CHUO KENDO DOJO - Los Angeles, California - USA - The Traditional Art of Samurai Fencing. Chuo Kendo Dojo is a member of the All U.S. Kendo Federation and Southern California Kendo Federation.

Kendo Equipment
Kendo Equipment

The Bogu is the protective armor worn by Kendoka during training and tournaments.  The Kendo Bogu consists of the Men (helmet), Do (breastplate), Tare (groin guard) and Kote (gloves).  The Bogu is worn over clothing which is comprised of the Keikogi (shirt) and Hakama (traditional pants).  A traditional Cotton Wrap called the Tenugui is worn under the Men to provide a base for the Men to fit Comfortably.



Bōgu (防具) is specially developed protective armour used in Japanese martial arts, kendo and naginata.

A set of bogu consists of:

  • men ( めん) facemask and shoulder protector (helmet);
  • ( どう): torso protector (breastplate);
  • kote (小手 こて): hand and forearm protectors (gauntlets);
  • tare (垂れ たれ): leg and groin protector (faulds);
  • sune-ate (脛当て すねあて): shin protectors (greaves)(worn only by naginata practitioners).



MEN ( めん) facemask and shoulder protector (helmet);

The men protects the face, neck, and shoulders. It consists of a facemask with several horizontal metal bars running the entire width of the face, from the chin to the top of the head. To this is attached a long rectangular thick cloth padding that curves over the top of the head and extends to cover the shoulders. A throat protector is attached to the bottom of the facemask. The men is held in place with a pair of woven cords that wrap around the head and are tied at the back. The back of the men is left open for ventilation and the back of the head is unprotected. The target areas of the men are the center top, and upper left and right sides for cutting strikes and the center of the throat protector for a thrust.


( どう): torso protector (breastplate);

The main component of the is the gently curving stomach and chest protector. The modern form has a pronounced bulge to help redirect the force of strikes away from the soft areas in the middle of the torso. Lacquered bamboo is traditionally used although lacquered paper "fibre" (frequently misidentified as fiberglass) or molded plastic are used for less expensive . The is supported from the shoulders by two diagonal ties and is restrained at the small of the back with another set of ties. The target areas of the are the two lower sides for a slashing cut to the stomach. The top half of the is a valid target for a thrust in naginata. In the kendo past, this was also a valid target for a thrust, but is no longer a permitted target.


KOTE (小手 こて): hand and forearm protectors (gauntlets);

The kote are mitten-like gloves. They were designed expressly for kendo. While appearing to be cumbersome, enough mobility is allowed to grip the shinai in a comfortable, powerful, and firm way. Kote for [[naginata]] users have a singulated index finger and thumb to better facilitate the rapid shifting of the hands along the length of the naginata's shaft. Naginata kote have a little less padding than those used for kendo. In the past kote were often made with fully articulated fingers. This is rarely seen today as there can be a safety issue with snagged fingers. A special heavily padded design known as oni-gote (鬼小手おにごて) are used by some koryu, most notably Itto-ry. The target area is the wrist portion of each kote.


TARE (垂れ たれ): leg and groin protector (faulds);

The tare is a thick cloth belt that wraps around the waist and ties under the front flap in front of the groin. Sturdy cloth covered flaps hang from the belt to protect the upper legs and groin. The flaps run along half of the belt's length, which should be positioned over the front half of the body. The center flap is usually covered with a name tag (zekken (ゼッケン), or nafuda (名札 なふだ) that identifies the name of the wearer and the dojo or country they represent. There is no target point on tare, it is for protection against off-target and accidental strikes.


KEIKOGI & HAKAMA (稽古衣   ) practice uniform;

Hakama () are a type of traditional Japanese clothing. They were originally worn only by men, but today they are worn by both men and women. Hakama are tied at the waist and fall approximately to the ankles. Hakama are worn over a Kimono (Hakamashita).

There are two types of hakama, divided (umanori 馬乗り, "horse-riding" hakama) and undivided (andon bakama 行灯袴). The umanori type have divided legs, similar to trousers. Both these types appear similar. A "mountain" or "field" type of umanori hakama was traditionally worn by field or forest workers. They are looser in the waist and narrower in the leg.

