Kendo is open to all ages and members range from our juniors at 5 years of age to some in their 80s. Juniors under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent/carer and signatures on consent forms will be required. Kendo is for all genders. There are no gender advantages and disadvantages. Physically, kendokas vary in all sizes horizontally and vertically.

1. Do I need the kendo clothing and armour as a beginner?
No, you will need just to wear some gym / exercise suitable clothing that’s not restrictive to your movements (tight jeans, etc.). There is no footwear required in kendo.

2. What do I need to start?
A bamboo shinai appropriate to your height and age that we will recommend, bokuto/bokken wooden sword and a weapons bag. There are some suppliers offering beginners sets that include the clothing as well with more discounting.

3. When do I get the kendo clothing (hakama and kendogi)?
After about 3-4 weeks when you have learned the basic footwork, we recommend buying the kendo clothing (hakama, kendogi). It’s important in the beginning to be able to see and correct your footwork.

4. When do I get to go into kendo bogu (armour)?
Depending on your progress, this typically takes anywhere from 3-6 months on average before beginners get into bogu armour equipment.

5. Is there a free trial?
If you are interested in learning more about kendo and seeing if it is something you would like to take up, please just come join us on Sundays, though please contact us beforehand and let us know so we can prepare some equipment in advance.


You need to wear some comfortable loose fitting gym clothing such as sweatpants, gym shorts and a T-shirt. Please do not wear jeans or tight fighting trousers that will inhibit your movements.

No footwear is required as kendo is practiced in bare feet. Please ensure you take your shoes off before entering any practices. We will loan you a shinai (bamboo sword) for the trial period. If you should decide to continue, you will have to order the basic equipment set of a shinai, bokuto (wooden sword) and the weapons carry bag that’s included in the joining fee.

Once you have advanced in your kendo footwork that is assessed by your instructors, you will need to progress into the kendo clothing that includes the hakama (trousers) and keikogi (shirt). These are not required in the beginning.

Please seek approval on your progress before purchasing any bogu armour to ensure you do not buy something that is unsuitable.


Beginning kendo will require just normal gym clothing. Once you have progressed further, a set of kendo clothing including the hakama and kendogi will be needed. These start around £50-60 for synthetic material with synthetic dyes to upwards of £150 for double layer cotton with natural dye. The set will not require replacement for many years depending on quality of material, care of clothing and the frequency of wash and wear. Kendo armour or bogu typically are in the range of £350-500 for a decent set suitable for a beginner. Generally a 3mm (distance between each stitching) is recommended for maximum protection, although there are different designs that can offer great protection with wider or different stitching. A bogu set can last well over 10-20 years. Once you have the kendo clothing and a set of bogu, the only costs really are replacing shinai bamboo swords that are around £25-50 each. The frequency of replacing this depends on the individual’s level, amount of excessive strength used and also the regular accuracy of the kendoka. The bokuto / bokken wooden sword rarely requires replacement and lasts a long time with proper care.