Last modified: May 24, 1994

This document is copyright 1994 by Neil Gendzwill, all rights reserved. 
Permission is granted for free distribution in electronic or hard copy,
provided that the document is maintained as a complete work.  Copying
or distribution for profit is expressly denied.

This FAQ is intended to cover all aspects of Japanese swordsmanship.
However, my particular bent is towards kendo, so any flames about
other arts are probably deserved.  Corrections or additions are welcome. 
Please *mail* comments to gendzwill@SEDSystems.ca.  I'll either
incorporate your changes or explain to you why I didn't.
This FAQ has been cross-posted to rec.martial-arts and
rec.sport.fencing.  It is also available by anonymous FTP from
cs.huji.ac.il ( in the directory
/pub/doc/faq/rec/martial-arts, file name sword-art-faq.gz.  The file
is g-zipped ASCII text.

If you are interested in more information on sword arts, subscribe to the
iaido mailing list.  Covering mostly iaido, but also kendo and the ko-
ryu, this excellent service comes to us courtesy of Kim Taylor.  Send e-
mail to:


with the only contents being:

    SUBSCRIBE iaido-l your@email.address.here

Wouldn't hurt to have it in the subject either.  Once you're on, send
mail to iaido-l@uoguelph.ca to contribute.

Thanks to Jens Nilsson for the WKC results and European federation
addresses and Don Seto for most of the rest of the organization
addresses.  If your organization has been overlooked or has inaccuracies
in its entry, let me know.  Sorry, due to space considerations individual
dojos can't be listed.  However, I maintain the Canadian dojo list and
Robert Stroud maintains the U.S. dojo list - our e-mail addresses are in
the contacts section if you would like a copy.  I also have a U.S. list, if
you have trouble obtaining Robert's more up-to-date version (his e-mail
can be balky).

Thanks to Frank Lindquist and Richard Stein for Section 12 (on
purchasing nihon-to).  Thanks to Kim Taylor for the information on the
ko-ryu.  Thanks to all who have written, your comments have been
incorporated where possible.

Table o' Contents

Key to change index (with respect to version 2.0):

  N = new, r = minor revision, R = major revision

R      Introduction
  1.   What is kendo?
R 1a.  OK, then what is kenjutsu?
r 1b.  Isn't bokken technique taught in aikido?
  1c.  What is kumdo?
N 1d.  Are there different styles of kendo/kenjutsu?
  2.   What is iaido?
  2a.  OK, then what is iaijutsu?
N 2b.  Are there different styles of iaido/iaijutsu?
  3.   What about batto-jutsu, tamashi-giri, shinkendo and others?
  3a.  OK, so if they're watered down, why study kendo or iaido?
r 4.   How did kendo originate?
r 5.   How did iaido originate?
  6.   What are those funny clothes kendo and iaido players wear?
  6a.  Why do they wear hakama?
  7.   How is a Japanese sword constructed?
  7a.  How many layers in a Japanese sword?
  7b.  What are the different types of Japanese swords?
  8.   What sort of weapons are used for practice?
  9.   What is the armour for kendo?
  9a.  How much does kendo armour cost?
  10.  How does the ranking work in kendo and iaido?
  11.  Kendo competition
R 11a. World kendo championships results
R 12.  I want to buy a Japanese sword.  What do I do?
  12a. How much do they cost?
  12b. Where can I find swords to purchase?
  12c. How can I tell if it's a good sword?
  12d. How can I tell if the sword is right for me?
N 12e. Are there special concerns for iaido?
R 13.  Bibliography
  14.  Organization Contacts
R 14a. Kendo Federations
  14b. Sword Clubs
r 15.  Equipment Suppliers

1. What is kendo?
Kendo is the way of the sword, Japanese fencing.  About 8 million
people worldwide participate, 7 million of them in Japan.  It is taught as
part of the school physical education curriculum.  College kendo teams
in Japan are high-profile; major competitions are televised complete with
colour commentary. 
Kendoka wear armour protecting the head, throat, wrists and abdomen;
these are the only legal targets.  The split-bamboo practice sword, called
a shinai, is wielded two-handed; the kendoka faces his opponent
squarely.  A small number of high-level practitioners utilize a shinai in
each hand.  Kendoka move using a peculiar gliding step refined for use
on the smooth floors of the dojo. 
1a. OK, then what is kenjutsu?
*Generally* (but not always) in Japanese martial arts, the "do" forms
are those used to improve the self, while the "jutsu" forms concentrate
on teaching the techniques of war. 
The art of winning real fights with real swords is kenjutsu.  The goal of
kenjutsu is victory over opponents; the goal of kendo is to improve
oneself through the study of the sword.  Kendo also has a strong
sporting aspect with big tournaments avidly followed by the Japanese
public.  Thus kendo could be considered the philosophical/sporting
aspect of Japanese swordsmanship. 
In terms of learning to fight with a sword, kenjutsu has a more complete
curriculum.  Kendo of necessity limits the range of techniques and
targets.  Kendoka generally use shinai, which allow techniques which do
not work with real swords.  Kenjutsu practitioners do not usually use
shinai in training, preferring to use bokken (wooden swords) or katana
(steel swords) in order to preserve the cutting techniques of real sword
fighting.  Kenjutsu training is largely consists of practicing cutting
technique and performing partner kata.

In some ryu, there is contact, which usually happens in a controlled
manner within a partner kata.  Some of the ryu use protective
equipment, such as the gloves and head padding of the Maniwa Nen
Ryu.  Others, Shinkage Ryu in particular, use a fukuro shinai which is
made of bamboo split into many pieces at the end and completely
covered with leather. 

1b.  Isn't bokken technique taught in aikido?

Yes, with qualifications.  Not every aikido dojo offers qualified
instruction in actual sword techniques.  Many of them use bokken
practice only as a way of better understanding the empty-handed
techniques, as these techniques are grounded in kenjutsu.

Ueshiba-sensei was trained in many styles of bujutsu, including kenjutsu,
jojutsu and aikijutsu.  He distilled and modified the myriad of techniques
he knew into modern aikido.  Most modern students do not have the
time or inclination to learn the empty handed curriculum as well as
bokken and jo, so the concentration tends to be on the aiki techniques. 
Even among those dojos which emphasize bokken, the techniques are
somewhat different from kenjutsu.  Ueshiba-sensei's swordsmanship was
excellent, incidentally.  Should you ever get an opportunity to watch
film of him with a bokken, take it.

1c.  What is kumdo?

Kumdo is the korean word for kendo.  They wear different clothing and
dispense with the Japanese terminology for reasons based on racial
enmity, but the techniques are sufficiently similar for Korea to compete
successfully in international tournaments.

1d.  Are there different styles of kendo/kenjutsu?

Kendo is pretty much the same world-wide.  Most dojos are governed
by the International Kendo Federation (IKF), which grew from the Zen-
Nippon Kendo Renmei (ZNKR, the All-Japan Kendo Federation). 
There is a second federation in Japan, not as popular, but the differences
are more political than technical.

There used to be many kenjutsu ryu; only a handful have survived.  One
of the oldest is Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu.  There is also Itto
Ryu, from which much of modern kendo is derived.  Bokuden Ryu,
Kashima Ryu and Maniwa Nen Ryu still survive.  Two branches of
Musashi's Niten Ichi Ryu are still going: Hyo Ho Niten Ichi (also called
Noda Ha) and Santo Ha.  Yagyu family kenjutsu survives as Shinkage
Ryu, probably the most popular of the modern kenjutsu traditions.

