Is Kendo Hard to Learn?

Many starters often ask the question: is Kendo hard to learn? Well, without mincing words, there are ridiculous difficulties when it comes to learning Kendo.  

While being a “simple” martial art, simplicity is not an easy thing to accomplish with Kendo. We believe Kendo is terribly difficult. However, it is still practicable and has a lot of benefits.  

So, what is Kendo like and how do you get to learn the martial art without dying in the attempt.  

What is Kendo? 

Kendo is a Japanese martial art whose name is composed of two ideograms:剣 (ken: sword) and 道 (do: path, way).  

Kendo is considered the direct heir to different schools of classical Japanese fencing with which the samurai were instructed in the classical art of handling the katana.  

This art was known as kenjutsu, and the martial art we practice today is a sports version that was born from the prohibition of the use of the katana during the Meiji Restoration in Japan (1866 to 1870). 

Kendo promotes values ​​such as the importance of effort, perseverance, respect, and personal improvement. In Japan, it is a complement to the education of children and is considered a perfect way to improve not only as people but also as a key to advance society. 

The purpose of practicing Kendo 

Some of the purposes of practicing Kendo is to: 

  • Shape the mind and body, cultivate a vigorous spirit, and strive to improve in the art of Kendo through correct and rigorous practice. 
  • Appreciate human courtesy and honor, relate to each other sincerely, and always pursue self-development. 

Thus, by practicing, one will be able to: Love his country and society, contribute to the development of culture, promote peace and prosperity among all people. 

How hard is learning Kendo like?  

Kendo is difficult. It has a million details and, although it seems to have a few strokes, the degree of complexity of each movement is enormous.   

Even people who have been training for 50 years or more still have much to improve. Now imagine what it is like to try to improve without someone to supervise you in your daily training?  

Many often give up halfway and you can’t blame them! It is very difficult to continue. Getting a place to train is a FIGHT! Having people training is another, getting equipment is not even mentioned! And not having a sensei will make things even more difficult.  

Not everything goes in Kendo 

Martial arts demand a high degree of respect and sportsmanship from the people who practice them. Although you may think that Kendo is a violent sport for using weapons. Nothing is further from the truth!  

There are very severe restrictions on the areas where you can hit with the saber. You are only allowed to attack the head, forearm, abdomen, and throat. 

Keep in mind that you are fully protected by armor and helmet, so you will not sustain any serious injury. Also, those attacks must be carried out in a specific way to be valid. 

Do you want to start learning Kendo? Here are some tips 

1. Go see a class  

This is the first advice and this is how you can clear most of the doubts you have. Almost all clubs will be happy to let you observe a class.  

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Once you have seen the class, you can get a more or less exact idea of what Kendo is about and if it meets your expectations or not. Some clubs will offer you to try a class without any commitment. This option is excellent because it will allow you to get a first-hand taste of what the next few months have in store in case you finally dare. 

You can observe a class and then try out a training session. Although in principle trying is what gives you the greatest sensations, observing that first session will offer you much more information.  

You will be able to see what the new ones and the veterans do and thus get a somewhat more general idea of ​​what Kendo is. 

2. This is not a manga, an anime, nor a movie  

If you have seen any anime/manga that has to do with Kendo, most likely any resemblance to reality is purely coincidental. So, erase all those ideas from your head if you don’t want to be disappointed. The best thing to know if you are going to like Kendo is that it is better to go see a class. 

3. Is fitness important?  

Short answer: no! Long answer: no, but… Kendo is a discipline that anyone can practice, regardless of their gender, weight, or any other issue you can think of.  

In fact, over the years, we have seen examples of people who initially had major problems. And that has not prevented them from training and progressing. There are some overwhelming examples on YouTube. Also, vision problems don’t pose an impediment. 

Therefore, the physical form is not decisive in Kendo. However, as everything has its relevance, if you want to compete seriously, having a good physical condition is important. It will give you more resistance and allow you to develop more freely. If otherwise, it should not be a concern or something that encourages you not to give Kendo a chance. 

4. Is it expensive learning Kendo?   

Practicing Kendo is an activity that is not excessively expensive. Although it does have a couple of moments in which you have to make a greater outlay of money.  

Roughly, the usual thing will be to pay the fee to the club you have signed up for. But there are two specific moments which can command something expensive. 

The first month can get a bit uphill when it comes to expenses. In addition to paying the club fee, you’ll need to pay for the federation license, a shinai, and the bamboo saber you need to train with.  

It depends on the club or gym where you sign up. It may be a little more expensive or cheaper, but it is a payment that has to be made.  

The good thing is that in the following months, things will normalize and it will only be necessary to pay the club the monthly payment. 

The big payout will come sooner or later, and that’s when you have to buy the bogu, the set of protections used in Kendo. Here we are talking about more money, although the figures can vary a lot. If you want to continue progressing and training it is a payment that you are going to have to make.   

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It would not hurt to save a little each month for the acquisition. In any case, it can take from six months to a year to put on the bogu. So, there is enough time to save and find out if you like the art or not. 

Finally, some clubs have second-hand bogus that they can lend, or sell them, especially to students. These are great options that can be cheaper. In any case, they will be the ones to notify you when you are ready and will inform you of all these details. 

If you make the calculations, the general cost of learning Kendo is not expensive. It will depend on multiple factors, but in general, many other martial arts are more expensive in the long run. 

5. Constancy  

Kendo, like any other activity, requires time and dedication to advance in it. The more you train, the more you progress. Therefore, depending on how much free time you have, it will always be better to train for two days, instead of one, three, instead of two, and so on.  

Not all of us have time. Some clubs only train a day or two a week. It doesn’t matter how many days you get to train in a week. The important thing is that if you are going to do Kendo, you need to attend and try to do your best in each training session.  

Being consistent pays off in almost any activity in life, but in Kendo, it is something that is especially more rewarding. 

6. Enthusiasm and perseverance   

We have put this as the last tip, but it could very well be the first. We would be lying if we said that the first few months in Kendo are going to be easy. They are not!  

You’ll feel clumsy, uncoordinated, your feet will suffer from bruises, and you’ll have blisters. These are not the whole picture. However, things will get better little by little. 

Therefore, a lot of enthusiasm is necessary when you start training. Kendo is a very unique activity and ultimately rewarding. But like all good things, you have to endure the difficulties. That is why it is advisable to be patient and train a lot.  


The bottom line is that Kendo can be difficult but it’s not impossible to learn for those who have enthusiasm, endurance, and can give it time. By following our tips, you can remove some preconceived idea, lose some fear and try to take the leap.  

However, we have to point out that not everyone is made for Kendo. But it is a kind of martial art in which when you develop interest and take the leap, the experience and benefits will be for life. We hope you like it! 


Hi - I'm Jonathan, and I've been passionate about fighting ever since I was a little kid. I did some Karate, Judo, and Kickboxing, and always wanted to try Aikido. I started this site to indulge my passion for Martial arts, answering all the geeky questions I had. Now I want to share all the information I've learned with you guys.

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