The purpose of this page is to outline the syllabus for Darwin Kendo Club’s Seven Swords Training Programme, Stage 1: Beginners’ Course.
This syllabus is not intended to provide a comprehensive list of all lessons, concepts, techniques etc.; but rather, to provide members with a handy reminder / notes, particularly for Japanese terminologies.
This document is continually being developed, so please look forward for a more complete version later.
Download: Darwin Kendo Club - 2021 Beginners' Course (Stage 1) Syllabus v2.0.pdf (1,238 KB)
Darwin Kendo Club acknowledges the Larrakia people as the Traditional Owners of the Darwin region.
We pay our respects to the Larrakia elders past and present.
Kendō is considered a full-contact indoor sport, and all members must follow the guideline set by the Northern Territory Government.
We train at the Darwin Squash Centre, therefore we are obligated to follow all the rules of this venue. This includes complying with any COVID-19 safety requirements, such as checking-in using the Territory Check-In App or on paper.
Anytime you feel unwell or in pain, stop what you're doing for a bit, reassess, and decide whether to rejoin or stop. If you have any question, feel free to ask - but if it's going to be a long answer, please allow us to cover it after training.
Your instructors are: Bernard Yehuda (Kendo 4th Dan) and Audrey Looi (Kendo 4th Dan).
Kendō (剣道), meaning the way of the sword, originated in Japan and is based on a mixture of different sword styles and schools dating back hundreds of years. Kendo is a mix of traditional martial art and modern sport - providing an opportunity for character development and improvement through discipline and respect, as well as challenge players through friendly competitions at various levels across many divisions – as individuals or teams.
The concept of Kendō is to discipline the human character
through the application of the principles of the katana (sword).
Kendo senior practitioners wear protective gear (bōgu) designed after the traditional samurai armour, and use bamboo swords (shinai) to practice the strikes. Despite being a full-contact combat sport, techniques in Kendo are very controlled, with a large focus on proper form and elegance in the way we move our body. Kendo is a group sport that emphasises teamwork where members must learn to practise with each other.
Four target areas of Kendo: men (head), kote (forearm), dō (torso), and tsuki (throat) for advanced players.
Kendo allows practitioners to work on self-improvement and discipline, improve their fitness, and participate in the growing local, interstate, and international community of Kendo or fans of martial arts in general; as well as experience a unique aspect of the Japanese culture, woven into our own Australian lifestyle and values. Kendo in Australia is practised by over 1,200 members, growing steadily.
What is NOT Kendo: Kendo is NOT a combat or self-defence art with any application in a real fight situation. The only practical thing you may learn from Kendo would be: 1) stay calm, 2) run away.
For as long as swords had existed, so did the techniques to use them.
The origin of the sword is debatable - but it had gone through many forms. Swords first entered Japan in the form of double-edged straight swords - tsurugi (剣) - similar to the gladius in Ancient Rome. Sword crafting in Japan advanced out of necessity, and due to the use of different types of ores and heating / cooling methods, curved swords were born - the tachi (太刀) and eventually the katana (刀).
Sword techniques or kenjutsu (剣術) evolved throughout the centuries, with hundreds of different styles or schools. During the warring period (Sengoku Jidai), techniques were developed for warfare, fighting against soldiers in armour. However during the more peaceful era (Edo / Tokugawa Jidai), the techniques adapted to be more duel-focused, with no armour. The wooden sword, bokutō (木刀) was used for training; then eventually the bamboo sword, shinai (竹刀) as well as protective armour, bōgu (防具) were developed to minimise injury.
During the Meiji Restoration Era, Japan went through a modernisation period where martial arts were banned, and the samurai caste was abolished. Sword-fighting techniques were considered barbaric and was practically useless. In order to preserve these arts, a group of masters founded an organisation with the intention to blend the old techniques into a modern version that is detached from its original warfare purpose, and make it something that is positive, healthy, fun, and promotes discipline, self-development, and appreciation of the history and culture of the sword.
Kendo, the way of the sword, was eventually born - designed specifically as a hybrid of traditional martial art and modern sport, with its own set of internationally-recognised training methods, rules and regulations, and governing bodies. Kendo is now practised all over the world, with 59 countries and regions affiliated with the international federation.
Read more: http://www.kendo-fik.org/kendo/kendo-history
The Seven Swords Training Programme was initially about training a team of seven men and seven women to compete at the annual Australian Kendo Championships. The programme takes members through three stages:
This is Week 1 of the course, and we train on Wednesdays (6:30pm - 8:00pm) and Sundays (9:00am - 10:30am). Stage 1 will be 10-weeks long. Until Stage 2 commences, training across the christmas / new years break will be free. Members are encouraged to attend as many training sessions as possible.
To enrol, we need you to either register an account on the website, or with us directly (by e-mail or on paper). We will need the following information from you at minimum:
Payment is to be made by the end of Week 2 (Sunday 24 October 2021), as we will need to order your equipment (uniform and swords). Until then, you will be using club equipment.
The course fee of $250 will give you:
Until you have your uniform, please wear comfortable exercise clothes. Do not wear pants that cover beyond your ankles.
If you have any question about the course, or any concern about payment, please let us know, and we'd be happy to work something out.
Etiquette (reiho): As a traditional martial art, there are appropriate conducts or procedures that practitioners must pay attention to during training.
Warm-up: After the initial kneeling bow, we usually warm-up as a group. This includes counting in Japanese:
Holding the sword:
Vocalisation (kakegoe), or usually referred to as kiai, is vocalising as part of your actions. This allows better focus and to relax your body better. For example:
Title: NHK Sports Japan — Kendo / Nito
Uploaded by: KendoWorld (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuEFJrxMVIzIix3QVD5mkUA)
Published: 12 March 2015
Source: An episode from the “Sports Japan” series produced by NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation), in collaboration with the KendoWorld team, originally aired in November 2014.
Comment: This episode provides an introduction to Kendo, with Alex Bennett (Kendo Kyoshi 7th Dan) as the spokesperson. Alex is a Kiwi (New Zealand chump) who is currently working as a professor of Japanese history and culture at Kansai University in Japan, and has had significant impact in the development and expansion of the international Kendo community. He is the founder of Kendo World, a group that publishes Kendo magazines and content in English. He tries to look angry in all his photos but he’s actually a big softie.