2.  What is iaido?
Iaido is the art of drawing and attacking with a sword, although a more
indepth reading of the Japanese characters for iaido results in (very
roughly) "the way of harmonizing oneself in action".  Iaidoka (and
kendoka) wield a sword not to control their opponent, but to control
Iaido is performed solo as a series of kata, executing varied techniques
against single or multiple imaginary opponents.  In addition to sword
technique, it requires imagination and concentration in order to maintain
the feeling of a real fight and to keep the kata fresh.  Iaidoka are often
recommended to practice kendo to preserve that fighting feel; it is
common for high ranking kendoka to hold high rank in iaido and vice
2a. OK, then what is iaijutsu?
Iaijutsu is the art of killing on the draw.  Iaijutsu teaches how to draw
quickly and in such a fashion as to negate an opponents attack with
Seitei-gata iaido (that set of techniques recommended by the ZNKR) is
like a moving meditation - the draw and cut are very deliberate,
formalized and beautiful.  It is as far removed from iai-jutsu as kendo is
from kenjutsu.  Iaijutsu is more direct and forceful, less concerned with
the state of the practitioner's mind and more with dispatching the
Having said that, iaido schools are generally affiliated with a particular
ryu of iaido.  In addition to the seitei-gata, students also learn their own
ryu's techniques, which may be close to the seitei-gata in feeling or
close to what is described here as iaijutsu.  It's not completely black and

2b. Are there different styles of iaido/iaijutsu?

Iai is like karate, it is a broad "method of combat" which involves
drawing and cutting like karate involves kicking and punching. The
various styles are just that, styles. The main thrust stays constant.

The only (legitimate) ryu that usually calls itself iaijutsu that the author
knows of is the Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu.  Katori Shinto Ryu
is a bujutsu ryu, meaning many types of armed and unarmed combat are
taught.  Most other so-called iaijutsu schools are run by charlatans.

Two of the oldest iaido ryu extant today are Tatsumi Ryu and Shindo
Munen Ryu.  The other ryu listed here, and most of the ryu practiced
today come from a common root, the Muso Ryu of Hayashizaki Jinsuke
Shigenobu.  These include Sekiguchi Ryu, Hoki Ryu, Tamiya Ryu,
Jushin Ryu, Suio Ryu and Ichinomiya Ryu.

The most popular (in terms of numbers of students) forms of iaido are
represented by the Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu and the Muso Shinden Ryu. 
The iaido of the ZNKR is heavily based on these two schools, that of
the ZNIR (Zen-Nippon Iaido Renmei, the All-Japan Iaido Federation)
mostly based on the former.  Most modern students belong to one of the
two ryu, plus the ZNKR or ZNIR. 

Toyama Ryu and Dai Nihon Batto Ho are offshoots of Muso Jikiden
Eishin Ryu, although Toyama Ryu is actually just a subset.

There are many other ryu, especially in Japan.  This has been a partial
listing of the most popular.
3. What about batto-jutsu, tamashi-giri, shinkendo and others?  

Again, *generally*, batto-jutsu is another word for iaijutsu, tamashi-giri
is the art of physically cutting with the sword and shinkendo is fencing
from a real sword perspective. 
However, hundreds of years ago, the various sword teachers called their
arts by various names which all designated more or less complete
curricula of sword technique.  In other words, what one ryu called
kendo (or iaijutsu, or kenjutsu, or batto-jutsu) in the 15th century is not
the same as what we call kendo today - it would have incorporated
techniques of fencing, drawing and cutting, as no swordsman would be
sufficiently trained without all three skills. 
3a. OK, so if they're watered down, why study kendo or iaido?  

Studying swordsmanship in the late 20th century is not a practical
matter.  Unlike the various empty-handed arts, there is no direct
application for self-defence.  You are unlikely to whip out a katana or
bokken when accosted in a dark alley. 
People start the study of swordsmanship for a variety of reasons.  Those
who study for a long time end up staying for two reasons: they enjoy the
practice, and they feel they improve themselves through their practice. 
These things can be accomplished through kendo and iaido, in fact some
might say they are more readily accomplished through the do forms, as
that is their intent.  Note that just because an art is labelled jutsu does
not mean that there is no spiritual side to the training; that is a
distinction that separates the most extreme sides to each style.
If your interest is in accurate and realistic sword technique applications,
then you may not be satisfied with kendo or iaido.  Be aware that
*qualified* instructors of kenjutsu or iaijutsu are extremely difficult to
find.  There are only a handful in the US, none that I know of in
Canada, and a whole passle of charlatans.  Even the handful that are
generally considered legitimate, including Lovret and Obata, have their
4. How did kendo originate?
The earliest swords known to exist in Japan were of Chinese style and
origin and date to the 2nd century BC.  These ancient swords are
referred to as ken, the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese ideogram
for sword or knife.  From this term comes kendo, way of the sword,
and kenjutsu, art of the sword. 
Japanese sword technology began to outstrip the continental blades
around 700 AD, with the advent of the first curved swords.  Japanese
historians refer to three stages of swordsmanship in ancient times - joko-
ryu, chuko-ryu and shinto-ryu (ancient, middle and new styles).   

One of two people are credited with the founding of kenjutsu, the
synthesis of the ancient styles.  The Kojiki and the Nihon-shoki (the 2
main references for ancient Japanese history) refer to Choisai Iizasa. 
Other historians refer to Kumimatsu no Mahito, a famous swordsman
whose style is fabled to be the Kashima no tachi or Kashima Shrine
style, which continues to this day.
Reference to the use of bokken (wooden sword) for fighting and training
date back to 400 AD.  This was followed by tachikaki, the art of
drawing the sword.  From this various ryus, or styles, developed.  Once
a fencing master became famous, he would form a ryu to give his name
to the particular technique he had developed.  Tachikaki developed into
tachiuchi (match with swords) by the 8th century, after which there was
slow development in kenjutsu. 
In the 14th century, kenjutsu became popular once more.  Dojos began
to be established to teach kenjutsu and perpetuate ryu.  Around that
time, Kagehisa Ittosai Ito achieved a reputation for peerless
swordsmanship and deep-thinking philosophy.  He named himself Ittosai
(one sword man) and founded Itto-ryu, the one sword school.  It still
exists today and strongly influences modern kendo. 

In the mid-18th century, Chuto Nakanishi developed the shinai (bamboo
sword) and the kote (gloves).  The do (chestplate) and men (helmet)
followed, and by the end of the century, the practice armour and
weapons had been refined into more or less the form they are used
today.  The new equipment required a new set of rules for the dojo, and
the new style of fencing became known as kendo. 
In 1871 the Japanese government made kendo compulsory training in
schools and emphasis was placed on the mental, moral and physical
value of training in an ancient martial art.  Kendo was slowly becoming
a sport.  When the government banned the public wearing of swords in
1878, kenjutsu was barely able to survive.  The Japanese police are
credited with much of the effort in keeping swordsmanship alive during
this period. 
In 1909, the first college kendo federation was formed, followed by the
Zen-Nippon Kendo Renmei (ZNKR, All-Japan Kendo Federation) in
1928.  This federation, along with the Zen-Nippon Iaido Renmei (ZNIR,
All-Japan Iaido Federation), govern kendo and iaido today. 
5. How did iaido originate?
The above history of kendo/jutsu applies also to iaido/jutsu.  In the latter
half of the 15th century, Ienao Izasa (also known as Choisai Izasa)
founded the Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu.  Together with his
leading swordsman, he devised the art of attacking with the draw called
iai-jutsu.  In the early part of the 16th century, the Tatsumi Ryu and
Takenouchi Ryu also practiced iai-jutsu.
In the late 16th century, Shigenobu Jinsuke allegedly was divinely
inspired to develop a new sword-drawing art.  He renamed himself
Hayashizaki after the inspirational place and founded the Shimmei Muso
Ryu to teach his art, called batto-jutsu.  He was one of the first to teach
swordsmanship as a way for spiritual development.  Popularly
misidentified as the originator of iai-jutsu, his influence has been great. 
More than 200 ryu have been founded in the wake of Jinsuke's
inspiration and image, many of them named after him. 
Various headmasters in the line of Jinsuke's teachings formed their own
ryu.  Among them were Shigemasa Tamiya (Tamiya Ryu), Kinrose
Nagano (Muraku Ryu) and Eishin Hasegawa (Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu),
who were the 1st, 3rd and 7th headmasters descending from Jinsuke. 
The ryu which branched out from the teachings of these and others are
too numerous to mention here. 
Hakudo Nakayama, who lived at the beginning of the 20th century,
studied Omori Ryu, Muraku Ryu and Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu and was
experienced in all aspects of swordsmanship.  He became the 16th and
last undisputed successor to the Jinsuke/Eishin line.  He also studied
Shindo Munen Ryu and Yamaguchi Itto Ryu.  He went on to develop his
own style, Muso Shinden Ryu batto-jutsu.  Due to his diverse
experience, the ryu boasted a bewildering array of techniques.  He was
asked to develop a simplified curriculum.  He did so, and made the
techniques available to all interested persons, largely kendoka.  These
forms of iai-jutsu, along with others, were gradually restyled as iaido in
the late 40s.   

In 1967, the Zen-Nippon Kendo Renmei formed a committee to develop
a standardized curriculum of study for iaido.  This curriculum was to be
recommended as study to students of kendo, who were losing touch with
the dynamics of combat with real swords.  Members of Muso Jikiden
Eishin Ryu, Muso Shinden Ryu and Hoki Ryu recommended a
curriculum of seven kata that became known as the seitei gata.  In 1977,
another committee from the same ryu plus Tamiya Ryu added three
more kata to the seitei gata. 
The seitei-gata iaido has the largest popular following in Japan and
abroad.  The Zen-Nippon Iaido Renmei was formed in 1948, and has
done a great deal of work to promote iai-jutsu and iaido.  It has its own
autonomy and standards. 
Only a handful of ryu are represented by the major organizations; thus
the hundreds of traditional iai-jutsu ryu did not contribute to the
foundation of iaido.  Classical iai-jutsu exists today but largely goes its
separate way from iaido. 
6. What are those funny clothes kendo and iaido players wear?  

The top is called a keiko-gi (also kendo-gi or just gi).  It is a heavy,
quilted cotton shirt with three-quarter length sleeves.  The kendo-gi is
very similar to the top of the judo uniform, but longer.  Iaidoka usually
wear a gi about the same weight as a karate uniform.  Kenjutsuka and
iaijutsuka wear what kendoka and iaidoka wear, respectively.   

The bottom is called a hakama.  It is a pleated, divided skirt (the
modern term might be a culotte, but that's not strictly accurate)
generally made of cotton or cotton-poly blend.  The hakama are the
same as aikidoka wear, except that kendo/iaido attaches no particular
grade to the hakama.  In my club, we let beginners wear them as soon
as the footwork is solid enough that we don't have to correct it
constantly (the hakama hides the feet). 

Traditionally, the hakama is black or indigo blue for men and white for
women. The gi is blue or white.  Iaidoka sometimes wear all black or
all white regardless of sex.  Children's gi have a diamond-shaped line
pattern on them.  Most people wear all blue.  A good quality Japanese
gi is died with natural indigo, and so is the kendoka wearing it until the
salt from sweat sets the dye.  You can also cheat and wash a new gi in
cold water and salt before wearing.
6a. Why do they wear hakama?
Hakama and keiko-gi are robust versions of the formal samurai clothing
of the 18th and 19th centuries.  They are worn during sword practice, in
preference to something like the clothes worn in karate, to emphasize
the formality of occasion.  Kendo or iaido training is meant to be more
than just physical training, and the choice of clothes emphasizes this. 
Additionally, the clothes add grace and dignity to an already graceful
and dignified art.

From a practical standpoint, the hakama is cool and comfortable, allows
easy movement and disguises the feet from the opponent.  

7. How is a Japanese sword constructed?
Very carefully.
Seriously, there are as many as a half-dozen people involved in the
construction of a sword.
The swordsmith forges the actual blade.  He starts usually with a special
kind of traditional Japanese steel called tamahagane, and works with
hammer and forge to fold it a number of times.  There are two
processes in general, one to make core steel (shinganae) and the other to
make jacket steel (kawagane).  Kawagane is folded more times and ends
up being harder and less ductile than shinganae.  In the most simple
construction, a piece of kawagane is folded around a piece of shinganae
to form a jacketed core.  Thus the shinganae allows the sword to flex
instead of breaking on impact, and the kawagane allows it to take the
famous razor edge.  More complicated construction methods can
produce swords made of as many of 5 pieces of steel, all forged

The folding process is used to closely control the uniformity and carbon
content of the steel.  An accomplished smith can tell by eye to within a
tenth of a percent the carbon content of a piece of steel.   

When the basic blank has been constructed, the smith will continue to
work what is essentially a metal bar into the shape of the sword.  When
the forging is done, the blade is the correct length, curvature and
general shape, but lacks a finish and certain of the various edges and
features.  The smith will then use coarse polishing stones to further
define the blade before passing it onto the polisher. 
The polisher uses successive grades of stone to finish the blade.  The
polisher is responsible for the famous edge, but that is only one part of
his job.  His real job is to bring out the beauty of the smiths art. 
Properly polished, the complexity of the construction is revealed. 
Improperly polished, the blade is ruined. 
A woodcarver makes a saya (scabbard) for the sword.  Each saya is
custom carved out of wood from the ho tree.  The actual blade is
required, as the carver will use it as a template to make a properly
fitting saya.   

A jeweller makes the habaki, the small but critical metal piece which is
constructed to fit exactly on the blade next to the tang, and provide the
snug friction fit which keeps the blade from rattling in the saya.   

Further craftsmen make the finishings.  There can be separate craftsmen
for the tsuka (handle), tsuba (handguard) and menuki (hilt ornaments).   

7a. How many layers in a Japanese sword?
It depends on the smith.  Shinganae is generally folded about 10 times,
resulting in about a 1000 layers.  Kawagane is folded anywhere from 12
to 16 times, depending on the smith and the metal he is working with,
and so could have from 4000 to 65000 layers. 
7b. What are the different types of Japanese swords?
Generally, the swords are classified by length.  A daito is a sword with
a blade longer than two shaku ( shaku = 11.9 inches ).  A wakizashi is
between one and two shaku in length, and a tanto is less than one shaku. 

There are lots of other names.  The most common one, katana, refers to
the style most people have seen, a daito which is worn stuck through the
obi (belt) with the edge up.  A tachi is an older style, slightly longer and
more curved, worn slung on cords with the edge down, usually used in a
calvary style.  An o-dachi is a bigger tachi, with a very long handle,
worn slung over the back for battlefield application.  A ko-dachi is a
different word for a wakizashi, or short sword.  A chokuto, or ken, is a
very old style straight sword. 
8. What sort of weapons are used for practice?
The usual weapon used in Kendo is the shinai.  It is constructed of 4
pieces of split bamboo.  The tip of the shinai is covered in leather; the
four staves are held apart by a t-shaped piece of rubber.  The staves are
held together at the opposite end by a long leather handle.  The handle is
round rather than oval like a real katana.  A leather lace tied in a
complicated knot about a third of the way from the tip keeps the staves
from spreading too far apart.  A string runs down one stave -it signifies
the dull edge, or back of the sword. 
The split construction allows the staves to both flex and compress
against each other, absorbing much of the energy of the blow.  Attacks
which miss the armour cause bruises; nothing more.  Poorly maintained
shinai can be dangerous - bamboo shinai must be checked and sanded
regularly to avoid splinters, and oiled or waxed to help prevent drying
out and subsequent breakage.  For this reason carbon fibre shinai have
become popular.  Although expensive and less lively-feeling compared
to bamboo, they are virtually maintenance free and last for years.

More advanced kendoka use bokken, or wooden swords.  Bokken are
usually constructed of white Japanese oak, although they can be made of
a variety of exotic hardwoods.  They are curved and sized like a katana,
and the handle is about the same length and oval.  Kenjutsu is often
practiced with bokken, and in fact kendoka use bokken to practice the
kendo kata, which are derived from kenjutsu.  

