Kendo is the Way of the Sword, literally, and a relatively modern martial art developed in Japan. It is an art of sword-fighting based on Japanese swordsmanship and is both physically and mentally challenging. Though its earliest roots are in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, it is founded most recently in the late 18th century. By using practice swords and armor, strikes and thrusts could be performed at actual force, but without causing injury.
Safety in training is what defined the modern version of this art originally belonging to the ancient Samurai governments. On the spiritual side of things, the practitioner must keep his mind from being moved by anger, fear, surprise and even doubt. This concept is borrowed from and among other martial arts.
Kendo got its name officially in 1920, was banned in 1946, and resurfaced in training facilities by 1952. The banning was due to militaristic control. In fact, the art was trained to military personnel during the wartime in Japan. The student wears armor and uses one, sometimes two swords. The shinai represents the Japanese Katana, but is made of bamboo held together with leather. Another form of sword is a hard and wooden. Strikes are made with both one edge and the tip of the shinai. The look and feel of the blade and the strikes and footwork of the artists make it quite different from other worldwide forms of sword fighting, like fencing.
The armor protects the head, arms, and body of the practitioner. The helmet is styled with a metallic grille in the front, a thick combination of fabric and leather to cover the neck and throat and even more padding over the sides of the neck and down on to the shoulders. It looks more like an over-sized hood than a helmet. The hand, wrist, and forearm gets protection by long, padded, thick gloves. Across the torso is a breastplate. The waist and groin is protected by three vertical flaps of thick fabric. Underneath the armor, a jacket and a very wide-leg pair of pants. A towel, usually of cotton, is wrapped around the head under the helmet. This is similar to a sweatband and collects perspiration and gives the helmet a place to rest comfortably.