The Grades

In Kendo, grades are not visible with belts, like in Judo. One can estimate the level of a kendoka with his – her attitude.
Grades are from 6th Kyu to 1st Kyu (the exam for these grades is possible from the 1st year) them from 1st Dan (equivalent to a black belt) to 8th Dan.



The Bokuto or Bokken : wooden sabre having a form reminding katanas. Used for prating without an armour (Katas, Suburis…), the partner won’t be touched.

Bokken et Shinai

The Shinai : bamboo sabre allowing strikes on an armour or on the partner’s shinai.

The outfit

Tenue et armure de kendoThe outfit consists of a kendogi (or Keiko gi) and a hakama. The traditional colour is indigo but the jacket can be white. The hakama can also be white or black, white being often used by children and women.

The armour

The armour is composed of :

  • The Men : helmet protecting the head, throat and shoulders.
  • The Dô : breast plate protecting chest, abdomen and ribs.
  • The Kotes : mittens protecting the hands and forearms.
  • The Tare : protecting hips and top of the legs.

If you would like to know what equipment is necessary to begin the practice, you will find all the information you need on this page.


If you are looking for the meaning of a word related to Kendo, you might find it in this lexicon created by Jean-François RAUCH and Georges BRESSET.