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Jan 03, 2022
One name for all sword arts.
by: Brian

Just a brief comment in Japan Kendo is Kendo. In Korea and Korean Martial arts schools abroad, Kumdo is a wide variety of sword related arts. Similarly in Japan, you have Kendo and Iaido two distinct names. In Korea or Korean Dojangs abroad you may find schools advertised as Kumdo but they are teaching more of an Iaido or Hapkido based sword art. So if you are new to kendo and don't know to verify through FIK and your national registered kendo federation then you can get confused and mislead to school that you're not really interested in.

Oct 25, 2021
kendo and Kumdo
by: Raul Acevedo

Kendo-Guide.Com: Thank you for the nice input, Raul. It is nice to get info from a person who actually practice kumdo.

I wonder if the concept of kumdo is the same as the concept of kendo. As long as they belong to International Kendo Federation, kumdo clubs should have the same concept. If you have information on that, please share that with us.

Yes the concept is the same. At least it is for me. the KKA or Korean Kumdo Association is under the international federation of kendo so KKA has to follow the same practices that are shown in Japan but under KKA we use Korean words. For example Men = Mori, Kote = Summok, D0=Hori. I often see some Japanese people practicing with the Korean schools and they have told me that it's all mostly the same. Hope this helps.

Dec 16, 2010
Kumdo and Kendo
by: Anonymous

Recently I was interested to find out that the KKA (Korean Kendo Association) is actually part of the International Kendo Federation and that we can compete in Japan although we practice Kumdo. I just got my 1st Dan so I looked into it. There is a list of countries that are under the IKF. It's so exciting to see how the world has embraced this art. It does not matter if it's kumdo or kendo, to me it's all the same (onaji desu ne). We have to show Ki ken tai no ichi in the Kendo Academy too although it's a Korean school. I hope more people will see that it's all good no matter what country is practicing it. Mina san, Gambatte ne!!!

Kendo-Guide.Com: Thanks for your input!

If a country wants to participate in World Kendo Championships, it has to be a member of KIF. So there is a federation or association in Korea that is an affiliate of KIF.

Dec 15, 2010
RE: Differences between Kendo and Kumdo.
by: Matt C.

I have attended training at dojos in England, Japan, and Korea and have noticed that British dojos will (usually) follow Japanese principles and teach
a very kihon geiko oriented style. Manners and etiquette are maintained at all times, much as they would be in Japan.

In Korea the atmosphere is very relaxed, as you would find in a sport setting. New students are not taught to manifest proper spirit during regular
practices (kirikaeshi, jigeiko, etc.) and are instead taught to build speed so they can score points.

The actual scoring system in Korea is one I have not been able to fully understand. In Japanese Kendo shiai you need ki ken tai no ichi to score ippon.

In Korea they appear to be satisfied with just two. I have seen many points I would not have awarded at my club back in England. (Eg. A kote scored
with a barely audible kiai, while the kendoka was bent at a 40 degree angle)

To sum it up simply. The main difference between the two is that Koreans regard Kumdo as ONLY a sport, while the Japanese regard Kendo as a budo with
sport applications.

What I've seen and what other people have seen may be different however. Thoughts?

Thanks for your sharing your experience. Since I have no experience in kumdo, I have no idea what they teach. All I know is what I
wrote here. Any comments for this post are super welcome!

May 21, 2010
My sensei told me...
by: ak_

The old saying in Itto Ryu:

"A sword turns to 10,000 swords and then the 10,000 swords returns to one sword..."

This can be interpreted as your practice starts with learning one strike, after mastering many different strikes, all the skills and experience should be condensed to "one" ultimate strike.

Kendo-Guide.Com: Thank you for your comment. It is from Ono-ha Itto Ryu, isn?t it?

Learn one strike at a time. And later we can learn combination and variations of techniques, which we can apply to different opponents. All the techniques begins from one single cut and all the techniques will eventually return to one single cut.

This is the concept of ?kiri-otoshi?. (From Internet reference, "Gokaku-Ikkan: Itto Ryu no Oshie wo Yomu by Takemi Sasamoto")

May 06, 2010
Kendo vs. Kumdo
by: ...

I am Korean, and I first started Kendo in South Korea. Kendo and Kumdo are actually the same thing.

The only difference is the way we approach our opponent. Korean style is more like a Japanese "high school" style. We get in deep into the aite's maai (opponent?s distance) and throw multiple strikes until it goes in.

Also, our strike is more like a tap or just a touch rather than a cut or a snap. I'm not trying to degrade Korean Kendo, but from my long experience in Korean Kendo, I can safely say that that's the Korean Kendo...

Practicing Japanese Kendo for a year now, I found out Japanese Kendo is more mature, especially when you get to the higher level. I really like the idea of seme and how the opportunity to strike is made before the player actually strikes.

