The path for Kendo to become an Olympic sport (Modern Kenjutsu)

Kendo is a Japanese martial art rooted in history and tradition, and is loved by many people for its technical beauty and spirituality.

However, there are many reasons why this classic martial art has not been included as an Olympic sport.


This article explores the barriers to Kendo becoming an Olympic sport and the possibilities of seeing it on the Olympic stage in the future.

By looking at the challenges facing Kendo as an Olympic sport, its current international recognition, and comparisons with other martial arts, we will explore how Kendo can overcome these barriers and become more widely accepted.




Why Kendo is not an Olympic sport

Kendo is a traditional Japanese martial art, and its spiritual aspects and difficulty in making it competitive are the main reasons why it has not been included in Olympic competitions.

Below, we explore how international participation standards and Kendo’s spirituality influence its competitive nature.


International participation standards and current issues

In order for it to be included as an Olympic sport, it needs to be popularized worldwide.

Kendo has a large number of enthusiasts, especially in Japan, but the number of participants in other countries has not yet reached the standards required for Olympic competition.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) demands that the rules be unified internationally as the number of competitive players expands, but for Kendo, there is a lack of unified rules and standardization of match management in each country. This is the current situation.


The spirit of Kendo and the dilemma of competition

The essence of Kendo is to “master the art of swordsmanship,” and it emphasizes not only technical improvement, but also spiritual growth.

This is fundamentally different from the competitive spirit of the Olympics, where winning is the top priority.

Kendo has a strong aspect of self-development, and a format that focuses on simple wins and losses may undermine the spirit of Kendo, so many organizations, including the All Japan Kendo Federation, are cautious about making it an Olympic sport.

For this reason, making Kendo an Olympic sport may sacrifice its spirituality, and many Kendo practitioners have expressed opposition.


These issues must be resolved in order for Kendo to be included as an Olympic sport.

The big challenge going forward will be finding a balance that respects the spirituality of Kendo while increasing its international recognition and maintaining its competitive aspect.



The charm of Kendo that you want to see at the Olympics

Kendo is known for its technical beauty and strategy, and having this on display on the Olympic stage is a very attractive prospect for audiences around the world.

Efforts are also being made to promote international recognition and dissemination of Kendo, and this section will focus on these elements.


Technical beauty and strategy

The strategic nature of Kendo lies in its depth, and requires predicting the opponent’s movements and performing techniques at the right time.

This requires a high degree of concentration and judgment, and each strike is based on tactical decisions.

The technical beauty of Kendo can be seen in these movements, and the fluidity of the movements and precise timing combine to provide a very beautiful visual experience for the viewer.


International recognition and efforts to spread Kendo

Kendo is supported by many enthusiasts outside of Japan, and activities to popularize it are particularly active in countries in Asia, America, and Europe.

The World Kendo Federation (FIK) regularly holds international Kendo tournaments and strives to spread the appeal of this martial art.

These competitions are a great opportunity to showcase not only the technique of Kendo, but also its spiritual aspects internationally.


If Kendo is adopted as an Olympic sport, the beauty and strategic nature of Kendo will be recognized by even more people, and it will become an effective means of spreading the true value of Kendo to the world.

The precision and strategy of techniques seen in international kendo competitions, as well as the spirituality that underpins them, provides content worthy of display on an international stage such as the Olympics.



Comparison with other martial arts: Judo and karate become Olympic

Kendo, judo, and karate are all martial arts that originated in Japan, but their paths to the Olympics are different.

Judo became an official sport at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, and karate was featured for the first time at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

These martial arts were recognized as Olympic sports because of their international spread and the establishment of unified rules.


History and influence of martial arts becoming an Olympic sport

The inclusion of judo and karate in the Olympic Games helped establish each martial art as an international sport.

Judo in particular has greatly contributed to the increase in the number of international competitors and the standardization of techniques.

On the other hand, Kendo has not become competitive due to its emphasis on spirituality.


The uniqueness of Kendo and its preservation

Kendo emphasizes its spiritual aspects and educational value.

If it becomes more formalized as a competition, there is a risk that this kind of spirituality will fade.

For this reason, the kendo world is cautious about making it an Olympic sport.

The challenge for the future is to protect Kendo’s unique values ​​and traditions while spreading it throughout the country HALF TIME Magazine ) .



Conditions for Kendo to become an Olympic sport

In order for Kendo to become an Olympic sport, several conditions must be met.


  1. Establishment of international rules and judging standards : For Kendo to become an Olympic sport, international federations must establish unified rules and judging standards. This includes the basic rules of the competition, the progression of the match, the criteria for awarding points, the role of referees, etc. This ensures that the competition is fair and consistent on the international stage.

  2. Maintaining and expressing its value as a martial art : Kendo is a traditional martial art, and while respecting its spirit and techniques, it is necessary to express the fun and competitiveness of a sport. Even if the sport is included in the Olympics, it is important to not lose its value as a martial art and to promote spiritual growth and technical improvement.

  3. International dissemination and improvement of the competition level : In order for Kendo to become an Olympic sport, it must be popularized all over the world and the competition level must be improved. To this end, it is important to promote international competitions and exchanges between athletes, as well as development programs and outreach activities for the younger generation. As the level of competition rises, so does the recognition and appeal of the sport as an Olympic sport.

  4. International Olympic Committee Accreditation : Ultimately, approval is required from the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The IOC has strict criteria for new sports to be added to the Olympic Games, requiring that the sports be popular, have global interest, and have appropriate rules and standards. Therefore, it is necessary for the Kendo community to meet these conditions in order to receive recognition from the IOC.


Meeting these conditions will increase the chances of Kendo being recognized as an Olympic sport.




In order for Kendo to become an Olympic sport, several conditions are important.

First of all, international rules and criteria need to be established. Sports federations set uniform rules to ensure fair and consistent competition.

Next, it is important to express the fun and competitive nature of a sport while maintaining its value as a martial art.

Even if a sport is included in the Olympics, it is necessary to respect the spirit and techniques of the martial arts.

Furthermore, it is important to spread Kendo internationally and improve the level of competition.


By promoting international competitions and exchanges and promoting development programs for the younger generation, the level of competition will improve, and the recognition and appeal of the sport as an Olympic sport will increase.

Ultimately, approval is required from the International Olympic Committee.

If the Kendo community meets these conditions, Kendo will have a better chance of being recognized as an Olympic sport.



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