Kendo, iaido and tankendo can seem very exciting but also confusing! We aim to give the basic, necessary information regarding these martial arts (budo) that we practice at Hamachidori. If there's anything we didn't answer here which you'd love to know more about, please don't hesitate to message us on Instagram or Facebook, or drop us an email at email@example.com!
Want a quick overview of the three martial arts(budo) that we do? Watch our video in Japan Expo here. We also recommend the following videos for a great introduction on the budo:
1. How do I sign up to join Hamachidori Kendo Dojo? You can register for an introduction class on the website at https://www.hamachidori-kendo.com/ or contact us on: Facebook / Instagram. Barring any complications, we will send out confirmations/acknowledgments every Friday.
2. How much does it cost per month? And does it cost more if I want to learn more than one martial art (i.e. kendo and iaido)? The monthly fee to become a member of Hamachidori Dojo is MYR50. There are no extra charges if you wish to learn more than one martial art with us, it is a flat MYR50 per month for as many scheduled training sessions you can commit to.
3. How do I pay? The admin will advise on payment once you have attended the free introduction class.
4. Where do I buy the equipment? As there are no physical kendo shops in Malaysia, dojo members buy their equipment online. There are a few kendo/martial arts online shops that we can recommend based on the preferences of our members which are Tozando or All Japan Budogu (Japan) and Kendo Shop (Korea). Both websites are run and managed in English and they ship to Malaysia. 5. What equipment do I need to buy? Below is a list of equipment needed based on each martial art. Buying equipment can be nerve-wracking and confusing for the first time. Here is a simple guide when shopping for equipment :
If you have any uncertainty about getting the equipment/uniform, we highly advise checking with our sensei or any of the seniors first, before buying anything.
Starting kendo: We generally advise those starting to buy the shinai (bamboo sword), and maybe the kendo-gi (top) and hakama (bottom) only in the beginning. While you're getting your equipment, you may use the dojo's (please ensure to sanitise hands before using) so please prioritise getting your shinai at the very least, as we will stop bringing the club equipment after a month from your starting. You should also get a carry bag for the shinai as you don't want to carry it around uncovered. You can buy the bag from any of the shops below or even make your own!
Options are as below (the links provided were relevant at the time of posting this FAQ; we do not bear responsibility if these shops change/update their website/stocks):
Option 1: Zen Nihon Budogu/All Japan Budogu (Japan): https://zennihonbudogu.com/beginners-pack/ or https://zennihonbudogu.com/kendo-shinai/
Option 2: Tozando (Japan): https://tozandoshop.com/collections/kendo/products/kihon-standard-furnished-shinai?variant=34134461612165 Option 3: Kendoshop (Korean): https://kendoshop.com/Product/Category/list/cid/26
-If you're above 18 years old, make sure to get an adult sized shinai which is a 39.
-Make sure that under "Fittings/Accessories" that you choose to add the option of "Add Tsuba/Tsubadome" where necessary. The tsuba (hilt) is the round plastic guard for the shinai and tsubadome is the rubber stopper for the tsuba (hilt). For example, Kendoshop has a basic shinai model, Musim, that already comes with a tsuba and tsubadome. Other sites may require you to select with or without the tsuba/tsubadome when placing the order.
** Shinai for women - Any size that has an "Ladies" or "L" in it, are for women.
Note that some shinai models for women are at 38 and do not carry size 39.
Kendo-Gi/keiko-gi is what you call the top part of your uniform. Hakama is the bottom part. Sizes for Kendo-gi/keiko-gi and hakama usually follows your height. So choose the right height given by the manufacturer's sizing chart.
Please choose blue/navy (this is the standard colour for kendo; black is for iaido).
Option 1: Zen Nihon Budogu/All Japan Budogu: https://zennihonbudogu.com/kendo-uniform/
Option 2: Tozando: https://tozandoshop.com/collections/kendo-uniforms Option 3: Kendoshop: https://kendoshop.com/Product/Category/list/cid/23
Armor : If you're really keen on kendo, you will eventually need to get armour or bogu, as it's called. This is usually within the first 6 to 9 months, or even beyond, depending on how enthusiastic you are and your progress.
The options you have for the bogu are as below, although we are happy to give feedback/advise if you're unsure:
The bogu consists of:
The men (head protector), dō (chest protector), tare (hip protector) and a set of kote (hand protector). Please ensure that your set comes with the Himo (strings) attached for your men, dō, and kote
Nafuda (also known as a zekken - please confirm the script on your nafuda with the dojo sensei/admin before buying)
Tenugui (head cloth)
A bokken or bokuto which is a wooden sword. We recommend you get the standard white oak version. Please ensure that the bokuto you purchase is for kendo. Like with the shinai, make sure you bokuto comes with a tsuba and tsubadome.
Bogu bag - optional but useful to have.
Equipment : The tan-shinai (short sword/bayonet) which is a 53cm short bamboo sword is used in the practise of tankendo. You will also need to acquire a wooden tanken or kodachi (short wooden sword for kata) for tankendo kata practise.
Uniform : The tankendo uniform (gi/hakama) is flexible; you can wear the same style as a kendo-gi and hakama, or you can use a gi that is specific for tankendo (which is also used for jukendo), sold by Tozando.
Armor : The armor for tankendo is the same as the one kendo uses. Alternatively, you can purchase one for jukendo and add a pair of kendo kote. Additionally, you will need to obtain an urabuton (Inner padded vest) for tankendo. This is worn under the armor.
All tankendo uniform, tan-shinai, urabuton, armor and equipment are available at Tozando.
Iaito: To start, you will need to get your own bokuto/bokken (wooden sword at 101.5cm), plastic saya (sheath for the bokuto), sageo (the tie for the sheath), an obi (a 3 to 4m thick cotton "belt"). For the first couple of weeks you can borrow the club’s bokuto, saya, sageo & obi but you’ll need to get the above as soon as possible so you can learn iaido more comfortably.
Uniform: For the uniform, you will need a set of black gi (top) and hakama (bottom) as well as the obi mentioned earlier. All this can be found here (there is also a complete set for beginners).
Tozando is the online shop you can get everything from; on this page you can find almost everything you need to begin iaido.
6. What happens during the introduction class?
You will get to experience how kendo, tankendo or iaido practice is like and given the opportunity to ask your sensei and practicing members questions about the martial arts.
If you decide you want to sign up and become a regular member, please inform the dojo admin on site and they will guide you from there.
7. What happens during a standard practice session?
A standard practice session generally lasts for 1.5-2 hours. Each session consist of warm-up, basic suburi (swings), basic drills on techniques and free sparring. In between there are a few water breaks. (In light of the current COVID-19 situation, the schedule depends on government-mandated SOP for sports)
8. What preparation do we need to do before training?
Please ensure that you are well rested, you’ve have had enough to eat and are well hydrated. Please bring your own bottle of water for practice to stay hydrated throughout.
9. Where is the dojo located and what are the facilities available at PAUM where the dojo is located?
The dojo is based in Rumah Kelab PAUM/PAUM Clubhouse. Directions can be found here. There are changing and toilet facilities as well as a free car park.
10. Is there a grading system and how does it work? Grading/taking the examinations will be your own personal choice and is not mandatory/required to continue practicing/learning at Hamachidori. All practitioners start off with no grade and work their way from 10th kyu (lowest) to 1st kyu (kyu is the pre-black belt level), and then onto 1 Dan upwards to 8 Dan (applicable for kendo in Malaysia. For tankendo and iaido, please discuss with your instructors). Your sensei will advise on grading curriculum as they take place, as the curriculum is subject to change. There is a fee to grade which will also be advised prior to each grading.