Also, I would like to get this misunderstanding of Korean Kendo out of the way. Many Koreans, including me, admire and respect Japanese Kendo, and we are continuously striving to play like the Japanese.

We also admit that Kendo is Japanese. It's only the few nationalists or older generation, who still hold that bitter feelings toward Japan (ever since WWII), that claim Kendo originated from Korea...

Kendo-Guide.Com: Thanks for your post. I?ve heard what you wrote here. And I am sure that you need to be brave to come out and say those things. Thank you again!

Feb 01, 2010
A Japanese person's opinion
by: Anonymous

I think another thing that has to be kept in thought is that there isn't really more a difference in Kendo and Kumdo, other than language maybe, but there is more a difference between trainers/ or schools.

Even among Karate, Taekwondo, Aikido, etc., the difference in focus comes from the difference in styles of training.

So I think it is a little misleading to look at it on a country basis. Rather it is more different between trainer and trainer. That's why (I know for a fact in Japan) that they have different -do or -kai which refers to the style or school. I'm assuming Korea has the same.

Kendo-Guide.Com: Thank you for your comment. I think you brought up a good point.

You are right about different organizations such as ?kai. Not many people know but there are some kendo associations in Japan other than All Japan Kendo Federation.

It is a tendency, I think. Even in Japan, we can see tendencies in different areas, like "oh! his kendo is so kyushu!" and so on. I think such uniqueness is a good thing.

I think, kumdo is the way Korean read kendo. China, Korea and Japan share Chinese characters and we understand the meanings of characters (most of the time).

However, we pronounce them differently. So I am sure Chinese people pronounce kendo differently.

For example, wushu is bujutsu in Japanese; Same characters but different pronunciation. Another example is chi. In Japanese we say, ki.

So if the Korean is doing kendo but pronouncing it as kumdo, then I think it is a tendency. They tend to do kendo focusing on more striking, i.e. by striking a lot they create/see an opening.

Maybe it is the tendency of those national representatives who compete in the world championships.

If they do not do kendo i.e. they have their own martial arts called kumdo but use the same Chinese characters we use in Japan, then they are one of the styles of martial arts.

I must say this though. Even though we have different pronunciations, we have the word, "way".

We all know what that means. We have the same meaning no matter who reads it. And I also believe that the concept of "the way" must be the same or quite similar.

By the way, something-kai means something association/group. The above-mentioned organization of kendo is Nihon Kendo Kyokai. They have their own theory of kendo. However, they still use the word kendo, so we should have the same goal as "do".

People may have different purposes, theories and thoughts in what they train, but as far as I am concerned "the concept of the way" should be the same.

Therefore, no particular martial art is better than other as long as it is the Do. Please refer to "Meaning of the Way: What is the Way?" and "Martial arts is a way of life?"

Again thank you for bringing up a good point!

Dec 07, 2009
Getting it straight
by: Al

No, I was not confused. Myke Cole, in his article
"Rising Sun vs. Morning Calm: The Birth of a Korean Fencing Tradition" puts it better:

"Much of the competition is metaphysical, as opponents seek to break the opponent's will by projecting the Ki (spirit) before moving to attack. In watching footage of the All-Japan Championships, one can see this style at work, as fencers circle each other for long minutes without striking, attempting to find the perfect position before going for the point. To the uninitiated, it can appear that the majority of a Japanese traditional fencing match consists of taking small steps and otherwise doing nothing.

The Korean tradition has its patient moments as well, but places much more emphasis on vicious attack. Metaphysics have their role, but are downplayed in favor of raw speed and bodily force. Korean fencers are more willing to trade flurries of blows with an opponent, often relying on a vigorous attack to create the openings required to score. The dynamic style of Korean fencing makes it more palatable to viewers, as the action is veritably nonstop. The large-motions that comprise much the esteemed beauty of the Japanese tradition are eschewed in favor of smaller, faster strikes."

I recommend this article for, like myself, the writer has practiced both Kendo and Kumdo.

I hope this helps.

Kendo-Guide.Com: Thank you for your post.  The article points out some differences between kendo and kumdo and kendo at All Japan Kendo Championships is used as an example of Japanese "seme" to seek an opening.

When you watch matches between Korean and Japanese, it is very obvious about the difference. I agree with that.

Koreans strike more than Japanese and more fiercely.  That is their kendo style. Nothing wrong with that. But it is a part of seeking an opening.

Korean kendoists tend to seek an opening while striking. That is their style. We can say that it is characteristics of kumdo or Korean kendo. And you have to know it is ONE way of seeking an opening.

Once we learned striking a lot until you get a point, we move to the next step, which is to make an opening before we strike. We see this at the high class kendo tournaments such as All Japan or other tournaments.