Iaidoka at lower ranks use iaito, which are dull katana.  A good iaito at
the least has a proper handle with rayskin and cord grip and is
constructed strongly enough so as not to be a danger in practice.  The
more expensive a iaito gets, the more closely it's construction mirrors
that of a good sharp sword (shinken). 
Kendo kata swords are like iaito, but a little heavier and capable of
withstanding the blows received in the course of the kata.  Kenjutsu is
sometimes practiced with these. 
Sharp katana, or shinken, are real Japanese swords.  Iaidoka are
required to take their 5th dan exam using a shinken; advanced kenjutsu
practice uses them. 
9. What is the armour for kendo?
The armour protects the head, throat, wrists and abdomen; these are the
only legal targets.  The helmet is called a men.  An oval steel cage
protects the face; a throat guard extends down from the cage and
provides the "tsuki" target - about 3" by 4".  Padding for the top of the
head, ears and shoulders is attached to the cage.  It is made of horsehair
covered in cotton and compressed with close stitching.  The whole affair
is tied on with long woven strings.  The "men" target is the top of the
head, from corner to corner, as it were.  A cotton towel called a tenugui
is worn under the men for comfort and to soak up the sweat.  Tenugui
are printed with a design, usually kanji, and given as souvenirs. 
Equipment manufacturers also give them as promotional items.   

The tare, also of horsehair and cloth construction, protects the hip and
groin.  There is no legal target on the tare.  Usually the tare will have
the kendoka's name and dojo affiliation displayed (this is a requirement
for tournament competition).  Overlapping the tare is the chest protector,
called the do.  The do is constructed of from 48 to 64 bamboo staves,
covered in leather (whale skin is traditional) and lacquered.  Cheap ones
are fibreglass.  The do protects the entire front of the chest, and extends
around the sides to protect from roughly the hip bone to the first couple
of ribs.  The abdominal portion of the do is the "do" target.  The
portion covering the heart (called the mune) becomes a legal "tsuki"
target in certain positions. 

The kote protect the hands and wrists.  The backs of the hands and
knuckles are covered in heavy padding with a leather exterior.  The
portion of the kote covering the wrists is constructed of horsehair and
cloth.  The palms are covered with a layer of leather.  They look like
boxing  gloves crossed with medieval gauntlets.
9a. How much does kendo armour cost?
A decent used set (if you can find one) might cost $300.  The minimum
you could expect to pay for a set from Japan you would be happy with
for some years would be $1000.  Cheaper Taiwanese sets could be had
for about $500, but the money would be better put towards a good
Japanese set.  At the high end, complete sets can be $10,000 or more.   

Fortunately, many clubs have old sets of armour available to loan or
rent.  If they did not do so, they would have trouble attracting new
students.  Sooner or later you will be expected to shell out.   

10. How does the ranking work in kendo and iaido?
Kendo and iaido are strongly organized, with a single federation in each
country receiving direction from the All-Japan Kendo Federation (also
called the Zen-Nippon Kendo Renmei, or ZNKR).  Kendo and iaido
under the ZNKR has a pretty consistent nine dan system of ranking. 
Dojo-dan are not allowed - you must grade in front of a committee of at
least six fifth or higher dans for first dan, and bigger committees for
higher ranks.  These ranks are then transferrable from country to
Kyu ("coloured belts") are given to children as incentives, but not
usually adults.  If kyu are given, they may start at tenth (jukyu) or more
usually sixth (rokyu) and advance up to first (ikkyu).  Dan then start at
first (shodan) and advance up to nine (kudan).  No outward indication of
rank is worn.  Shodan can be accomplished in 2 or 3 years for a
persistent and reasonably talented person.  A dojo's head instructor in
North America should be at least fourth dan; many are fifth or sixth
11. Kendo competition

Competition is not the be-all and end-all of kendo.  Many people
practice kendo with little or no tournament experience.  Many sensei
discourage focussing on tournaments, and specifically discourage
degrading technique to a tournament-oriented style.

Having said that, competition is a big part of kendo.  Herein is a brief
description of tournament rules.

A match is held in a square area from 9 to 11 metres square.  A match
is adjudicated by a referee (shimpan) and two corner judges.  Scoring is
best two of three points, similar to traditional karate.  Matches are
usually 5 minutes long for men, 3 minutes for women and juniors.  If
the score is tied at the end of regulation time, sudden-death overtime
periods (ensho) are held. 

The four legal targets in kendo are the men (top of the head), do
(abdomen), kote (wrist) and tsuki (throat).  The official regulations
contain pages of directives as to what comprises a point, but the two
most important things are: ki-ken-tai no-ichi and zanshin.

Ki-ken-tai no-ichi means mind, sword and body as one.  The cut is not
only with the sword, but also with the body and the mind.  In practical
terms, the shinai must accurately strike the target at the same time as the
body weight comes down onto the leading foot (accompanied by a loud
stamping sound) and the targets name is yelled (kiai).

Zanshin literally means the heart that remains.  In practice, it means to
be in a state of physical and mental readiness; to be in such a position to
continue the attack; to be sufficiently alert so as to not be in danger of
attack.  In practical terms this means following through after the cut and
ending up in the correct posture, obviously alert and ready to fight.

In addition to individual matches, team matches are held in which teams
(usually 5, but sometimes 3 or 7) of opponents fight each other, one pair
of opponents at a time.  The team with the most wins, wins. If the
number of wins is tied, then the contest goes to the team with the most
points scored.  If that is tied, a tiebreaker match is held between the
team captains.

11a. World kendo championships results

The world championships are held every three years.  Although not the
premier event in kendo (it is roughly fourth behind the All-Japan
Championships, the All-Japan Policeman's Championship and the All-
Japan College Championships) it is the premier event for non-Japanese.

Note: Kendo tournaments are single knockout, therefore third place is
always a tie.

PLACE            TEAM (1,2,3,3)        INDIVIDUAL(1,2,3,3)

1WKC             Japan                 M. Kobayashi (Japan)
Japan            Republic Of China     T. Toda      (Japan)
Tokyo            Brazil                Y. Taniguchi (Japan)
1970             Okinawa               T. Ohta      (Japan)

2WKC             Japan                 T. Sakuragi  (Japan)
U.S.A.           Canada                H. Yano      (Japan)
San Francisco    U.S.A.                J.R. Rhee    (Korea)
1973             Hawaii                T. Fujita    (Japan)

3WKC             Japan                 E. Yokoo     (Japan)
England          Canada                K. Ono       (Japan)
Milton Keynes    U.S.A                 C-T. Wu      (Republic Of China) 
1976             Republic Of China     R. Hosoda    (Japan)

4WKC             Japan                 H. Yamada    (Japan) 
Japan            Korea                 K. Furukawa  (Japan)
Sapporo          U.S.A.                H. Aikawa    (Japan)
1979             Hawaii                K. Terada    (Japan)

5WKC             Japan                 M. Makita    (Japan)
Brazil           Brazil                T. Kosaka    (Japan)
Sao Paulo        U.S.A.                H. Yasugahira (Japan) 
1982             Korea                 T. Okajiwa   (Japan)

6WKC             Japan                 K. Koda      (Japan)
France           Brazil                H. Ogawa     (Japan)
Paris            Korea                 K.N. Kim     (Korea)
1985             Canada                J.C. Park    (Korea)

7WKC             Japan                 I. Okido     (Japan)
Korea            Korea                 A. Hayashi   (Japan)
Seoul            Canada                H. Sakata    (Japan)
1988             Brazil                R. Bremauntz (??) (Unconfirmed)

8WKC             Japan                 S. Muto      (Japan) 
Canada           Korea                 H. Sakata    (Japan)
Toronto          Republic Of China     S. Shimizu   (Japan) 
1991             Canada                M. Yamamato  (Japan)

9WKC             Japan                 H. Takahashi (Japan)
France           Korea                 K. Takei     (Japan)
Paris            Canada                N. Eiga      (Japan)
1994             Republic of China     S. Hirano    (Japan)

12.  I want to buy a Japanese sword.  What do I do?

This section only briefly touches on the main issues involved in
purchasing a nihon-To (Japanese-Sword).  The topics of swordsmith,
dating, value and type are too complex for inclusion here - books only
give a generalization in 100+ pages.

Your best weapon is information.  Join the Japanese Sword Society of
the United States (JSS/US).  Take your time to find out who the
reputable dealers are and deal with them only - the JSS/US can help you
out here.  Study and look at a lot of blades first, before buying.  Find a
trusted advisor/collector to assist you.  Buy and read John Yumoto's
Book: The Samurai Sword - A Handbook.  You will find it invaluable. 
Read other Japanese sword books.

