your goals, and be open to feedback from your sensei.


Types of Martial Arts – Armed

It takes skill to immobilize your opponent with your bare hands, but there are also very impressive armed maneuvers to counter an attacker. A couple days ago we blogged about some of the more popular unarmed methods of Japanese martial arts. Today we’ll run through some of the more well known armed fighting styles.

ArmedKendo fighter

  • Kendo – a Japanese fencing style of fighting that uses strikes and thrusts with a wooden sword called a Bokken (more info)
  • Iaido – this art form uses a katana to counter your opponent and is focused on teaching how to remove the sword from its Saya , strike the opponent and then return the katana to it’s Saya all in a smooth, calculated motion. The technique is very disciplined.
  • Bajutsu – much like the jousting performed here in old England, this sport requires the participants to be on horseback while yielding a spear like weapon. It can also be performed using a bow called a Kisha.
  • Kyudo – uses a very recurve large bow called a Yumi. The sport is not for targeting an opponent but instead a target set up. Much like modern day archery competitions.
  • Shurikenjutsu – an art of throwing small dart like weapons called Shruken. This is also the art that uses the well known ‘throwing stars’.

We have only listed five of many Japanese armed art forms but there are many more and different variants to each. We hope this will provide you some context into the other opportunities out there to get involved in for mastering your samurai skillsets. Until next time our Kendokas…





Types of Martial Arts – Unarmed

Though this website is dedicated to kendo, kendo is not the only form of martial arts still practiced. One of the most commonly known for its entrance into the main stream viewing is the art of Jujutsu. Jujutsu is a form of close combat using swift, calculated maneuvers to disarm or decommission an opponent. Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has generated a lot of awareness around this Japanese fighting style over the recent years.

When looking at the various Japanese fighting styles there is ‘armed’ and ‘unarmed’. Before investing the time and money into learning a technique you should determine which you prefer to learn. Below is a brief bullet point list of a few of the most common.


  • Aikido – a non-lethal form that uses the attacker’s own motion and body weight to fend them off.
  • Judo – similar to modern day American wrestling, the objective is to subdue the opponent by a pin or ‘tap out’.
  • Karate – a well known stand up martial art taught around the world. It teaches defense using strikes with the palms, fists, elbows, knees, and legs.
  • Kenpo – solely a defense martial art. It too uses much of the attacker’s momentum to end the fight as efficiently as possible. This too is a stand up martial art.
  • Sumo – I’m sure you all know of this sport. Not really one you would think of as a ‘defensive’ art but more or less is for sport. The objective is to overpower the opponent and either push them out of a ring or get them to touch the ground with any body part aside from the soles of their feet.
  • Taido – an energetic fighting style that incorporates punches, kicks, and flips toward the opponent.


There are numerous other unarmed fighting styles however these are some of the most common. In our next blog we’ll cover some of the more well known armed fighting styles that incorporate weapons such as katanas, tantos, wakizashis, and others.





Welcome Kendokas

Kendo fighter with bamboo sword

For our first blog we’ll start with an overview of the art. For those of you who may be newcomers to the practice of Kendo we’ll enlighten you on the basics and some basic terminology. Some of you may already know what we will discuss here so bear with us and keep an eye out for our upcoming blogs on recommended samurai katanas, clothing apparel, styles, and more. Well let’s jump in…

What is Kendo?

Kendo means “the way of the sword”. It is a modern day form of what was previously called kenjutsu (real fight with real swords). It is a form of martial arts that involves the use of a bamboo training sword called a shinai. During training the non-lethal shinai is used, however the warriors of the past used much more lethal sword called a ‘katana‘.

What does it take?

Kendo can be a somewhat strenuous sport since it is very physical. With short but quick and consistent jolts forward and backward it requires a certain level of stigma. Aside from being physically challenging/rewarding it is also cognitively challenging. Much obedience is needed and there are a lot of commands and movements that must be memorized.

Where do I train?

Kendo training is performed in a ‘Dojo‘ (what some would consider a classroom). A dojo is a place of training for this martial arts style, usually a large room with the ability to teach large amounts of students at once and allow for room to fence with one another. These facilities are located all over the world and can be found by using the Dojos website in the sources section below.

Where does Kendo come from?

Kendo is a modern day version of the historical Kenjutsu. It originates from Japan where the first accounts of sword fighting used a Bokken (solid wooden sword). Throughout history there have been many variants on the art.


There is a very high-level and summarized version of what kendo is. As we continue to develop new blogs we’ll try to dig deeper into each element, however for our first blog we wanted to keep it very brief.