 Since I do not know how kumdo practitioners do kumdo when they get older or earn a high rank that is similar to Japanese 7th or 8th dan, I can only guess. But I guess they must try to make an opening before they strike.

Many compare kendo and kumdo and point out the differences. But they do not compare those senseis with a high rank. Or they do not compare the concepts and goals of kendo and kumdo.

Dec 01, 2009
Kendo vs Kumdo
by: Al

I practiced Korean Kumdo for 5 years. I'm currently practicing Japanese Kendo. The ONLY difference (aside from language and some etiquette) is the focus of the training with regards to combat.

Kendo "looks" for an opening, while Kumdo "makes" an opening for the attack.

This is why you see the Kumdo practitioners attack multiple times in the same "burst".

The advantage of training to defend from these attacks is that your defense becomes very strong and you can see single attacks coming from a mile away.

I've taken the best of both styles and feel very comfortable in my "combat" knowledge.

I would highly recommend that anybody that has the opportunity to train (as a good-will gesture) with Kumdo practitioners do so. Pick their brains for speed exercises.

It will pay out in your next tournament.

Kendo-Guide.Com: Thank you for your post. You probably misunderstood about seeking an opportunity. In kendo, we do create an opening. It is a part of seeking an opportunity.

The description of making an opening in kumdo, i.e. multiple attacks in the same ?burst?, is a part of seeking an opportunity.

We practice these fast and consecutive attacks at our early kendo phase (from as early as 10 years old to 18 years old).  That is one way to make an opportunity.

As we improve our kendo, we try to create an opening before we strike, not by strikes. That is why we try to make an opening by techniques such as harai.

Hope this helps.

Aug 18, 2009
Strike in chikama not valid?
by: viany cin hiong

I saw that you say "in kendo striking at chikama not consider as a valid strike"

But from what I saw from many high level sensei they strike in chikama and get a valid points, that's why I am confused now..... Could you please help me out here?

Answer: I said, "In kendo, their strikes were not considered to be valid. But I don't know if they considered these strikes in chikama as valid cuts. ” But I should've said The way they (some Korean people I mentioned in the previous post) strike is hardly valid. That's how I should say.

Sorry for the confusion.

I was talking about how they struck in chikama could not be valid. They kept striking where they were really close to their opponent. And their strikes were not with mono-uchi, but with moto-uchi (the lower part of the shinai).

We have to adjust the distance so that we can strike with mono-uchi.

Hope this helps.

Feb 18, 2009
No big differences between Kendo and Kumdo
by: Raul

I trained with Japanese neighbour who taught me Kendo in my backyard for a year. Later, after he moved away I joined a Kumdo school. I can tell you that the difference is none. In terms of ritual, maybe a few.

For instance, in Kumdo we don't do Sonkyo. But we do it if we go to a National tournament which includes Japanese Kendoka. Within the Korean Kumdo world, we don't do it. Other than that, our exercises are very similar and our techniques and rational during sparring are basically the same.

In my school (Sung Moo Kwan - Kendo Academy) we don't fight for points. We are taught that proper technique is more important than just getting points. We are also taught that speed is good but accuracy is better.

We are taught that Kendo came from Japan to Korea and we accept it as fact. So other than language, I see no real difference.

Kendo-Guide.Com: Thank you for the nice input, Raul. It is nice to get info from a person who actually practice kumdo.

I wonder if the concept of kumdo is the same as the concept of kendo. As long as they belong to International Kendo Federation, kumdo clubs should have the same concept. If you have information on that, please share that with us.


Feb 18, 2009
No Sonkyo in Kumdo
by: Matt

Kumdo also has no sonkyo, which is the main difference that I see.

Kendo-Guide.Com: Thanks for your comment. I heard about it too. Thanks, Matt!

Jan 29, 2009
Bringing Korean kendo shiai styles to japanese kendo
by: Anonymous

Bringing Korean kendo shiai styles to Japanese kendo

Can someone who learned Korean kendo before bring in the Kumdo styles (e.g. the aggressiveness that is adapted from Korean kendo) to Japanese kendo in such as shiai or jigeiko?

Kendo-Guide.Com: As long as they follow the rules of kendo, I don?t see why not. Aggressiveness is a tendency. There are many aggressive Japanese kendoists too. .

You can see tendencies in various places. For example, it is said that Kansai (Region around Osaka) kendo has a tendency to do kendo in toma (a far distance) compared to Tokyo kendoists.

I have several Korean kendoists at the dojos I used to belong to. They were fine. They continuously struck very hard in chikama (close distance). In kendo, their strikes were not considered to be valid. But I don?t know if they considered these strikes in chi Kama as valid cuts.

I think it is a good thing to have different styles in the kendo world. There are many different styles of kendo out there anyway. So as long as they say they do Japanese kendo, I see them as just different kendo styles. If they did head butting, punching or kicking, that would be a different story.

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