Note the following definitions:

  Blade: the steel blade only - no fittings (handle/guard/scabbard/etc).
  Sword: includes the blade & all fittings.

12a.  How much do they cost?

Note that all prices given are in US dollars, and are approximate.  Your
mileage may definitely vary.

If you are looking for an antique sword, the starting point is about $500
for a relatively new (20th century) blade, rising up to $5-50k for good
swords by well-known smiths, and $100k+ for famous swords by
famous smiths.  For a decent working sword, expect to part with at least

If you buy an antique, it may need polishing.  A reasonable minor
touch-up polish may cost about $10 to $20 per inch of blade length from
a US polisher.  A major polish by a US polisher may run $30 to $50 per
inch.  Your prices may vary.  Blade length is measured from the tip
(kissaki) to the back notch (mune-machi) where the blade collar (habaki)
stops against the blade.

If you want to buy a newly made Japanese sword, the starting point is
about $2,000 for an OK blade only, through about $10,000 for a good
blade to $50k+ for a blade by one of the top smiths.  Note that these
prices are just for the blade.  If you are buying a new blade, you will
need to buy fittings - the tsuka and all its pieces, the tsuba and a saya. 
Expect to pay about $700 minimum for everything, more if you want
real artwork.

If you want a iaito, you can get a complete sword including fittings and
saya for anywhere from $300 to $2000.  Cheaper ones are available but
are considered dangerous as the handle may break.

If you are buying an antique sword, you may get only the blade or you
may need to repair/replace some of the fittings.  Both Antique and
replica parts are available.  Antique tsuba cost $75 to $300+; replica
brass $30 to $50, and replica iron/silver tsuba $90 to $120+.

Antique grip aids (menuki) cost $50 to $150+; replicas $20 to $30 for
brass, $50 for silver/gold plated silver.  Antique handle front and butt
piece (fuchi/kashira) cost $75 to $200+; replicas $50 to $100.

A beat up saya can be fixed.  Horn pieces are about $15 each, metal
parts are also available.  A simple black water-based lacquer paint job is
about $100.  A new saya in simple black laquer made for your blade
costs about $150 to $300.  Antique blades may need new silk or leather
handle cord (tsuka-ito), costs about $120 for materials and labour for a
good job.

12b.  Where can I find swords to purchase?

The availability of Japanese Swords in the US is due primarily to large
numbers of swords brought back by GIs after WWII.  As such, the
quality varies all over the place - from excellent old Koto blades to late
WWII machine made pieces of steel.

Japanese swords can be found at major gun shows.  There are also
annual Japanese Sword Shows in San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas and
Florida, among other places.  Major auction houses often have auctions
featuring Japanese blades.

At auctions, sometime good buys can be found on the last day, or in
"off/odd" lots - not featured in the catalog.  Inspect every blade at the
preview.  Learn what is good, and also the actual "hammer price" the
blade sold for.

Sword clubs, especially the Japanese Sword Society of the US (JSS/US)
can help put you in touch with sellers.  The JSS/US newsletter has
advertisments from various dealers and polishers.  Addresses for sword
clubs are found elsewhere in this FAQ.

12c.  How can I tell if it's a good sword?

Learn, learn, learn.  Join the JSS/US.  Read Yumoto.  Read him again. 
Read him a third time.  Read other sources of information.  As in any
other consumer exchange, it's possible/likely for you to get burned. 
Find a knowledgable mentor you can trust to help you.

Curved Japanese blades were made from the 900s to today.  Age of
blade by itself is not indicative of quality - there are many periods in
Japan when swords were cranked out in high volume to meet war-time
conditions.  Don't buy a crummy blade because the polish job looks
good or the fittings/wrap looks good.  Focus on the blade itself first. 
Know the age of the blade - a lot of recent (19th/20th century) blades
are passed off as old blades.  Learn the terminology of eras of
swordmaking (Koto, Shinto, Shin-Shinto, Showa-to, Gendai-to, Gunto,
etc. ).

The order of consideration is #1 blade, #2 polish, #3 fittings, #4
scabbard and #5 handle.  In addition to all this, if the blade is to be a
working blade for iaido, tamashigiri or whatever, it must fit you and be
suited to the purpose.

When examining blades, ask first!  Don't touch the blade with your
fingers, the salts & moisture on your hands can cause fingerprint rust
marks on the blade - major faux pas!  Don't touch the edge to see if it's
sharp.  Again, you may rust the blade and you may also severly cut
yourself (much less important than damaging a valuable blade).  Don't
breath on blade either! Treat every blade with respect - for the maker,
the present owner and the blade itself.  The Japanese sword was often
called "the Soul of a Samurai".

Inspecting the sword - always hold the sword by both the tsuka and saya
when picking it up for the first time.  Hold it horizontally, as the
saya/habaki fit may be very loose or the wood/bamboo handle pin
(mekugi) may be loose or missing; check first.  Inspect all exterior
fittings first, do they match in design/ age? To remove the blade from
the saya, hold the sword by the tsuka with one hand, cutting edge up,
either horizontally or vertically, and separate the blade and saya - sliding
on the mune only.  This minimizes/eliminates putting scratches on the
sides of the blade.  Examine the blade (length, curve, style, hamon,
defects, feel, etc).  If you are still interested in the blade, have the
owner remove the tsuka - handles can often be ill-fitting, or in the case
of Gunto (WWII) mounts, have a lot of spacers (seppa) and
miscellaneous  hardware.

Many of the WWII blades are machine made single bars of steel.  Some
Navy blades are stainless steel with faked (via polishing) temper lines. 
A few blades will have engraving (horimono) - it was often done by
machine to primarily WWII blades after the war for GIs, a dragon
chasing a flaming pearl being a popular example.  Engraving can also be
used to hide flaws in the blade.  Many of the WWII blades were crudely
made, using machines and non-swordsmith workers.  Are the lines
straight on the blade?  Does the main line (shinogi) waver about?

For terminology of age and features, be sure and read Yumoto.  Look
for defects, chips, fissures, etc.  Check the temper/hardening line
(hamon) on both sides and in the tip area carefully.  The hamon tells a
lot about the blade, study Yumoto and others to understand what it is
saying.  The steels used in the 20th century for mass production of
Japanese blades are such that flashy looking hamons can be made on
poor quality blades.  Check the grain of the blade - again, some very
flashy, large grain (contrasting layers) blades are sometimes of poor
quality.  Hamon questionable or no grain visible? Hold your breath and
your wallet!

Does the line in the tip area (ko-shinogi) match the tip cutting edge
(fukura) in shape? If not, this is a clue that the point was reshaped after
a chip or break.  Look down the mune from the tsuba.  Bent blades may
have been straightened, you may see zig-zags (major or minor) or
"stretch marks" on the sides of the blade.  If the blade looks
questionable, don't buy it.

Look at the tang (nakago).  Signature(s) may mean everything or
nothing.  A famous name signature may turn out to be the 7th
generation son of the famous maker or a forgery.  Go to a trusted expert
to understand the signature (or lack of it) and its meaning.

The polish job on the blade is the second consideration.  A good polish
job will show the grain of the blade without being bright shiny.  If the
whole blade is like a mirror, chances are someone has been using Semi-
Chrome(tm) polish on the blade to make it look good.  If you can't see
the grain or the hamon or the hamon fades in and out it, it may be a
good blade with a bad polish.  Or it may be a "tired" blade - polished
out with the core steel showing.  Or it may be just a bad blade (poor
workmanship/materials) with a bad polish.

The mountings on the blade are the third consideration.  Be aware that
replica tsuba, menuki, fuchi/kashira, etcetera can be treated to look
antique.  This is OK as long as you are aware of what you are getting. 
The saya is the fourth.  A beat-up saya can be repaired or replaced
fairly cheaply, unless it is very fancy.  Last is the handle.  Again, a
poor handle can be re-wrapped or remade.

12d.  How can I tell if the sword is right for me?

Quality of the blade aside, you must find one that fits you.  Many katana
for sale in the US are relatively short, (around 24-26 in. - measured
along the top from the kissaki to mune-machi) as the longer katanas are
often valued by collectors/users.

