Japanese martial art of swordfighting (literally "way of the sword," from ken meaning sword or blade, and do meaning way.) Originally practiced using solid wooden swords (bokken), but the large injury and death rate quickly brought on the development of the shinai, a slatted bamboo practice sword which has a great deal of flexibility. Leather thongs demark the cutting area near the tip, and a yellow string runs along the top to indicate the "back" of the sword.
Armour consists of the helmet (hu-men), a wooden breastplate (do), a heavy felt "skirt" () and long, padded gloves (kote). A hachimaki is almost always worn to keep hair out of the eyes and to control sweating. Targets are rigidly enforced, and consist of the top center of the head (men), two sides of the head (for diagonal strikes, also men), the throat (tsuki), both wrists (kote), and both sides of the abdomen (do). Rankings start in the junior "kyu" designations starting at 48th kyu, and work up to the "dan" ratings; roughly the equivalent of the black-belt status. Anything higher than 7th dan is considered to be honourary.
Kendo is now more of a sport than a true martial art, and is still a very popular activity in schools.