Kendo Match Fundamentals

2005 Austin taikaiA kendo match may be an individual competition or a team competition, but the rounds involve two competitors in a "ring," which is actually the shape of a square. In the kendo match, as it exists today, each kendoist tries to strike a certain, predetermined place on the body. It is not enough that the kendoist strike his or her opponent. The strike must be done with correct technique, it must also be done with spirit followed with an alert posture of readiness (zanshin).
2005 Austin taikaiKendo matches consist of scoring two out of three points, within a prescribed time limit, usually three minutes. If the score is even at the end of the allotted time, the referee can rule the match a draw or can call for a sudden death overtime (encho).
Points are allowed for (1) men and yoko-men, the top and either side of the head; (2) do, the right or left side of the torso; (3) kote, wrist; (4) tsuki, throat. The kendoist must call out the name of the point when striking (kiai). During a kendo match, the kendoists also build spirit through their kiai.
2005 Austin taikai
A point is valid when at least two of the three shinpan (judges) raise a flag indicating that one of the competitors has scored. Here are some of the calls you may hear from the shinpan:
chui warning
hajimae begin
hansoku foul
hantei decision
ippon-gachi one point victory
jogai out of bounds
wakare separate in place
hansoku foul, 2 fouls equal a point
men-ari men point for a strike to the top of the head
kote-ari kote point for a strike to wrist
do-ari do point for a strike to the torso
tsuki-ari tsuki pint for a thrust to the throat
nihonme resume play for a second point
shobu resume play for match point
shobu-ari match point
hikiwake draw
hajime begin
yame stop


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