Frequently Asked Questions

This section covers common questions and answers regarding the Kansas City Kendo Club. Last Updated on 8/24/2009.

Q. What is Kendo?
A. Kendo is the modern martial art of Japanese swordsmanship. The Midwest Kendo Federation has an excellent article on Kendo, click here for more information .

Q. Who are the Instructors and what are their qualifications?
A. We currently have two Sensei providing instruction, they are:

Yasuyuki Kurokami
Yasuyuki Kurokami Sensei is a Godan (5th Dan). His last rank was earned in California while his previous 4 were earned in Japan as a member of the All Japan Kendo Federation (AJKF).
John Drakey
John Drakey Sensei is a Sandan (3rd Dan). He received his  Ikkyu (1st Kyu) unofficially in the United States. He later earned his Ikkyu (officially), Shodan (1st Dan), and Nidan (2nd Dan) in Japan as a member of the All Japan Kendo Federation (AJKF). He recently received his Sandan at the 17th annual MWKF Shinsa in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.

Both Sensei are individually members of the Midwest Kendo Federation (MWKF) and the All United States Kendo Federation (AUSKF). We are pleased to announce that the Kansas City Kendo Club was accepted as a unaffiliated member of the MWKF as of November 2006. Our dojo will eventually receive affiliated status, which will grant us voting rights at future MWKF meetings.

Q. Who can join the Kansas City Kendo Club?
A. Anyone, however children and adolescents should have a parent or guardian's permission first. Those with health problems are encouraged to consult a physician before attempting any strenuous activity or sport. No previous martial arts experience is required!

Q. When can I start?
A. Beginners are always welcome. You will be invited to participate, but may watch if you'd prefer. But keep in mind that starting during the winter is tough since we spend more time doing than lecturing.

Q. When and where are practices held?
A. We practice twice weekly in Brookridge Park, Overland Park Kansas . Please click on the Practice Schedule link in the site map to view our current practice times.

Q. I can only come once a week, is that alright?
A. Yes, we encourage members to attend as often as they are able, even if only once a week or less.

Q. What fees or dues do you charge for lessons?
A. None. We're an Aozora (blue sky) Dojo, meaning we practice outdoors. Since lessons are held in a public park, we have no location costs to pass on to our students. Therefore, instruction is provided free of charge.

Q. What equipment will I need?
A. For your first couple of lessons, all you will need is loose clothing, an open mind, and good attitude. If you decide to join our club, you'll need to purchase your own Bokken (wooden training sword used for kata) and Shinai (split bamboo practice sword used in full-contact sparring).

Q. Will I need to purchase a uniform?
A. The standard uniform for kendo is a Keikogi (upper portion of the uniform) and Hakama (wide, pleated pants), a beginners set will cost at least $50-80. Students may purchase a uniform whenever they're ready to do so. In the meantime, loose clothing/work-out clothes are perfectly acceptable.

Q. What about armor?
A. Bogu (specialized kendo armor) is comprised of 4 parts: The Men (helmet), Do (chest protector), Tare (waist protector) and Kote (hand and forearm guards). Drakey Sensei has one spare set of Bogu and one extra Men (helmet) that circulates amongst new comers. Because a complete set of beginner quality Bogu can cost between $250-350 or more, we recommend that students practice for at least 3 months before they consider purchasing their own.

Q. Does the club have Kendo equipment available for rent?
A. No, we do not have extra equipment for rent. You may be able to borrow a Bokken or Shinai from another club member during your first few practices, but it would be subject to availability. Use of the spare Bogu and Men rotate amongst new members.

Q. Where can I purchase Kendo equipment?
A. While there are a few martial arts shops in the Kansas City area, we highly suggest purchasing from a vendor that specializes in Kendo equipment. We recommend as the quality of their equipment is exceptional for the price (see our links page for more information). Before purchasing kendo equipment, we strongly recommend consulting with one of the Sensei. And follow recommendations on the vendors site concerning sizing.