Hakama are secured by four straps (himo); two longer himo attached on either side of the front of the garment, and two shorter himo attached on either side of the rear. The rear of the garment has a rigid board-like section, called koshi-ita (腰板), below that is a hakama-dome (袴止め) (a spoon shaped component sometimes referred to as a hera) which is tucked into the obi or himo at the rear, and helps to keep the hakama in place.

Hakama have seven deep pleats, two on the back and five on the front. The pleats are said to represent the seven virtues of bushido, considered essential the samurai way. Although they appear balanced, the arrangement of the front pleats, (three to the right, two to the left) is asymmetrical, and as such is an interesting example of asymmetry in Japanese aesthetics.

Keikogi (稽古着 or 稽古衣) or dōgi (道着) is a uniform for training, used in martial arts derived from Japan, or budo. (keiko means practice, gi means dress or clothes). In english, the term keikogi is sometimes referred to simply as the gi, which would be an incorrect use of the word in Japanese. Often keiko is replaced with the name of the Japanese Martial Art being practiced.


SHINAI  (竹刀 しない) practice sword;

Shinai (竹刀 しない) is a weapon used for practice and competition in kendo and are meant to represent a Japanese sword. Shinai are also used in other martial arts, but may be styled differently from kendo shinai, and represented with different characters.

The word "shinai" is derived from the verb shinau (撓う しなう), meaning "to bend, to flex", and was originally short for shinai-take (flexible bamboo). Shinai is written with the kanji 竹刀, meaning "bamboo sword", and is an irregular kanji reading.

In kendo, the majority of students use one shinai. This kendo style has its roots in the tradition of the ittō (一刀 いっとう), or one-sword school. However, some kendoka choose to use two shinai, called ni-tō (二刀 にとう), a style that has its roots in the two-sword schools of swordsmanship. A ni-to combatant uses a long shinai called the daitō (大刀 だいとう), which usually held in the left hand, and a shorter shinai, called the shōtō (小刀 しょうとう), which is usually held in the right hand.

The origin of the shinai can be found in the Edo period. The shinai was developed when a group of swordsmen, in an effort to reduce the number of practitioners being seriously injured during practice, undertook to create a practice weapon that was less dangerous than bokuto (木刀 ぼくとう), the hard wooden swords they were previously using. This is also the motivation behind the development of bogu (防具 ぼうぐ), the armour that protects the kendoka.

The ancestor of the modern kendo shinai is the fukuro-shinai (袋竹刀 ふくろしない), which is still in use in koryu kenjitzu. This is a length of bamboo, split multiple times on one end, and covered by a leather sleeve. This explains the name fukuro, which means bag, sack or pouch. Sometimes the more old and rare kanji tō (韜) is used, but has the same meaning as fukuro.

Some schools cover the entire bamboo in the sleeve and add a tsuba, like Kashima Shinden Jikishinkage-ryu does. In Shinkage-ryu, the sleeve is laxquered Kamakura Red, and rather than covering the entire length, is tied off at the non-split end. This particular kind of fukuro-shinai is also called a hikihada (蟇肌 ひきはだ), or toad-skin shinai. The name comes from how the leather looks after lacquering; the sleeves are actually made of cow- or horse-hide.


TSUBA  (鍔) sword guard;

The tsuba is usually a round or occasionally squarish guard at the end of the grip of bladed Japanese weapons, like the katana and its various declinations (tachi, wakizashi etc.), tanto or naginata. They contribute to the control of the arm (the right index of the fighter typically touches the tsuba), and to the protection of the hand. The tsuba was mostly meant to be used to prevent the hand from sliding onto the blade during thrusts as opposed to protecting from an opponent's blade. The chudan no kamae guard is determined by the tsuba and the curvature of the blade. The diameter of the average katana tsuba is 7.5 cm - 8 cm (2.953 inches - 3.15 inches), wakizashi tsuba is 6.2 cm - 6.6 cm (2.441 inches - 2.598 inches), and tanto tsuba is 4.5 cm - 6 cm (1.772 inches - 2.362 inches)

For the Shinai, typically Leather or Plastic Tsuba are used which are slid onto the shinai and held in place by a rubber keeper.