New Members

Folks new to kendo, or who practiced in the past and want to start again, are encouraged to sign up for one of a kendo fundamentals class at any of our dojo locations. Just see the schedule/program guide for that location. Please email us at with any questions. For the first two semesters of the fundamentals class, you are not expected to become a member of the Washinkan Dojo, your enrollment in the community center program will suffice. Once you move beyond the fundamentals class it is expected you will become a full member of the group. Membership is Washinkan provides through membership into our regional federation (GNEUSKF) and the national federation (AUSKF) and all the rights and privileges those afford.

What to Expect

For those brand new to kendo, your first semester or two will be in the kendo fundamentals class where you will learn basic footwork, how to hold the shinai, how to swing the shinai, basic waza (cutting technique). Much of the class will be spent NOT striking an opponent and at no point should you expect to be struck. Therefore, the bogu, or protective gear, is not required for kendo fundamentals. Class is also conducted utilizing Japanese terms and counting. Here is a link to some material to get you more accustomed to what will be spoken in class. Note, this is not an exhaustive list.

For those returning to kendo after an extended break, it's best to speak with a sensei as to how to re-join.

What you Need

For the fundamentals classes, bokken are provided to beginners for use in class. So all you need is athletic clothing and a bottle of water for your first few classes. Kendo, as with many martial arts, is performed in bare feet. You are highly encouraged to purchase a shinai (practice sword) sized for you as soon as you can as it allows you a greater breadth of opportunity in class and allows you to practice outside of class. Though many different types and prices of shinai are available, for a beginner, a shinai labeled "practice shinai" is sufficient. See the links below, under equipment vendors, for sites we recommend. For your conveyance a sizing chart is listed below. 

When do I purchase my first bogu (armor):

You should consider purchasing your first bogu set after: a) you finished the first beginner kendo semester, b) you've joined the Washinkan dojo. After this students should approach their sensei and discuss purchasing their first bogu. Bogu purchase is a big step in your kendo journey and is a big investment in yourself. Many variables go into deciding which set to purchase. Most notably is price, but also important is how long you expect to keep your first set. Your sensei will work with you to determine the right beginner set for you.

Useful Links

Equipment Vendors:


Mazkiya USA


AOI Budogu

Equipment Maintenance:

How to maintain your Shinai

Bogu Information


AUSKF - All United States Kendo Federation:

GNEUSKF - Greater Northeastern Kendo Federation: