The importance of etiquette in Kendo: A complete guide to preserving tradition and formality

In Kendo, not only technique but also etiquette are very important elements.

Kendo etiquette covers a wide range of areas, from behavior in the dojo to behavior during competition.


This article provides a detailed explanation of the basics of etiquette in Kendo, as well as specific codes of conduct, and serves as a guide for those studying Kendo to understand and practice proper etiquette.

We will also touch on the differences in etiquette within and outside Japan, and delve into the attitudes required in international competitions and exchanges.

Learning etiquette contributes not only to improving your Kendo skills, but also to your growth as a person, so an understanding of this theme is essential for learning Kendo deeply.


Basics of etiquette in Kendo

In Kendo, etiquette is at the core of its practice, so much so that it is said that it begins and ends with courtesy.

Kendo etiquette is not just a formality, but an important element for honing the spirit and character of a swordsman.

In this section, we will take a closer look at the basic meaning and role of etiquette in Kendo, as well as specific forms of etiquette.


The basic meaning of etiquette and its role in Kendo

Kendo etiquette is an expression of respect and gratitude towards the opponent.

This includes respecting not only your opponent, but also the dojo, Shinai, equipment, and everything else involved in practicing Kendo.

Etiquette in Kendo is essential not only for improving technique, but also for promoting spiritual growth and self-control.

By observing proper etiquette, swordsmen learn to respect themselves and others, and are able to pursue the path of Kendo spiritually.


Kendo bows at the beginning, training bows, match bows

  1. Ceremony at the beginning of Kendo :

    • This is a bow that is performed before a practice or match begins. This bow includes the bow upon entering the dojo and the bow just before starting practice. This is a time for the swordsman to calm down and concentrate for the training.
  2. Training courtesy :

    • During the practice, bows are exchanged many times with the person you are practicing with. This is done not only at the beginning and end of practice, but also when changing partners. The courtesy of practice is important to show respect and gratitude to the other person, as well as to maintain mutual safety and the quality of the practice.
  3. Thank you for the match :

    • Even during matches, bows are held before and after the start of the match. The courtesy of a match shows respect for the opponent and represents the spirit of fair competition. Match etiquette includes bowing to the referee, and is required to ensure that the match progresses fairly.


These etiquettes in Kendo are very important not only as part of technical training, but also as part of moral and ethical training.

Through Kendo practice and competitions, swordsmen learn etiquette and aim for maturity and self-growth as people.



Etiquette at the dojo

In a Kendo dojo, etiquette plays an important role from the beginning to the end of training and throughout the entire time you spend at the dojo.

Correct behavior in the dojo is an essential element in the development of a swordsman’s character.

Below, we will explain in detail the etiquette procedures from entering the dojo to leaving the dojo, as well as guidelines for behavior in the dojo.


Procedures for etiquette from entering the dojo to leaving the dojo

  1. Ceremony for entering the dojo :

    • When entering a dojo, bow at the entrance to show respect for the dojo and its people. This means respecting the dojo and being grateful for being there.
  2. Ceremony at the start of practice :

    • Before starting practice, students bow to their masters, teachers, and fellow students who use the same dojo. This bow is an expression of mutual respect between all those practicing together and the intention of ensuring that the practice proceeds safely.
  3. Gratitude at the end of practice :

    • After the practice is over, bow once again to the instructor, teacher, and fellow students who participated in the practice. This bow is to express our gratitude for all the hard work we put into the training, and to show our respect for the training being completed safely once again.
  4. Thank you for leaving the dojo :

    • When leaving the dojo, bow once in the same way as when entering. This courtesy shows our gratitude for keeping the dojo clean and allowing us to use it.


Behavior in the dojo and how to behave

  • Keep clean :

    • Always keep the dojo clean. Return the tools you used to their original locations, and keep the space you used clean and tidy.
  • Observe silence :

    • We maintain a quiet environment within the dojo without unnecessary conversation. This is important to improve concentration and to be considerate of other people’s practice.
  • Attire and attitude :

    • Wear proper attire and behave courteously. I follow the instructions of my master and seniors immediately and accept their teachings seriously.



Etiquette at the dojo is important training not only for improving your technique when learning Kendo, but also for acquiring basic manners and self-control as a member of society.

By observing these etiquettes and rules, you will be able to grow into a person who is respected not only in Kendo but also in everyday life.



Interpersonal training and match etiquette

Etiquette plays a very important role in interpersonal training and competitions in Kendo.

Courtesy in these situations is fundamental to respecting the opponent and maintaining the fairness of the game.

Here, we will explain in detail the greetings before and after practice, respect for opponents, etiquette rules during matches, and the importance of observing them.


Greetings and respecting others before and after practice

  • Greetings before practice :

    • Before starting practice, face your opponent directly and exchange bows. This is an act that shows respect for the other person and at the same time elevates oneself to a state of mind for training. Greetings are a sign of a willingness to learn skills from each other while paying attention to each other’s safety.
  • Greetings after practice :

    • After the practice is over, bow to the other person in the same way. This greeting is used to express gratitude for practicing together and sharing the learning opportunity, and to increase motivation for the next practice together.