If you are of typical non-Asian height (5'10"-6'), look for a 26" to 29"
blade length.  Hold the handle with right hand at front next to the tsuba,
and carefully let the blade hang down at your side, arm relaxed.  Don't
let the tip hit the floor or you've just bought a blade with a bent or
broken tip!  A correct length blade should come close to, but not touch
the floor.

Hold the sword with both hands, without saya (scabbard).  It should feel
good to you, live and natural, not dead, like you're holding just a bar of
steel.  This is a very subjective feeling.  If you are going to do any
tamashigiri (test cutting), you should be buying a heavier blade.  Also, a
fine polish job is probably not your greatest concern for tamashigiri.  If
the blade is to be used primarily for iaido, it should be light, yet not too
light.  You're not swinging a bokuto, a sword has some substance to it!

12e.  Are there special concerns for iaido?

Yes.  A moderate curvature seems best in that it is easier to draw and
sheath.  An extremely straight sword forces the iaido practioner to over
stretch when drawing the blade.  A sword with extreme curvature
(mostly older tachi blades in katana mounts) is likewise awkward to
draw.  A medium point (chu-kissaki) is easier to sheath; less likely to
cause cuts to either the practioner or the saya.  Blades with long points
(o-kissaki) are more likely to cut the user when being drawn or sheathed
and may also cut and damage the saya mouth.  The ultra small point
(ko-kissaki) is normally associated with the tachi blade.  A katana blade
with a ko-kissaki may very well have had its point broken and reshaped.

The design of the temperline is not critical to the function of the sword. 

A moderate to long tsuka is easier to control and offers much better
leverage for cutting.  However, be sure the tang of the blade runs
practically the full length of the tsuka.  Long tsuka hiding short tangs
are dangerous in that the strain on the tsuka without the underlying tang
is extreme as it leads to broken handles (tsuka).

The twisted style ito (handle wrapping) is less likely to loosen and slip
with prolonged use than other styles.  It is critical that the tsuka be
properly fitted, tight on the tang, with tight ito.  If the tang rattles in the
tsuka it is the incorrect tsuka for that blade.  This makes it impossible to
properly fit the mekugi (peg) which secures the blade.  The mekugi is
more likely to break in a poorly fitted tsuka, which is very dangerous to
the practisioner, his fellows and the blade.

A properly fitted wooden saya is easier to draw from and much easier to
sheath the blade into.  Poorly fitting saya are noisy, rattle and more
easily trap dirt which may damage the blade.  Also the blade may just
plain fall out of a poorly fitted saya.  The metal gunto saya of the
Russo-Japanese War period or WW II period nearly always have brass
or other metal throats - these will damage the blade as sooner or later
most everyone "drags" the edge on the saya mouth. It the saya mouth is
metal, the edge will be damaged or ruined.

Please don't use a high quality old blade - accidents may happen, and
damage to ha (cutting edge) is not repairable - only more material can
removed to smooth out the chip contour.

A wide-groove (bo-hi) in the flat sides of blade (shinogi-ji) is not a
blood groove.  It serves to lighten the blade, providing a more lively
feel.  It also has the side effect of making a loud "hiss" when the sword
is swung straight (back of blade (mune) in line with the ha).  If the
sword is swung tilted, it will not "hiss".  A blade with bo-hi is often
desireable for this reason - you and everyone else will know if the sword
was swung true.

Swords for iaido (iai-to) are modern day replica swords, the blade is
made of soft metal that cannot be sharpened.  These are recommended
for beginning iaidoka.

13. Bibliography


This is Kendo
Junzo Sasamori & Gordon Warner
Publisher: Charles E. Tuttle Company
ISBN 0-8048-0574
Summary:   The standard english language text.  Covers history,
           basic technique and terminology.  Kata are not covered. 
           Pretty much the only choice easily found in english, but
           very good even so.  Sasamori was judan (yup, that's
           pretty good).

Fundamental Kendo
Compiled by All Japan Kendo Federation
Publisher: Japan Publications, Inc. 
ISBN 0 87040 226 9
Summary:   Describes many different techniques, all shown with
           sequential photography.  Also desribes how to take care
           of your equipment, different training methods and a
           very good kata description with a lot of pictures. 
           Unfortunately out of print (first published in 1973): if
           you find it somewhere, buy it.

Looking At A Far Mountain:  A Study of Kendo Kata
Paul Budden
Publisher: Ward Lock
ISBN 0-7063-7031-7
Summary:   Good comprehensive overview of ZNKR kendo kata.

Kendo-Lehrbuch des japanischen Schwertkampfes
Kotaro Oshima & Kozo Ando
Publisher: Verlag Weinmann-Berlin
ISBN 3 87892 037 7
Summary:   German language, contains information on technique, 
           equipment etc. There are illustrations for all techniques  
           and also on how to take care of the equipment. If you
           know  german it is a very good book if not you can still
           see a lot  from all the illustrations.


Shinkage-ryu Sword Techniques,
Traditional Japanese Martial Arts Vol. 1
Tadashige Watanabe (trans. Balsom, Ronald)
February 1993: Sugawara Martial Arts Institute, Inc.       20-13 Tadao 3
chome, Machida-shi,       Tokyo, 194 Japan
Distributor:  Kodansha America, Inc.,
ISBN: 0-87040-887-9
Summary:   Covers posture, bowing and kata for beginning and
           intermediate students, mostly through sequential
           photographs.  Unfortunately, the sequences often devote
           many pictures to something simple like retreating or
           advancing and miss key points of the  actual technique. 
           Interesting nonetheless but pricy.

The Sword and the Mind
Hiroaki Sato
Publisher: The Overlook Press
ISBN: 0-87951-256-3
Summary:   Translation of 3 documents pertaining to Yagyu family
           kenjutsu (shinkage-ryu), the Heiho Kaden Sho, Fudochi
           Shinmyo Roku and Taia Ki.  Includes reproductions of
           the pages of the Heiho.  Could just as well be in the
           philosophy section, but there is a lot of technique
           described.  Fascinating.

Bokken: Art of the Japanese Sword
Dave Lowry
Publisher: Ohara
ISBN: 0-89750-104-7
Summary:   Another shinkage-ryu book with chapters devoted to the
           history of the use of the bokken, equipment selection,
           basics, striking with the bokken, combination
           techniques, two-person kata, and the seated bo.
           Techniques are generally well-described using
           photographs and text, although some of the advanced
           techniques are difficult to follow.

Japan's Complete Fighting System - Shin Kage Ryu
Robin L. Reilly
Publisher: Charles Tuttle
ISBN: 0-8048-1536-4
Summary:   Another shinkage-ryu book, describes empty-handed and
           weapon techniques, including bo, jo, sword and knife. 
           Only about 50 pages on sword technique, including
           stance basics, basic strikes with a katana, some
           individual exercises, and some solo and two-man kata,
           all demonstrated using shinken.

The Deity and the Sword (three volumes)
Risuke Otake
Publisher:   Minato Research & Trading Co.
             2 0-13 Tadao 3-Chome, Machida-shi,
             Tokyo 194-02 Japan
Distributor: Japan Publications Trading Company
             200 Clearbrook Rd
             Elmsford, NY
             USA 10523
             (914) 592-2077
ISBNs 0-87040-378-8, 0-87040-405-9, 0-87040-406-7

Summary:   Technique and philosophy of Tenshin Shoden Katori
           Shinto Ryu Kenjutsu, in both Japanese and English.

The Art of Japanese Swordsmanship
Charles Daniel
Publisher:  Unique Publications
ISBN 0-86568-148-1
Summary: Unreviewed

Classical Bujutsu 
Donn F. Draeger
Publisher: Weatherhill
ISBN 0-8348-0233
Summary:   Not much technique, interesting history, covers a
           number of bujutsu styles.  Would be better with more
           detail on the ryu, but still recommended.

