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Kendo "sword way" is a traditional Japanese martial art, which descended from swordsmanship (kenjutsu) and uses bamboo swords (shinai) and protective armor (bogu). Today, it is widely practiced in Japan and many other nations across the world.

Try Kendo, the Way of the Sword, which evolved from samurai sword fighting during the Edo era. Kyumeikan Kendo Dojo is one of the few traditional dojos left in Tokyo where you can experience what it is like to practice in an authentic dojo

The roots of Kendo, The Way of the Sword, are to be found in Kenjutsu, the art of wining a real fight with real swords. Japanese historians mean that there were three periods in the ancient history of swordsmanship: Joko-ryu, Chuko-ryu and Shinto-ryu (the ancient, middle and new styles).

It is difficult to find accurate dated historical studies about Kenjutsu but in the three volumes of Kojiki that covers the history of Japan from mythological age down to the reign of Empress Suiko (592-628 CE) and the 30 volumes of the Nihon-
shoki, completed in 720, Kunimatsu no Mahito, a famous swordsman, is mentioned as founder of Kenjutsu. His fencing style, Kashima No Tachi (Kashima Shrine style), still exist. 
The beginnings
The first accounts of the art of sword fighting is recorded about 400 CE and refer to Tachikaki (tachi means sword, and kaki is the form of drawing). By using a Bokken (solid wooden sword), that at this time was a straight blade, attack and drawing were practised.  
During the Nara period (710-794), when Nara was the capital of Japan, the art of Tachikaki was replaced by Tachiuchi (match of swords), which was a new form of combat-of-arms. 
When the capital in 794 was moved from Nara to Kyoto, at that time named Heian-kyo (city of peace and tranquillity), the art of Kendo started to developed slowly. This was a period of peace and ease, so Samurai that wanted to keep their skills or perfect their sword techniques searched for skilful kendo instructors. As many of the samurais were master swordsmen, they could start a fencing school supported by a warlord of an Uji (clan). But still the bow was the main weapon of the samurai of the Nara and Heian periods.
The kendo schools evolve
The many wars of the Ashikaga Shogunate (1333-1568) made that the art of fencing, Kenjutsu, got an upsurge as the art of sword warfare became necessary for the samurai to master sword fighting. In this period the first Kenjutsu Ryu (school) were founded and the most famous were Nagahide Chujo (1380), Bunguro Hukida (1437), Choisai Iizasa (1488) and In-Ei (1521). There were two distinct areas of Ryu: Sen-ha Kenjutsu, which concentrated on sword techniques to be used in battle; and Ryu-ha Kenjutsu, which also included a more scientific approach, also to the art of war and war strategy. 
The earliest kendo school of which there is a
record, is the Nen-ryu founded in 1350 by Sanashirio Yoshimoto. If Yoshimoto originated the style is not for sure, this particular style however was taught until the 18th century by the Higuchi family, but has now disappeared. Also if this was the first school in existence is not proofed as every Damiyo (lord) has a fencing master in his castle. 
The foundation of modern kendo began during the late 18th century. Yamada Heizaemon Mitsunori and his son Naganuma Sirozaemon Kunisato improved the Shinai and Bogu (armour) by adding a metal protection to the men and padded wrist-shield to the Kote. This enabled the full force delivery of strikes and thrusts without inflicting injury on the opponent. These advances, along with changing practice formats, set the foundations of modern Kendo. 
During the Edo period (1603 - 1867) there were more than 300 Kendo schools. After the battle of Sekigahara in 1600, many samurais were no longer employed in active warfare. As the sword schools were very popular, they enabled many Samurai to make a living teaching swordsmanship. During this time, early 19th century, the “Three Great Dojo of Edo” were founded; Genbukan, led by Chiba Shusaku who systematize the Waza (techniques) of bamboo sword training by the “Sixty-eight Techniques of Kenjutsu”, Renpeikan, led by Saito Yakuro, and Shigakkan led by Momoi Shunzo.

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KENDO improves endurance. This is why many practitioners train in kendo partly for physical fitness. “Full Spirit”: Another benefit of the training of Kendo is the ability to act with a “full spirit” even when the odds are against you.

This means keeping your full concentration and enthusiasm no matter the situation.

“Full Spirit”: Another benefit of the training of Kendo is the ability to act with a “full spirit” even when the odds are against you. This means keeping your full concentration and enthusiasm no matter the situation. With enough practice, kendoka are able to achieve high levels of engagement and concentration for long periods of time when they are sparring. Competitive kendo is nothing but a test of such skills. This valuable skill can then be applied to deal with daily situations in life as well.