Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive from people interested in starting kendo. If there is a question not addressed here please feel free to contact us.

Does Kendo hurt?

Kendokas wear armour (bogu) to protect themselves while practicing. You will feel when you get hit but it shouldn’t hurt. If your opponent is hurting you it could be an indication they are not striking with the proper technique (tenouchi). Errant hits do occur but they don’t happen too often.

How do I start?

Starting with us is simple, just contact us via email, facebook or phone and let us know when you would like to start. All you will need for your first class is a pair of athletic shorts, a t-shirt and your enthusiasm!

When do you take in new students?

We accept new students on a bi-monthly basis: January, March, May, July, September and November. Please let us know in advance so we can prepare to have someone guide you through your first day. You can reach us here.

Is my child old enough to join?

We start accepting children from age of 8+.

Am I too old to start?

People of all ages practice kendo in Japan. It’s not unusual to see people well in their 80’s still participating. The biggest hurdle most people have is actually getting over their own self-doubt and apprehension to come to their first class!

Do I need to be fit to start kendo?

Kendo is a physical sport but don’t let that discourage you from joining. There are kendokas of all ages, sizes and fitness levels and accommodations are made to those that cannot physically perform some activities. In kendo, as in most things life, we find that the most difficult thing to overcome is one’s self; we always make excuses for why we aren’t ready to start. Kendo is about overcoming one’s doubts and limitations. Making that first step is your start to understanding kendo and following Kensyukai Markham’s motto, developing through training.

How much does kendo cost?

Initial Equipment Costs

Initially getting into kendo is not very expensive, just bring comfortable gym shorts and a t-shirt. As you advance the first item you’ll want to purchase are shinai (bamboo swords) and a bag to hold them. We recommend starting with a basic practice shinai that should cost approximately $35 each and a shiai bag that starts from $10. As you progress in to the second month, members are expected to purchase a club t-shirt ($15) or to proceed straight to a kendo uniform (keiko-gi and hakama). These can be purchased from online retailers starting at $80 for a complete set.

Club Fees

The City of Markham has a daily drop-in fee that will need be be paid during each visit. The current rates can be viewed here. Following the second month, members will start paying a club fee paid in quarterly installments. Discounted rates are available for half year and full year payments.

Monthly RateHalf YearFull Year
16 Yrs & Older$30$170$330
15 Yrs & Younger$25$145$275
Family (2 members or more)10% discount on total


When the sensei are happy with your progress, you can purchase bogu (armour). Bogu varies in price, usually starting from $500 and can go up to thousands of dollars. Please consult with your sensei before purchasing your bogu to ensure you are purchasing a set that will provide the necessary protection for sparring.

I’m from another club, can I visit?

We welcome all visitors that are in bogu to participate in our practices. The community centre has a drop-in fee that needs to be purchased online from the City of Markham before arriving at the dojo. For vising sensei’s, please contact us in advance so we can cover your fees. 

The current rates as of September 5, 2023 are as follows:

ParticipantSingle Ticket
Adult $5.20
Seniors 65 years and older$3.64

How long does it take to get into bogu (armour)?

The time it takes to get into bogu depends on how quickly the student is able to demonstrate a reasonable understanding of the basic cuts (suburi) and footwork. For most students this will typically take one year.

When should I purchase bogu (armour)?

You should wait until a Sensei has explicitly told you to purchase bogu. The equipment is expensive, and many students find out later on that kendo is not for them only after spending hundreds or thousands of dollars. We understand some students are excited to start, but without consultation from Sensei’s and Sempai’s, purchased equipment can be unsuitable or unsafe and usually can’t be returned.

Can I visit other dojos?

Current paying members of Kensyukai Markham need to ask for permission from Sensei’s before visiting any dojos. We do this to make sure you are fully equipped with the skills necessary to properly represent our club and to minimize disruptions to the dojos you potentially visit. As you become more experienced, the Sensei’s will let you know when this is no longer a requirement.

Do you rent equipment?

When you initially start you will not require any equipment. Kensyukai Markham has shinais (bamboo swords) available for new students to borrow at no charge. You will be expected to purchase a shinai when you become a full member of the club. 

We do not have bogu to rent, this will need to be purchased by the student.

Are you insured?

Kensyukai Markham is an official member of the Canadian Kendo Federation (CKF) that provides liability insurance to all current members of CKF. This insurance covers the club and its members for defense and or costs awarded against members or the club for any claims or damages resulting from the club’s activities. The insurance is not accidental insurance, i.e. it will not cover damages to yourself or your equipment. For more details visit the CKF insurance policy page here.

I live far away, are there other dojo’s closer to me?

Fortunately kendo is very popular in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and there are many dojo’s around the GTA and the Golden Horseshoe. To see a comprehensive list of the dojo’s in Ontario, click here to visit the Kendo Ontario dojo list.