Houston Kendo
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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Kendo? Kendo, meaning "Way of the Sword", is a modern Japanese martial art of sword-fighting based on traditional Japanese swordsmanship, or Kenjutsu. Practitioners wear Bogu, armor, and spar with a Shinai, a bamboo sword. Bokken, wooden swords, are used for Kata, form practice. Kendo is a sport, in that it is physically demanding and can be competitive. At the same time, Kendo is much more than just a sport. It is something that can be pursued for one's entire life and the mental challenge is endless.

What is Cougar Kendo? Cougar Kendo is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The club was founded in fall 2008 is one of the largest and most active UH Rec Sports Clubs. We fortunate to be part of a 45+ year old Kendo tradition in Houston via its affiliation with the Houston Budokan, which is part of a 700+ year old kendo tradition via its affilation with the Chiba Dojo in Japan. In addition, we are part of the Southern United States Kendo & Iaido Federation, a regional federation of the All United States Kendo Federation.

Why should I join Kendo? There are many reasons: 1) Kendo is both physically and mentally demanding and, therefore, practicing will help you stay in physical and mental shape. 2) While Kendo is a difficult activity, the possibility of serious injury is rare compared to practicing other martial arts and sports. 3) Kendo will change your life.

Why should I join Cougar Kendo? 1) Cougar Kendo is the largest and most active Kendo Dojo in the Houston area. We have practice 3 times a week. We attend local, regional and national competitions. We do many group activities outside of Kendo as well. 2) We tailor lesson plans to every individual who attends practice and will work with people outside of practice. 3) The members of Cougar Kendo provide a great support group for not only practicing Kendo, but in all areas of life. 3) The members of Cougar Kendo provide strong support to each other inside and outside of Kendo, such as course advice and job/internship opportunities.

I have no experience, can I join? Yes! Most of our members started Kendo at UH.

Who can join Cougar Kendo? University Houston students. However, we are affiliated with 3 other Dojos, where membership is not restricted. Please visit the Houston Kenshikan or contact us for more information.

How do I join? What do I need for practice? To join, you will need to sign a waiver and pay club dues. Club dues for the first semester and second are $60 and are $30 per semester after that. The first semester dues include a Shinai, a bamboo sword, which is all you need to start practice. The second semester dues includes a Bokken, a wooden sword, which is necessary for more advanced practice.
If possilble, please show up early for practice. Officers are available from 5:30PM on to help sign you up. Learning how to count from 1-10 prior to joining practice and reading resources on this website, such as the "The Really Short Beginner's Guide" is extremely helpful.

What about the armor and uniform? You will be asked to wear a uniform after a few months of consistent pratice. The club will bulk order uniforms for $70 a set.
You will get into Bogu (armor) when sensei decides you are ready, which is usually after 6 months with consistent practice. There are not many sets available to borrow, so most members have to purchase their Bogu. A good set of Bogu starts at $400, but can last decades.

For any other questions, please email us at cougarkendo@gmail.com or stop by.

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