Samurai Swordsmanship - Vol 1
Dale S. Kirby 
National Paperback Book
Summary: Unreviewed

Naked Blade: A Manual of Samurai Swordsmanship
Toshihiro Obata
Dragon Books
Summary:   Unreviewed, but Obata-sensei is a love-him or hate-him
           kind of guy.  In short articles I've read from him he's
           been interesting, although the endless posturing and
           kendo-bashing is tiresome.


Japanese Swordsmanship
Gordon Warner & Donn F. Draeger
Publisher: Weatherhill
ISBN 0-8348-0146-9
Summary:   The standard English text for ZNKR iaido.  Lots of
           interesting history.  Iaido techniques described in detail,
           many of those details having changed since publication,
           but still useful.

The Way of the Sword
Michael Finn
Publisher: Paladin Press
ISBN 0-9017-6458-2
Summary:   Thin oversize soft cover, with photos of the 10
           techniques of Seitei-Gata ...its a good companion to
           Warner/Draeger book in that in all techniques show the
           "attackers" in the proper positions in the photos, so it
           helps to better visualize the actions required.  Slim on
           background & philosophy.

The Art of Drawing the Sword
Darrell Craig
Publisher: Charles E. Tuttle Company, Inc.
ISBN 0-8048-7023-2
Summary:   Covers Seitei-gata (only 7 - does not include Gammen-
           ate, Soete-tsuki or Shiho-giri, along with Mu-Gai-Ryu's
           eight kata. Many drawings, very few photos. Choose
           Warner/Draeger first.

The Iaido Newsletter
c/o Kim Taylor
Dept. of Animal and Poultry Science
University of Guelph, Ontario
Canada  N1G 2W1.  
Tel (519) 824-4120 ext 6225
Fax (519) 836-9873
Email ktaylor@aps.uoguelph.ca
Summary:   A publication of shared distribution dedicated to arts of
           the Japanese sword: Iaido, Kendo and Ko-ryu Kenjutsu
           (mostly iaido).  Send your stories, comments or
           announcements to Kim Taylor.

Eishin-ryu iaido : manual of traditional Japanese swordsmanship
Nicholas Suino
Publisher: Weatherhill
ISBN 0834803003
Summary:   Unreviewed.  Actually, just released in 1994 so may or
           may not be available as you read this.

Flashing steel : mastering Eishin-ryu swordsmanship
Masayuki Shimabukuro, Leonard Pellman
Publisher: Frog Ltd.
ISBN: 1883319188
Summary:   Unreviewed, available July 1994.


Go Rin No Sho -  
Miyamoto Musashi
Hardcover translation by Victor Harris
Publisher: Overlook Press
ISBN 0-87951-018-8
Softcover translation by Brown, Kashigawa, Barrett and Sasagawa
Publisher: Bantam Books
ISBN 0-553-22509-X
Translation by Thomas Cleary
Publisher: Shambhala Publications
ISBN 0-87773-868-8
Summary:   Philosophy and general combat technique of Musashi,
           Japan's most famous swordsman.  Not much technical
           detail, more from a generalist viewpoint.  Better
           understood after a few years of practice.  Mandatory for
           any martial artist's library.

The Zen Way to the Martial Arts
Taisen Deshimaru
Publisher: Arkana (The Penguin Group)
ISBN 0-14-019344-8
Summary:   Zen as it relates to the martial arts, often specifically
           kendo. Deshimaru is a zen master, content is often
           question and answer with questions from Yuno-sensei,
           kendo hachidan. Some sections are a little too "zen will
           fix your mama's corns" for my tastes but overall,

Zen and Confucius in the art of swordsmanship :
 The Tengu-geijutsu-ron of Chozan Shissai
Kammer, Reinhard; translated by Betty J. Fitzgerald
Publisher: Routledge & K. Paul
Summary: Unreviewed

Zen & The Way of the Sword
(Arming the Samurai Psyche)
Winston L. King  - 265 pages, hardback, publ. 1993
Oxford University Press
ISBN 0-19-506810-6 
Summary:   Run, don't walk, *away* from this book.  A mishmash
           compilation of some Zen, some history (1100-1980s),
           some parts of how Japanese sword mfg'd.  Author
           surveyed a wide variety of texts & patched together a


Hagakure -  
Yamamoto Tsunetomo 
Publisher: Kodansha 
ISBN 4-7700-1106-7 
Summary:   The author was a minor samurai after the time of
           Musashi. The book is a collection of sayings and stories
           about his clan & times along with some thoughts about
           what it means to be a samurai.  More a strong taste of
           the times than deep philosophy.

Lives of the Master Swordsmen 
Sugawara, Makoto; edited by Burritt Sabin.
Publisher: The East Publications, Inc.
Summary:   Includes excellent bibliography on Musashi, plus
           Ittosai's life and the transition of Itto-ryu in the first
           generation.  There is  also material on Yagyu Munenori.


The Samurai Sword A Handbook
John M. Yumoto
Publisher: Charles E. Tuttle Company Inc.
ISBN 0-8048-0509-1
Summary:   The standard text for collectors of antique nihon-to.  A
           little history, discussion on the features and appraisal,
           short section on construction, list of smiths. 

The Craft of the Japanese Sword
Leon and Hiroko Kapp, Yoshindo Yoshihara
Publisher: Kodansha International
ISBN: 0-87011-798-X (US)   4-7700-1298-5 (Japan)
Summary:   Discussion of the techniques currently used to construct
           swords. Step by step through the smithing of the blade,
           the polishing, the scabbard construction and the making
           of the habaki. Highly recommended.

The Japanese Sword
Kanzan Sato
Publisher: Kodansha
ISBN: 4-7700-1055-9
Summary: Unreviewed. 
Judging a Japanese Blade
Yasu Kizu 
Publisher: Hawley Publications   8200 Gould Ave   Hollywood, Ca.
ISBN 0-910704-3-1
Summary:   An informative 18 page pamphlet, including an excellent 
           discussion of flaws & defects with examples and how to
           judge the  cutting quality of a blade by visual inspection.

JSS/US Newsletter
Publisher: JSS/US   P.O. Box 712   Breckinridge, TX   USA 76424
Summary:   Published bi-monthly, this newsletter contains various
           articles pertaining to the collection of Japanese swords. 
           Topics include polishing, maintenance, appraisal,
           overviews of smiths' works, history.  Ads for assorted
           suppliers of swords, sword fittings and services, as well
           as a catalog of numerous books for sale (too numerous
           to list here).  JSS/US also maintains an extensive
           lending library of reference material for members.

14. Organization Contacts

14a. Kendo Federations


Argentine Kendo Federation
Moreno 428, 10 Floor, Apt "I"
Buenos Aires, Argentina


Australian Kendo Renmei
c/o Mr. I. Robotham
77, Greenhill Road, Greensborough
Victoria 3088, Australia


Austrian Kendo Association
Postfach 75
A-1033 Wein Austria


All Belgium Kendo Federation
Mr. Daniel Labas, President
Residence Le Loiret; Rue Mignolet 19 Bt 7
Tel +32-71-32 19 25


All Brazil Kendo Federation
Rua Valerio De Carvalho
63-Pinheiros Cep 05422
Sao Paula, Brazil
Tel 211-1083-1109


British Kendo Federation
31 Woodstock Rise
Sutton, Surrey
Tel 44-1-644-1369 (John Howell, Chairman)
    44-1-608-3502 (Charles Weaton, Secretary)
Fax 44-1-644-6150


NOTE:  For a complete list of all Canadian dojos, contact:
Neil Gendzwill

B.C. Kendo Federation
4111 Moncton Street
Richmond, B.C.
Canada V7E 3A8
Fax (604) 275-9866
Canadian Kendo Federation
205 Riviera Drive
Markham, Ontario
L3R 5J8
Tel (416) 445-1481
Fax (416) 445-0519

Ontario Kendo Federation
c/o Mr. Paul Morgan
175 Catharine St. S. Suite #41
Hamilton, Ontario
Canada L8N 2K2
Tel (416) 525-6562 (home)
    (416) 545-1121 ext 379 (work)
Fax (416) 548-5205


Prague Kendo Club
ZA Sokolovnou 440
CS-16500 Praha 6 Suchdol
(Not IKF affiliated)


