Does Kendo Teach Katana?

To learn how to fight with a katana, most people suggest Kendo. However, that is not really sword combat in the traditional sense. So, does Kendo teach katana?

Kendo does not use the metal sword known as a katana and instead is most often practiced with bamboo swords known as a shinai. But Kendo is descended from Kenjutsu, which did use a katana. The shinai is similar but made of bamboo for safety reasons.

Kenjutsu, which means ‘the Art of the Sword’ in Japanese, is most likely what you are looking for. Kenjutsu includes both sword-fighting and sword-drawing, which are two distinct skills and sports.

The techniques taught in Kendo can develop your character, which will help you in training with a katana.

Keep reading to find out how Kendo can teach katana.

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Is Kendo good for sword fighting?

Yes, Kendo is good for sword fighting. With Kendo, you can improve your speed, agility, timing, and footwork. You will also work on genuine target locations, which include the hands, wrists, head, body, and in more advanced fights, throat punches. These areas are all primary targets in most sword fights.

The great majority of attacks in Kendo contests are directed at the head and forearm. That talent would undoubtedly translate to actual sword combat. You can use the discipline you learn from Kendo to master your sword fighting.

In situations where you want to take your skills to the next level, you can combine your Kendo training with a more traditional Kenjutsu system or a HEMA school.

These martial arts will teach you cutting techniques and properly handling a live blade in a real-life scenario.

These styles are more concerned with combat tactics than with sports. Historical recreations like HEMA and Kenjutsu still have flaws because live practitioners have never fought in actual combat. As a result, we can only guess which style is the most successful through sparring.

If you want to learn how to fight with a katana and spar, Kendo is only one viable option.

Despite how good Kendo is for sword fighting, some practitioners complain that using a bamboo sword just doesn’t cut it.

But does Kendo only use “fake” swords? 

Luckily in a recent article, I break down all there is to know about Kendo and when (or if) they ever use real swords.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Is doing Kendo with a katana considered fighting?

Doing Kendo with a real katana could be considered fighting. But to begin with, Kendo is usually not done with a katana.

A fake sword made from bamboo, known as a shinai, is used. This is because they are safer and won’t cause injuries to the participants.

But some Kendoka use a katana, because historically, Kendo was sword fighting.

But it is still not referred to as fighting. What can be seen most times at the dojo is sparring. However, there are a few schools that teach Kendo with application to fighting.

Kendo is a sports variant of sword combat that is comparable to Western fencing, where simply touching your opponent counts as a strike. Most of the purpose of Kendo is centered around building human character and self-discipline.

Can Kendo be self-taught?

While Japanese sword techniques like Kendo, Kenjutsu, and Iaido may be taught and mastered by yourself at home, you may not be able to achieve your full potential by training on your own without a seasoned instructor or sparring partner.

It is usually a good idea to identify a dojo close to you that you can visit at least once or twice a month for corrections to your at-home training.

No matter how devoted you are to teaching yourself Kendo, you will make some mistakes that need to be corrected. And errors in Kendo techniques that are not fixed on time will be difficult to correct later on, which would significantly affect your success in Kendo.

If you want to train Kendo by yourself, it will take longer to master it. Adults typically take three to four years to get their sho-dan, while some people with prior martial arts training may take as little as two.

Each subsequent rank demands the same amount of time spent training in your current rank as the rank you are testing for.

Also, if you want to learn how to fight with a katana and you actually want to spar, I will advise you to sign up at a dojo. If you don’t care about sparring, then you can consider learning by yourself.

Kendo is quite a difficult martial art discipline to learn by yourself, much less master. Although, there are instructional videos and classes that you can sign up for that will teach you the basics of Kendo without going to the dojo.

Generally, learning Kendo can be easier if you learn from an experienced Kendoka. 

In a recent article I published, I talked about if Kendo is easy to learn or not. You can check it out. What really surprised me was how unusual their belt progression is.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

What is the best sword fighting style?

Kenjutsu is the overall best sword fighting martial art. That is because not only are real swords used, but it is the most realistic style and the most similar to an actual sword fight.

But Kendo, Iaido, Iaijutsu, and Jodo are all top sword fighting styles.

Each of these styles of sword fighting has its unique trait and characteristics. Although they still have certain similarities, like the weapon used and some of the body movements and techniques.

Compared to Kendo, Kenjutsu relates to actual warfare using live swords, while Kendo usually consists of practice with shinai, a wooden sword.

If you want to know what the best sword fighting technique is, there is no definite answer to that question.

Each of these fighting styles has their own advantages, and they help you maximize different areas of your body. For someone looking to be an experienced swordsman, there should not be a limit to what styles of swordsmanship you’re willing to learn.

However, while there is no best style of sword fighting, Kendo is a great starting point; it makes learning the other styles easier.

Can I buy a real katana?

Yes, you can buy a real Katana. Real katana swords are permitted in almost every country. In most cases, owning a samurai sword does not necessitate a special license or authorization.

Check out this one from Amazon!

If you want to buy a real katana, you should be able to identify one. There are usually many fake katanas or replicas scattered around.

High-carbon and low-carbon Japanese steel are used to make authentic katana swords. High-carbon steel is very hard, providing for a razor-sharp edge.

Low-carbon, on the other hand, is robust and resistant, allowing for stress absorption. A sword composed of only one type of steel would be ineffective, which is why authentic battle-ready katana swords have both types of steel.

Purists believe that real katana swords should be handcrafted in Japan by a skilled craftsman, with a genuine Hamon temper line to prove it.

In addition, the sword should be razor-sharp, well-balanced, and painstakingly finished. Not only that but the sword should also be made of steel, not stainless steel. It should also have a mekuki, or peg that secures the blade to the handle and a beautiful polish.

Of course, none of these matters if you are buying the katana from a stranger over the internet. That is why it is critical to buy from a reputable provider and not take any chances. Given the high cost of real katana swords, you may want to consider purchasing one in Japan.

A real katana may cost between $4,000 to $10,000. If you cannot afford that, you can still get a variant of the real katana, which costs between $100 to $300.

Personally, I think this one from Amazon is fantastic!

It’s handmade in Japan from Damascus steel, comes razor-sharp, and is ready for your next adventure. Almost 100 reviews and most are 5-stars with glowing comments. All at a price that won’t break the bank.

CLICK HERE to see the current price on Amazon.


In conclusion, Kendo which means “the way of the sword” in Japanese, is an excellent martial art to start with if you want to learn how to use a katana.

When it comes to Kendo, you have to put all aspirations of mastery aside and concentrate instead on realizing your full potential, whatever degree of expertise that may entail.

I understand that you might also be curious about the difference between Kendo and Kumdo. 

In a recent article, I wrote about the major differences between them. After all, the names are similar, and both practice with swords. But there’s one key difference.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Image by WikiImages from Pixabay

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