Kendo Shai Glossary

Kendo tells us that Kendo, the “Way Of The Sword” is the traditional Japanese style of fencing that today is a modern martial art practiced throughout the world. As the roots of kendo can be traced to early Samurai time and later on to the studying of Bushido – the “Way of the Samurai” – knowledge of the past is a determining factor to really understand the meaning of Kendo. (Learn More)

Shiai literally means, “to try each other”. In Kendo, Shiai basically means “to try skills, manners, attitudes and spirit learned and acquired in Keiko (practice), with each other in a competitive situation”.

Age-kote: When the kote is held above the pit of the stomach
while executing a strike.
Aiuchi: When both opponents make datotsu simultaneously.
Bassoku: A penalty for an infraction or foul
Bogu: Kendo equipment.
Chudan-no-kamae: The basic ready position with the shinai pointed
at the opponents mid-upper section.
Chuii: A warning. The first chui is without penalty, afterwards
they shall be considered penalties.
Chuken: The third contestant in a team match.
Chusen: A winner selected by lot among the judge(s) or referees.
Chusen gachi, shobu-ari: A winner by lot (draw).
Daihyoshu-sen: Playoff by representatives in a team match.
Do: The torso protector. Can be made of bamboo or other material.
Encho: an overtime or extension round in a match. Used to determine
a winner when no points are scored during the normal match time period.
Fukusho: The fourth contestant in a team match.
Fusei-shinai shiyo: The use of an illegal shinai for a match.
Fusen-gachi: A winner as the result of a “no-show.
Fuho-koi-shobu-arii: A winner resulting from a player’s illegal act.
Gogi: A consultation by the referees. Generally made when a time out is called during a match.
Go-No-Waza (Datotsu): A parry to a valid datotsu made from Tsuba-zeri-ai.
Hajime: The command start a match.
Hakama: The pleated pantaloons or skirt.
Hantei: A decision made by the judge or referee for a winner.
Hantei gachi, shobu-ari: A winner by decision.
Hansoku: A foul play or illegal act. Hansokus are the following:

  • ashi-kake or ashi-barai – tripping or sweeping an opponent off their feet.
  • kosei-o-gaisuru-koi – an illegal act or move.
  • jyogai – stepping outside the court line.
  • oshidashi or tsukidashi – unfair pushing or shoving an
    opponent out of bounds.
  • shinair hanashi – dropping a shinai.
  • tsuba-zeri-ai – stalling at tsuba-zeri-ai without any
    intention of executing a datotsu.
Hasso-no-kamae: The ready position with the shinai held vertically by the right shoulder.
Hikiwake: A draw decision in a match.
Igi: A protest; generally done by a team manager immediately
after the match in quesiton.
Ippon gachi, shobu-ari: A winner by a single point in a match.
Jiho: the second contestant in a team match.
Jikaku-mushi: an insult made to a player or referee.
Jodan-no-kamae: the ready position with the shinai held over the head.
Jogai: stepping out of bounds during a match.
Kamae: the basic forward standing guard position.
Kakari: The court staff consisting of:

  • keiji gakari – scoreboard recorder
  • kiroku gakari – score recorder
  • senshu gakari – court announcer
  • tokei gakari – time keeper
Keikogi: The cotton jacket worn under the do
Kendo-gu: The equipment used and worn by a kendoist,
also referred to as Bogu.
Kote: Fencing gloves
Men: the head gear or “helmet/mask.”
Nihon me: The command to restart a match for the second match point.
Nito: Using two shinai, short and long.
Nito-no-kamae: The ready position when using two shinai.
Rei : A bow.
Ritsu-rei: a bow at the standing position.
San-Bon-Shobu: Three point scoring in a normal shiai or match.
Sageto: Holding the shinai at the left side of the body.
Senpo: the first contestant in a team match.
Shiai-funo: a winner when one of the opponents cannot continue the match.
Shiai-kyohi: a match winner called when there is a refusal or discontinuation of the match.
Shinai : a four piece bamboo or fiberglas sword used for
practise and shiai. It must meet minimum weight and length
specifications as noted for age and class group.chigiri – the metal spacer in the shinai’s hilt
which keeps the four bamboo staves from slipping
forward or backward.

  • datotsu-bu – the tip portion of the shinai which
    must make contact for a valid point or yuko datotsu.
  • ken-sen – the front “tip” of a shinai.
  • jin-bu – the portion from the tsuba to the front tip
    of the shinai.
  • nakayui – the leather wrap at the front third of a
    shinai. It keeps the bamboos stave from separating.
  • saki-gawa – the leather covering at the tip of the shinai.
  • shin – the rubber spacer placed at the inside
    front tip of a shinai.
  • tsuka – the handle portion of the shinai.
  • tsuka-gashira – the bottom or handle end of a shinai.
  • tsuba – the hilt guard on the shinai. May be made
    of leather, rubber or synthetic. It must not
    pass over the Tsuka-gawa or leather handle.
  • tsuru – the string or “himo” that holds the nakayui
    and tuska-gawa together and keeps the four bamboo staves tight.
Shinai-hanashi: dropping a shinai during a match.
Shinpan: a referee.
Shinpancho: the chief judge overseeing all court actions.
Shinpan Shunin: the chief court judge who assists the chief judge during a match.
Shinpan-in: the team of referees in a court. The team consists of the Shu-shin (the chief referee) and two Fuku-shin (subreferees).
Shobu: the command to restart a match for the match point.
Shobu-ari: announces a winner in a match.
Sosai: an offset when two players commit a foul as the same time and the fouls are offset – no penalty.
Tabi: footwear.
Taisho: the last contestant in a team match.
Taito: holding the shinai at waist level.
Tare: the waist protector.
Tsuki: the throat thrust or hit.
Tsuki-tare: the throat protector on the men.
Wakki-gakame: Ready position with the shinai downward and near the right foot.
Yame: The command to stop.
Yuko Datotsu: a valid strike or point. Must combine correct call, execution and follow through.
Zan-shin : the follow through of a strike, a state of energy, execution, and alertness against an opponent.
Zekken: the name tag, made of cloth or leather and attached to the Tare.