How big does a sparring area need to be?

by Dashiell Wickler
(Berkeley, Ca, USA)

My friend and I who are both doing Kendo are about to be able to start sparring soon and we want to be able to spar outside of the dojo in our own time.

The problem is not having a gym or proper place to practice. We have open areas to practice, however we need to buy flooring or mats to be able to suri-ashi .

My first question is how big is the minimum area needed to spare? We were guessing around maybe 10 feet X 20 feet.

Also has anyone done this before and have any tips on materials and etc.

Thank you very much.

Answer: We do not have certain regulations for a sparing area. As long as we can move a bit, we can do kendō. I have practiced in a racquetball court several times. If only two people training, that is enough.

A shiai (match) area, on the other hand, should have a square or rectangular with a side of 9 (approx. 30 feet)  or 11 meters (approx. 36 feet). (ref. All Japan Kendo Federation Shiai Regulations)

However, if you just want to train with your friend, the area does not have to be as big as shiai area.

I know one sensei who put a wooden floor on a part of his garage. His son and he practice uchikomi (without bōgu) back and forth. I thought it was a good idea.

Hope this helps.

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