A complete guide to Kendo match rules: match time, fouls, and the path to victory

Kendo is a traditional Japanese martial art that uses bamboo swords and armor.

Here, we will take a deep dive into the rules, match time, and fouls for Kendo matches.

By acquiring this knowledge, you will gain a deeper understanding of Kendo matches and improve your performance in actual matches.

. Throughout the article, we will introduce in detail everything from the basics to the application of Kendo matches, so we hope that it will be useful for everyone from beginners to advanced Kendo players.



What is Kendo?

Kendo is a Japanese martial art performed using bamboo swords and armor.

Kendo’s roots date back to ancient samurai training. Its history and traditions are deeply rooted in spirituality that goes beyond mere physical training.

In this section, we look back at the history of kendo, focus on its spirituality, and delve into the position of kendo as a competitive sport in modern times.


Origin of Kendo

Kendo originated as a training method for samurai to hone their combat skills in actual combat.

These trainings later began to include moral and spiritual elements and evolved into the current form of kendo.


spirituality and morality

Kendo is about more than just the acquisition of technique. Kendo as a way aims to improve one’s self and cultivate true human strength through the “way of the sword.”

This spiritual aspect is also connected to cultivating a sense of etiquette and respect for others through Kendo training.


Kendo as a competition

Modern Kendo is also practiced competitively all over the world.

Matches test not only your technique, but also your composure and judgment. Competitive kendo is an opportunity for athletes to improve their skills while raising their individual spirits.


In this way, Kendo is not just a place to hone one’s skills, but also has the aspect of a spiritual culture that encourages growth as a person.

This is why Kendo is not just a sport, but has deep value as a “do.”



Basics of Kendo match rules

In a Kendo match, the objective is to deliver an effective blow to the opponent.

We will explain in detail the flow of the game, the criteria for effective hitting, and the role of the referee.


Flow of the match

A Kendo match begins after both players enter the arena and exchange bows.

Matches generally last five minutes, and the first player to get two wins.

During a match, players aim at four effective striking areas: men, kote, torso, and tsuke.

If the match is not decided within the time limit, overtime or a decision may be taken.


Referee’s role and judgment criteria

The refereeing panel usually consists of one referee and two assistant referees, and they decide on valid strikes.

An effective strike is judged by the accuracy of the position and posture of the tip of the sword, as well as the strength of the blow, and is recognized when two or more referees raise their flags.

If there is inappropriate behavior during the match, the referee can also cancel the declaration of a valid strike Kendo Or Jp ) .


Fouls and their handling

Kendo requires fair and square fighting.

Common fouls seen during a match include not using a technique clearly in a close match, pushing the opponent out of the match area for longer than necessary, and using the defensive technique called Sansho-gakushi for an extended period of time.

These actions are considered wasted time and may be considered a violation.

In particular, if you do not settle the situation for more than 10 seconds, you may be charged a foul KENDO PARK, an online shopping mall specializing in sword tools ) .


Understanding and adhering to these standards and rules is important in a Kendo match.



About Kendo match time


Typical game time

The length of a Kendo match varies depending on the level of competition and the size of the tournament, but according to the All Japan Kendo Federation, official matches for adults are generally five minutes long.

This standard is also common at local and national competitions. Depending on age, elementary school students often have a two-minute game time, and junior high school students have a three-minute game time Chouseisan ) .


Overtime rules

If the game is not decided within five minutes, it will go to three minutes of overtime. In overtime, victory is decided by the first to score.

Particularly in official matches, there is extra time, which determines the winner.

However, depending on the tournament, overtime may not be provided, and instead the winner or loser may be determined by a judge or lottery.


These rules describe how Kendo maintains time management and competition fairness, and play an important role in the progression of the match and the development of the participants’ skills.

The key to winning or losing in Kendo is how you utilize the techniques you have acquired through daily practice within the set match time.



Foul in a kendo match

Kendo matches require fair demeanor and the use of appropriate technique.

Here, we will provide a detailed explanation of the main fouls that should be avoided during a match and the penalties if a foul is recognized.


Main foul play

The main types of foul play seen in Kendo matches include:


foul penalty

If a violation is found, the following penalties will generally apply:

  • Foul Warning (blank flag waving): If it is your first offense, you may be given a warning.
  • Foul Loss : Serious or repeat offenses may result in a foul loss and disqualification from the match.


In a Kendo match, an accurate understanding of these rules and penalties will ensure a fair and effective competition.

Athletes are required to understand and respect not only their technique but also the spirit of the game.



strategy for victory

In order to aim for victory in a Kendo match, not only effective technique but also mental preparation is extremely important.

This section provides strategies and techniques for both beginners and advanced players to win the match.


effective hitting techniques

The following points are important for effective striking in Kendo matches:

  • Accurate striking location : Accurately strike the four areas: men, kote, torso, and tsuke.
  • Timing and sense of distance : Assess your opponent’s movements and strike at the optimal timing.
  • Maintaining Posture and Form : Hitting with a strong and balanced posture will lead to effective hitting.


mental preparation and focus

The following mental preparations are required when participating in a Kendo match:

  • Relax and focus : Take deep breaths to calm your mind before a game. During a match, you need to be able to concentrate and not let your guard down even for a moment.
  • Mental training : Simulate the match many times in your head so that you can react calmly in the actual match.
  • Positive thinking : Approaching the game with confidence will lead to victory.


These techniques and mental preparation are essential for performing well in Kendo matches and leading to ultimate victory.

For each player to utilize these elements in practice and games is the key to skill improvement and success.



Summary: Comprehensive strategy for successful Kendo matches

Success in a Kendo match requires not only technical mastery, but also a strategic approach and mental preparation.

Here we have provided an overview of the basic rules of Kendo matches, effective striking techniques, and mental strategies that lead to victory.


  1. Understanding basic rules and offenses :

    • Kendo matches require accurate strikes to the men, kote, torso, and tsuke areas. It is also important to avoid foul play during the match, such as fighting each other and wasting time.
  2. Effective hitting techniques :

    • Selecting the correct hitting position, understanding the appropriate timing and distance, and maintaining posture and form are essential for effective hitting. By mastering these, you can maximize your performance during matches.
  3. Staying mentally prepared and focused :

    • Relaxation before a match, simulation through mental training, and positive thinking will prepare you mentally. This allows you to stay focused even under pressure.


Combining these factors will ensure success in your Kendo matches.

Hone these skills with daily practice and apply these strategies in real matches to win.


Kendo glossary

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