Rules of etiquette during matches and the importance of observing them

  • Gratitude at the start and end of the match :

    • Before a match begins and after it ends, players should formally bow to their opponents and referees. Courtesy in a match shows respect for the opponent and acceptance of obedience to the referee. This embodies the spirit of Kendo: “Starting with courtesy and ending with courtesy.”
  • Rules of etiquette during the match :

    • Even during matches, players are required to avoid illegal behavior and abide by the rules. For example, if you need to adjust your equipment during a match, you should politely inform your opponent and referee of your intention to pause. It is also important as a courtesy to refrain from expressing excessive joy or disappointment after a point has been decided.



Kendo etiquette is more than just a formality; it symbolizes respect and gratitude towards others, as well as self-growth through Kendo.

By observing these etiquettes, you will be able to hone your dignity as a swordsman and walk the path of Kendo in its truest sense.



Etiquette in handling clothing and equipment

In Kendo, costumes and equipment are not just tools, but are an important part of learning the art.

Proper handling of Kendo costumes and equipment is extremely important as etiquette when practicing Kendo.

We will explain how to properly wear costumes, how to care for equipment, and the etiquette when handling equipment.


How to properly wear clothing and care for equipment

  • How to wear the costume :
    • Kendo costumes are worn in a certain order. First, the hakama (hakama) is worn, followed by the jacket (keikogi). Costumes must always be kept clean, and it is considered polite to fold them tightly before wearing them.
  • Care of equipment :
    • Similarly, Kendo’s bamboo swords and armor should be properly maintained after use and stored with care until the next time they are used. Store shinai upright to avoid moisture, and dry protective gear in a well-ventilated area. Clean your armor regularly and repair or replace damaged parts.


Etiquette when handling equipment

  • Handling equipment :
    • When handling Kendo equipment, you must always handle it with care and never leave it unattended. Keep your equipment tidy and respectful of others’ equipment, especially in public places and in the dojo.
  • Handling of equipment in the dojo :
    • Inside the dojo, please leave your equipment in the designated area and avoid touching other people’s equipment. When sharing equipment, it is best to thank the other person before and after using it.



How to handle Kendo costumes and equipment means more than just taking care of things.

Through these acts, swordsmen can learn the spirit of Kendo and develop a sense of respect and gratitude.

Handling the costume and equipment with appropriate courtesy shows that you are serious about the art of kendo.



An international perspective on Kendo etiquette

Kendo is a martial art that originated in Japan, but today it is widely practiced around the world, with slightly different etiquette in each country.

On the international stage, these differences play an important role not only in Kendo competitions, but also as part of cultural exchange.

Below, we will explore the differences in kendo etiquette within and outside Japan, as well as examples of etiquette in international competitions.


Differences in kendo etiquette within and outside Japan

Even though the basic principles of Kendo etiquette are the same, interpretations and practices can vary depending on the region.

In Japan, the etiquette of Kendo is very strictly observed, and etiquette is expected in every detail, from entering and leaving the dojo, putting on and taking off costumes, and beginning and ending training.

On the other hand, in other countries, etiquette practices may differ depending on the cultural background and the prevalence of Kendo.

Particularly in countries where kendo has a short history, their awareness of the details of etiquette may not be as strict as in Japan, but it is gradually becoming unified through international exchange.


Examples of courtesy in international matches

International kendo matches bring together swordsmen from diverse cultural backgrounds, and certain standards of etiquette are followed during the matches.

For example, at the World Kendo Championships sponsored by the Zenkenren (All Japan Kendo Federation), bows before and after the start of the match, bows to the referee, bows showing respect to the opponent, etc. are strictly enforced.

Courtesy is required in every action during the match, and violations may result in penalties.

These etiquettes form the basis for mutual respect among swordsmen and for fair competition.


Practicing international etiquette in Kendo is more than simply following the rules; it is an important element in deepening mutual understanding and respect and building bridges between cultures.

This has increased the value of Kendo, not just as a sport, but also as a place for cultural exchange.



Summary: The importance of etiquette in Kendo and its international outlook

Kendo requires rigorous practice of etiquette as well as technical training.

Etiquette is a fundamental part of Kendo training and is essential for developing the dignity of a swordsman.

Throughout this article, we have explained in detail the various aspects of etiquette in Kendo and its international significance.


  1. Basic etiquette and practice in the dojo :

    • Kendo etiquette must be respected from the beginning to the end of training and in daily life. Etiquette in the dojo is important to encourage swordsmen to grow not only technically, but also spiritually.
  2. Etiquette during interpersonal training and matches :

    • Etiquette during practice and competition is a way to show respect for your opponent and at the same time practice the spirit of Kendo. This fosters a culture of respect and appreciation.
  3. Proper handling of clothing and equipment :

    • Proper attire and proper care of equipment are taught as part of Kendo training and are considered a sign of good manners.
  4. Kendo etiquette from an international perspective :

    • Kendo is practiced all over the world, and although there are slight differences between countries, the basic principles of etiquette are shared. In international competition, these etiquettes are the basis for promoting mutual understanding and respect between swordsmen.


Etiquette in Kendo is as important as mastering the technique, and is an essential element in developing one’s character as a swordsman.

By learning and observing these etiquettes, a swordsman will not only gain respect both inside and outside the dojo, but will also be able to demonstrate his worth on the international stage.



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