Kendo Sure Looks Painful

Kendo Sure Looks Painful

Once upon a time, I thought about doing kendo. After watching this video, I have come to one conclusion: What the hell was I thinking?

Co-directed by Vimeo user Simon Conlin, this video was created for the Canadian Kendo Federation to support the Canadian team when it competes in Tokyo next year.

While kendo attacks are quick, the video is super slow to allow you plenty of time to go ouch.

Kendo Canada + Adobe [simonconlin@Vimeo]


  • I think what would hurt most if I did that would me my throat from all the squealing they were making.

    • Um…..Kendo is actual fighting techniques, just refined in to a professional sport.
      “Men” or the “bop” to the head as you refer to it is an instant kill and must have the power behind it to even count as a point.
      Groups like HEMA are fine and all, but very rarely have I seen people move beyond leaning and tip tapping their way to what they consider a fatal strike.

      Watch the All Japan Kendo Championships some time and get back to me about these strange views of yours

      • It’s stylised, like European fencing. Bops to the head are not realistic, because that’s a difficult kill strike and if you’re not wearing a helmet you’re going to be far more likely to get your head out of the way.

        • Helmet or not, if the head strike misses, you’re either going to end up with a sword in the side of your neck or severed tendons and muscles in your shoulder. Especially if you’re attacked by the kind of person that can effectively pull off a head strike.

          • The thing is that if you’re actually fighting instead of participating in a sport where those attacks are accepted and specifically protected against, then you won’t have your head in the way to begin with.
            If you are armoured though, during a real fight then the sword will glance off of the head onto the shoulder or neck armour, making it a fairly pointless attack since those areas are very well protected.
            Those head attacks would be mainly for unarmoured fighting, you’d be very lucky to land one, and unlikely to kill, more likely to stun. They’d usually go for the shoulder or neck anyway.

            Like I say, Kendo is a sport, like fencing. Those sports diverged from weapon training a very long time ago and have changed a lot, as you’d expect.

  • I would recommend the SCA, its is neither a recreation nor a stylised sport. Instead, it is its own full blown fighting sport, on par with boxing – but with less blood (more bruises instead) – there should be a group operating within a reasonable distance of you, you just have to track them down

  • Three moves in that sequence I’ve never seen before, especially in my Dojo. 1. The knocking away of the Shinai, you’d have to let that happen; your grip being weak and not to mention a complete mess. 2. The jabbing in the neck, ‘Tsuki,’ is considered rude to commit against a Sempai, and especially a Sensei. 3. The almost tackle charge into the opponent, you’re supposed to strike, moving through the enemy.

    • Interesting.
      Not sure what you mean by 1. Osae Waza is a pretty early technique to be learning.
      2. I have heard of that before but we teach that attempting Tsuki on ranking members is rude only if you have not been properly taught it’s use and application. (Really hard for me coming from a Fencing background especially when it was the one thing I could do really well)
      3. Oh we charge, just not in to the opponent. It’s all about forcing them on the back foot before flowing in to Itsuita Tokoro. Unquestionable points

    • As a spectator it looks pretty fun, what’s the ratio of fun vs agonizing pain? Unlike the author, I’m more interested in learning it after seeing the video

      • having fun being hit? are you a masochist?
        jokes aside, there will be a lot pain before you even get hit (there will be hours of cutting practice). As for fun, not sure what your idea of fun is but if you like feeling the adrenaline and pushing your limits, you can try it out.

        Fun fact: each uni semester 80% of our beginners give up by end of midsem. Those who stayed have been attending almost every training so obviously they have been enjoying themselves

  • Wow, that screaming is pretty fucking terrifying.

    Right at the start, one of the guys raises his sword, and lets the other guy whack his stomach and spin past him. What is the point of that?

    • he was not just rising his shinai (sword), he was going to cut the opponent’s men (head) but got cut on the do (side).

        • It can be series hits depending on the situation (i.e. if the opponent backs away at your first cut you can chase them and continue to cut) before you stop and reset.

          This video is a demonstration of various waza (techniques) rather than actual practice/competition.

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