Kendo was developed as a form of practice for Japanese swordmen in the 18th century. The Kendo practitioner, or kendoka, is armed with a shinai, a bamboo practice sword, and is protected by bogu, protective armour. The shinai allows full strength cuts to be made against one's training partner without the risk of injuring or killing them the same way that a real blade or a bokuto,

a wooden sword, would.

Kendo (剣道), which literally translates to "the way of the sword", is a traditional Japanese martial art which now focuses on disciplining the human character through the application of the principles of the katana, the traditional Japanese sword used by the samurai who rose to prominance during the late Heian period until the Meiji Restoration.

According to the All Japan Kendo Federation, the official governing body of kendo:


The purpose of practicing Kendo is:


To mold the mind and body,

To cultivate a vigorous spirit,

And through correct and rigid training,

To strive for improvement in the art of Kendo,

To hold in esteem human courtesy and honor,

To associate with others with sincerity,

And to forever pursue the cultivation of oneself.

This will make one be able:

To love his/her country and society,

To contribute to the development of culture

And to promote peace and prosperity among all peoples.


(The Concept of Kendo was established by All Japan Kendo Federation in 1975.)


The Rivonia Kendo Club (RKC) was founded in 2015 by Warren HO (5th Dan) and Andrew WHITTAKER (3rd Dan), with the intentions of bringing their combined knowledge and unique aspirations to the greater Kendo community.


As past students of the original San Kawa Kendo Dojo (SKKD) that was then headed up by the original founder of SKKD, Tony Hughes sensei (6th Dan, Renshi), it was both Warren and Andrew’s intention to use much of their SKKD experiences in the formation of the RKC.


To pay homage to this history and tradition, Tony Hughes Sensei was elected as the lifetime honorary head sensei of the RKC.

Both Warren and Andrew had also been members of the South African National Kendo Team, and had represented their country at several European Kendo Championships (EKC) and World Kendo Championships (WKC). Both have earned their National Sports Colours in Kendo.


Furthermore, between the 2 of them, they have over 20 years of experience working at a national level, as they have both served as executive committee members of the South African Kendo Federation (SAKF), the national governing body of Kendo, Iaido and Jodo in South Africa.


Lastly, both Warren and Andrew had completed their Martial Arts South Africa (MASA) Coaching Certification (NQF3), as well as both having had attended the All Japan Kendo Federation (AJKF) Foreign Leaders’ Kendo Training Camp in Kitamoto, Japan.  Warren had also attended the European Kendo Federation’s Shimpan/Referee Seminar twice to further his knowledge of Kendo and Kendo refereeing.


To reflected the aspirations of its founders, the RKC further evolved to include 3 major objectives, namely to:

1) ...FOCUS on helping ALL their members develop good Kendo...

2) ...Whilst still having FUN during their time of training and socializing together...

3) ...Resulting in beneficial relationships that make them feel a part of the Kendo-FAMILY.


Lastly, the RKC has adopted the Kendo proverb of "Kō Ken Chi Ai" (交剣知愛) , “the desire to achieve mutual understanding and betterment of humanity through sword training”, to help guide its members on the life-long path of Kendo.


Tony Hughes

Warren Ho

Andrew Whittaker

Lifetime Honorary Head Sensei

6th Dan, Renshi in Kendo

Head Sensei

5th Dan in Kendo

Dojo Sensei

3rd Dan Kendo

Tony Hughes Sensei is the founding member of the San Kawa Kendo Dojo (SKKD) of which the founding members of the RKC were past students of.


Tony sensei now resides in the UK where he continues to practise Kendo and provides guidance and support when possible.

Warren has been practicing Kendo since 2003 and is a founding member of the RKC. He is also a past member of the SKKD and a student of Tony Hughes Sensei. Furthermore, Warren served on the South African Kendo Federation (SAKF) Executive Committee for 10 years, 4 of which as the SAKF President.


 Warren has been a part of the National South African Kendo team at three European Kendo Competitions (EKC) and three World Kendo Championship (WKC), and has therefore earned his National Sports colours in Kendo a total of 6 times.


Warren can be contacted via email on warren@rivoniakendo.co.za

Andrew has been practicing Kendo since 2006 and is a founding member of the RKC. He is also a past member of the SKKD and a student of Tony Hughes Sensei. Furthermore, Andrew served on the South African Kendo Federation (SAKF) Executive Committee for 10 years as the SAKF Treasurer and thereafter as the SAKF Vice-President


Andrew was also a part of the National South African Kendo team at the World Kendo Championship (WKC) in Brazil and has earned his National Sports colours in Kendo.


