apex header sm

 

 

Kendo Club

How to get started in Kendo at Karate International of Apex

Mr. Rob Olevsky is the chief instructor of our Kendo programs at Karate International locations.  He travels throughout the United States participating in the events of the Southeastern United States Kendo Federation.  Our students are members of the US Kendo Federation through SEUSKF.  Mr. Olevsky holds the rank of 4th Degree Black Belt in Kendo and he oversees all of our Kendo clubs.  Mr. Wade Houston is the Kendo instructor in the Apex location.  The Kendo classes at the Raleigh and the Apex locations combine to make up the North Raleigh Kendo Club.

Is there anything in particular I need to bring for my first time?
Most new Kendo students start by coming in to try a class through our introductory program.  The cost of the intro program is $29.50 and it includes a student uniform and three trial classes.  In the first class you would will do a little bit of practice with the beginner students and will get the opportunity to watch the more advanced students.  

Can I start at any time, or is there a set time or day for beginner level classes?
Classes for beginners are available 3 days per week.  The beginners are all taught as part of the class.  You will be grouped together by skill level.  We start beginners by having them come in 15 minutes prior to class time to do a brief orientation.  In order to set your first class, all you have to do is click on the link below.

Click here to set your first appointment or to request more information. Be sure to put Kendo in the Comments.

Does Karate International have facilities for changing clothes?
We have nice locker rooms with plenty of room to change clothes and get ready for class.

What can I expect from the beginner level classes?
Beginner students will participate in some simple stepping instruction and learning to hold a wooden or bamboo practice sword.  Some drill type work will be offered to you in the first class, along with a bit of watching.

What are the costs involved in practicing Kendo?
First of all, you can begin Kendo by taking a the $29.50 orientation program.  After that, the costs of attending the class are varied by your choices. Our program manager will be happy to give you all the cost information when you come in for the first time.


In addition to the membership fees, there is a more advanced uniform which you would want anytime after the first class, but probably at least within a month or so.  The 2 piece uniform is about $100.  We carry those in stock, so you can be sized properly.  You will also need a Bamboo Shinai and a wooden practice sword (bokken).  We have some of both to loan if you don't have them for the first class.

The real expense in Kendo is the armor.  You won't need that until your instructor tells you, that you are ready for it.  It is usually 4-6 months before you need it.  The armor costs anywhere from $500 to many thousands of dollars depending on how fancy you want to go.  Most buy the beginner set for around $500 including shipping from Japan.

We are located in Apex on Perry Road, right between the Rock and Roll High School and the Academy for Performing Arts Dance School.  Please let us know how we can help you get you, or your son/daughter started in Kendo.

For more information, you can email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 919-303-5695.

 

The History of Kendo

Kendo is Art of Japanese Swordsmanship

Kendo, the art of Japanese swordsmanship, has a long and rich history. Japanese swords were originally not the curved swords we see today but were flat straight swords of a very primitive construction used for thrusts and simple strikes.

The Japanese swords seen today appeared around the year 940, are single-edged, and have a slight curve. Until these two-handed swords were created, battles centered on mounted warriors protected by heavy armor, wielding their swords in their right hands. Around the year 1600, the type of battles changed to foot soldiers wearing light armor and techniques using a sword held with both hands appeared.

This change dates back to the middle of the Heian period (around the year 940) when sophisticated techniques especially designed for the new Japanese sword, now made with a curve and a more complexly constructed blade, began to appear and were tested on the battlefield during a number of civil wars. This was the period when the techniques of Japanese swordsmanship as we know it today began to emerge.

During the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries somewhere around six hundred separate types and styles of swordsmanship were created. Many of these styles have been handed down to this day as classical Japanese martial arts. A logical theory to unify the techniques of each of these schools was created and developed as an important cultural facet of the educational training of the Samurai. This theory of technique, combined with formed bushido (the philosophy of how a Samurai should live and act).

Kendo, the art of Japanese swordsmanship, is a way of life designed to contribute to self-development through training in the guiding principles underlying the art of the sword.
Through rigorous training in Kendo, the student strengthens his or her body and mind, develops a strong spirit, learns to treat people properly, to value truth, to be sincere, to always strive for self-development, love society and country, and contribute to the peace and prosperity of humanity.