Danish Kendo Federation
Holmbladsgade 113.3
DK-2300 Copenhagen S., Denmark
(45) 32-96-17-40


European Kendo Federation (EKF)
Mr. Alain Ducarme, President
4, Rue du Busard
Tel +32-2-672 83 42

Mr. Raf Bernaers, Secretary-General
Konig Albertstraat 113
Tel +32-3-771 40 98
Fax +32-3-771 42 01

Mr. Jean-Pierre Raick, Technical Director
11, Place Simon Vollant
Tel +33-20 52 84 79


The Finnish Kendo Federation
c/o The Finnish Judo Association
Radiokatu 20
SF-00240 Jelsinki, Finland
Tel (358-0) 158-2316


Comite National Du Kendo / F.F.J.D.A
43, Rue des Plantes
F-75680 PARIS CEDEX 14
Tel +33-1-45 42 80 90


Deutscher Judobund, sektion Kendo
Mr. Wolfgang Demski, President
Heidenheimer Strasse 24
D-1000 BERLIN 28       <-- These postal codes are wrong.
Corrections, anyone? Tel +49-30-404 66 07
Fax 06131-638522


Hong Kong Kendo Federation
Hing Fat Street
Causeway Bay
P.O. Box 38014 Hong Kong
Fax 852-5-8068449


Hungarion Kendo Union
Magyar Kendo Eqyesules
H-1116 Budapest
XI, BP Fehevari UT 120
(Not IKF affiliated)


Icelandic Kendo Federation
Laugateigur 35
IS-105 Reykhavik, Iceland
(Not IKF affiliated)


Confederzione Italiana Kendo
c/o Mr. R.D. Miglio
Via Trenno 18
I-20151 Milano, Italy


International Kendo federation (IKF)
Mr. I. Sato, Secretary-General
c/o Nippon Budokan
    2-3, Kitanomaru-Koen
    Chiyoda-Ku, J-102 TOKYO-TO
Tel +81-3-3211 5804
Fax +81-3-3211 5807

Zen Nippon Kendo Renmei (ZNKR) (aka All-Japan Kendo Federation)
c/o Nippon Budokan
    2-3, Kitanomaru-Koen
    Chiyoda-Ku, J-102 TOKYO-TO


Korea Kumdo Association
Room #505 88 Olympic Centre
Oryun-Dong, Songpa-Gu
Seoul, Korea
Tel 02-420-4258-9


Malaysia Kendo Federation
22 Jalan Setiajaya
Damansara Heights
50490 Kuala Lampur, Malaysia
Fax 3-717-7354


Mexican Kendo Federation
Xicotencatl No. 243
Col. Del Carmen-Coyoacan
02200 Mexico, D.F.


Nederlandse Kendo Renmei
Mr. Hein Odinot, President
Goudestein 14
Tel +31-10-480 87 95


All New Zealand Kendo Federation
c/o Mr. A. Stephenson
P.O. Box 22-767
Otahuhu, Auckland
New Zealand
Tel 09-592-495
Fax 09-607-599


Norges Kendoforbund
Postboks 2044, Nordnes
N-5024 BERGEN, Norway


Comision Deportiva Nacional de Kendo
Calle 15 No. 210 Dp. 201 Urb. Corpac.
San Isidro, Lima 27
(Not IKF affiliated)


Polish Kendo Committee
c/o Andrzej Kustosz
Ul. Deotymy 5 M.4
Pl-93-267 Lodz
(Not IKF affiliated)


Kendo Clube Portugal
Rua Coelha Da Rocha
66 r/c esq P-1300 Lisboa
Tel 351-1-67-48-38
Fax 01-674-838


Moscow Kendo Federation
c/o Mr. V. Yanushevsky
KV.92 KOR.2 Dom, 91 Prospekt Vernadskogo
11 7526 Moscow
(Not IKF affiliated)


Romanian Kendo Federation
Calea Plevnei 54
Bucuresti-1, Romania
(Not IKF affiliated)


Singapore Kendo Club
163-D Upper East Coast Road
Singapore 1545
Tel 241-7488
Fax 733-7626


Kendo Federation of Southern Africa
38 Knox St., Waverly
Johannesburg, South Africa
(Not IKF affiliated)


Associacion Espanola De Kendo
P.O. Box 1991 E-08080
Barcelona, Spain
Fax 34-3-202-2712


Swedish Budo Federation, Kendosection
Idrottens Hus, Offical Address
S-123 87 FARSTA
Tel. +46-8-605 60 00
Fax. +46-8-604 00 10        


Kendosection Swiss Judo Federation
Mr. Erwin Manser
Am Tych 4 C
Tel +41-62-97 60 40


Republic of China Kendo Association
No. 5, Alley 16, Chi-Chen St.
Taipei, Taiwan R.O.C.
Tel 02-715-1166
Fax 2-715-5779


Kendo Association of Thailand
Department of Physical Education
Ministry of Education
National Stadium Pratumwan
Bangkok, Thailand
(Not IKF affiliated)


NOTE: Unfortunately, politics in the US have created two national
federations.  For a complete list of all U.S. dojos, contact:
Robert Stroud

Beikoku Kendo Renmei (US Kendo Federation)
c/o Jack Dwosh
Suite 3100, 2049 Century Park East
Los Angeles, CA 
USA 90067

Kendo Federation USA
c/o Tim Yuge
25600 Rolling Hills Way
Torrance, CA
USA 90505


Kendo Federation of Belgrade
Bircaninova 48 Yu-11000
Belgrado, Yugoslavia
(Not IKF affiliated)

14b. Sword Clubs

Bosten Token Kai
c/o Rad Smith
Box 26
Newton, MA
USA 02159

Colorado Token Kai
c/o David Lay
Denver, CO
Tel 987-2534

Florida Token Kai
17120 Gulf Blvd.
N. Redington Beach, FL
USA 33708

Houston Token Kai
c/o Paul Goodman
6310 Tam O'Shanter
Houston, TX
USA 77036

Japanese Sword Society of Hawaii
c/o Al Bardi
2333 Kapiolani Blvd., Suite 3011
Honolulu, Hawaii
USA 96826
Tel (808) 941-8010

Japanese Sword Society of the United States
P.O. Box 712
Breckinridge, TX
USA 76424

Metropolian New York Japanese Sword Club
Box 1119 Rockefeller Center Station
New York, NY
USA 10185

New Mexico Token Kai
c/o John Coffman
Box 1232
Edgewood, NM
USA 87015
Tel (505) 281-4049

Northern California Japanese Sword Club
P.O. Box 1397
Lafayette, CA
USA 94549

Rafu Token Kai
#7, 940 E. 2nd St
Los Angeles, CA

Southern California Sword Society
c/o Roger W. Davis
1039 Katella
Laguna Beach, CA
USA 92651

15. Equipment Suppliers
10126, Saint-Laurent Bou.
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
H3L 2N7
Tel 514-387-6978 (800-363-2992)
Mikado Enterprises Ltd.
701 East Hastings Street
Vancouver, B.C.
V6A 1R3
Tel 604-253-7168
Kyoto Tozando
Mukomachi P.O. Box 27
Kyoto 617 Japan
Tel (81) 75-951-5375
Fax (81) 75-951-5376
Bujin Designs
640 Dewey Ave.
Boulder CO
Tel (303) 444-7663

Sophia Bookstore
725 Nelson St
Vancouver, B.C.
Tel (604) 684-4032

Fred Lohman Co. (Japanese Sword parts supply)
3405 NE Broadway
Portland, Oregon
USA 9273
Tel (503) 282-4567
Fax (503) 288-3533

The Kiyota Co. (Bokken, iaito, shinken)
2326 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, Maryland 
USA 21218
Tel (410) 366-8275  
Fax (410) 366-3540

Richard Tonti (Japanese Swords)
P.O. Box 13144
Pittsburgh, PA
USA 15243
Tel (412) 561-6156
Fax (412) 561-1452

Condell & Co., Ltd. (Japanese Swords)
P.O. Box 590115
San Francisco, CA
USA 94159
Tel (415) 751-3784