Andrew can be contacted via email on andrew@rivoniakendo.co.za


Who can practice Kendo?

Kendo is open to all people regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, age, creed or belief. Kendo requires skilful execution of techniques, rather than brute force, hence is suitable for both male and female, young and old. At the RKC, our youngest member was 11 when she first joined, and our oldest members within the greater community is over 70 years of age.


Do I need any previous martial arts experience?

No previous martial arts experience is required. In fact, little to no martial arts experience is better in the beginning as the practitioner will be able to pick up the Kendo techniques quicker then someone who has been indoctrinated into a previous martial arts style, and hence, may have some non-Kendo related habits to break first.


Do I need to be fit for Kendo?

Yes. Kendo is a dynamic martial art that stresses rigorous training. Although there are specific exercises in kendo that could improve ones overall fitness, it is encouraged that the more serious Kendo practitioners supplement their Kendo by doing more fitness training OUTSIDE the usual Kendo training sessions.


Can I try a class out before joining?

Yes. We encourage people to come and try out a session (or two) before committing to embark on the lifelong Kendo journey. To minimise disruptions to the regular classes, there are specific “complimentary Kendo introductory sessions” that are held every 2 weeks on a Monday for new prospects to try Kendo out.  Please contact us to find out when the next complimentary session will be.


What will I need for my first lesson?

Long tracksuit pants and t-shirt.  No shoes in the dojo as we train barefooted.

RKC will provide you with a loan bamboo swords (shinai) or a wooden sword (bokto) when you arrive.


Why join Rivonia Kendo Club?

The RKC has 3 major objectives, namely to:

1) ...FOCUS on helping ALL their members develop good Kendo...

2) ...Whilst still having FUN during their time of training and socializing together...

3) ...Resulting in beneficial relationships that make them feel a part of the Kendo-FAMILY.

You'll be able to train twice a week as well as be invited to a (almost) monthly social which will give you an opportunity to get to know your fellow dojo members OUTSIDE the dojo. .


What does it cost?

The cost is dependent on what membership status you choose to be on and can vary from R100 to R450 per month.

There will also be an annual membership fees that must be paid upon joining. This will include the annual SAKF membership fee too, and is mandatory for all to

Additional Kendo events such as gradings, seminars, social-gatherings might incur some additional costs.


How long will it take to get into armour?

It is almost entirely up to you how long it will take you to transition into the armour kendoka wear (known as bogu). If you train hard and develop proper technique, you may likely be wearing bogu within six months to a year. Your sensei will make the final decision. It is important that basic techniques be learned properly and consistently executed well before a kendoka is granted the privilege of wearing armour.


Do I need to buy the uniform and armour?

Initially you can just wear comfortable clothes, but once you have decided for yourself to commit to Kendo, it is strongly advised to purchase a uniform. As for armour, there are often second-hand sets available for purchase or you can order your own set. When the time comes to get into armour, our senior members will advise you on the best course.


Do you wear belts?

No. However, Kendo does have its own set of grades, starting with Kyu and advancing to Dan. Kyu grades (beginner grades) start at 7th Kyu and work their way up to 1st Kyu. From there they are eligible to attempt 1st Dan (of 1st degree black belt). The highest Dan grade you can reach is 8th Dan. In order to grade you must be a member of the SAKF.


Do you compete?

Yes. There are regular Kendo competitions both locally and abroad where one can put the sporting side of Kendo into practise. Competing involves full-contact sparring with the shinai and in full armour, and is governed by very specific K               endo-rules.


Kendo in South Africa

Rivonia Kendo Club is a member of the South African Kendo Federation (SAKF), which is the only recognised Kendo association in Africa. The SAKF is affiliated to the Martial Arts South Africa (MASA), the International Kendo Federation (FIK) and the European Kendo Federation (EKF). There are eight SAKF affiliated dojos in South Africa where you can learn the martial art of kendo. In order to become a member of the SAKF and qualify for these benefits, a yearly membership fee is charged per member as well as a monthly levy fee.

Training is held at the Rivonia Sports Club, in the Bowls Room


Mondays and Wednesdays:

6:30pm to 7:30pm (Members in Bogu)

 7:30pm to 8:30pm (All members)


All members of the Rivonia Kendo Club must also be affiliated with the South African Kendo Federation.


If you would like to visit our dojo or have any questions about Kendo or joining the Rivonia Kendo Club, please feel free to contact us by filling in the form below.

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