In Japanese, the word kendo literally translated means "way of the sword" ("ken" = sword, and "do" = the way). It is the traditional Japanese art of full-contact fencing developed by the Samurai.

In modern kendo, practitioners wear padded armor and use a flexible bamboo foil called a shinai to simulate combat with a katana, the traditional Japanese curved sword. The goal of kendo is not only to develop the physical skills necessary for fencing, but also to introduce students to moral and spiritual aspects that can carry over into one's daily life. Etiquette, or reigi, is a critical component of kendo training.