Since old-fashioned training with real steel swords and hardwood swords caused so many unnecessary injuries and deaths, harmless bamboo practice swords were created around 1710 developed by Japanese armors and Japanese sword masters. Around 1740, Japanese sword masters and Japanese armors improvised chest and head protectors as well as heavy gloves. As can be imagined, the original bamboo practice swords and protectors were quite primitive and of simple construction. Over the centuries, these were refined by Japanese armors into the attractive and practical Kendo equipment as seen today in Japan.
In modern kendo, there are two types of attacks: strikes and trusts. Strikes are usually allowed to only three points on the body ? the top of the head, the right and left of side bodies, and the forearms. Thrusts are usually permitted only to the throat. Unlike western fencing where the two opponents show each other only their sides, in Kendo the opponents stand face to face and these four striking areas were chosen.
In competitive matches, it is not enough for you bamboo sword to just touch the opponent; points are awarded only when the attacks are done properly to the exact target with good control and a yell, or Kiai. The first person to win two points wins the match.
As of 2000, several million people practice Kendo in Japan, including about 1.2 million who have been awarded a rank-Dan in the art. Kendo enjoyed by about one million practitioners abroad.

Kendo is an important part of Japanese school physical education. There are some extracurricular clubs at the elementary school level. At the junior high school and high school levels, Kendo is practiced as a regular physical education class activity and is an optional extracurricular club activity. Kendo is also a regular physical education course elective at the university level and almost every university in Japan has a Kendo club or team which interested students may choose to join as an extracurricular activity. Recent statistics show an increasing number of women who practice Kendo.
Popular abroad, International Kendo Federation (IKF) has members in 41 countries as of 2000.

The international championships have held once every three years since 1970.

Promotional Examination

To attain rank in Kendo there is a promotional examination. For ranks of 6 Kyu to 2 Kyu the process differs from federation to federation. It may be awarded at the dojo level depending on the regional federation. Other federations formally test for these grades before a promotional board and some have age restrictions for children. For 1 Kyu and above there is a examination before a promotional board.

Generally for the examination up to 7 Dan the examinees will first perform two short keiko (sparring) sessions in front of the examination board. The examinees are normally grouped by age if the pool is large enough. If the examinee passes the keiko sucessfully then they will perform the kata. The written test may be completed before or during the test. This process again varies in each federation.

The International Kendo Federation has established a set of regulations for promotional examination specifing the requirements for each rank. These regulations are then adopted by IKF member federations. Some federations set additional requirements as necessary to meet their standards to promote the growth and quality of Kendo.

IKF Regulations for Promotional Examination

Rank to be examined

Standards of Eligibilty for Examination

6-Rokkyu to 2-Nikyu The examination for kyu shall be determined by each organization.
1-Ikkyu No time period stipulated
Matches, Kata 1-3
Written examination
1-Shodan 3 months or more after receipt of Ikkyu and age 14 or higher.
Matches, Kata 1-5
Written examination
2-Nidan 1 year or more after receipt of Shodan
Matches, Kata 1-7
Written examination
3-Sandan 2 years or more after receipt of Nidan
Matches, Kata 1-7 and kodachi kata 1-3
Written examination
4-Yondan 3 years or more after receipt of Sandan
Matches, Kata 1-7 and kodachi kata 1-3
Written examination
5-Godan 4 years or more after receipt of Yondan
Kata 1-7 and kodachi kata 1-3
Written examination
6-Rokudan 5 years or more after receipt of Godan
Kata 1-7 and kodachi kata 1-3
Written examination & refereeing
7-Nanadan 6 years or more after receipt of Rokudan
Kata 1-7 and kodachi kata 1-3
Written examination & refereeing
Hachi-Dan 10 years or more after receipt of Nanadan and age 46 or higher.
Kata 1-7 and kodachi kata 1-3
Written examination & thesis
IKF Regulations for Examiners for Promotional Examination
Dan examined Examiners Number Criteria
1 Kyu -- -- --
1-Shodan 4-Dan or over

5

Consent of min. of 3 Examiners

2-Nidan 5-Dan or over

5

Consent of min. of 3 Examiners

3-Sandan 5-Dan or over

5

Consent of min. of 3 Examiners

4-Dan 6-Dan or over

7

Consent of min. of 5 Examiners

5-Dan 7-Dan or over

7

Consent of min. of 5 Examiners

6-Dan 7-Dan or over

7

Consent of min. of 5 Examiners

7-Dan 7-Dan or over

7

Consent of min. of 5 Examiners