Kenjutsu is the umbrella term for all (koryū) schools of Japanese swordsmanship, which originated with the samurai class of feudal Japan, means "the method, or technique, of the sword." This is opposed to kendo, which means "the way of the sword".

Characteristics

The exact activities and conventions undertaken when practicing kenjutsu vary from school to school, where the word school here refers to the practice, methods, ethics, and metaphysics of a given tradition, yet commonly include practice of battlefield techniques without an opponent and techniques whereby two practitioners perform kata (featuring full contact strikes to the body in some styles and no body contact strikes permitted in others). Although kata training was always the mainstay, in later periods, schools incorporated sparring under a variety of conditions, from using solid wooden bokutō to use of bamboo sword (shinai) and armor (bōgu). In modern times sparring in Japanese martial art is more strongly associated with kendo and is mainly practiced by students or the police force. Although kendo is common in Japan, it is also practiced in other countries around the world.

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