Nashville Kendo Club


The purpose of 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 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.

-All Japan Kendo Federation

Welcome! Please use our site to learn more about us. Kendo is a Japanese martial art that is practiced around the world and the Nashville Kendo Club is where you can learn in middle Tennessee! Below are three reasons many people practice kendo.


Kendo is an excellent way to build endurance and fitness. Training is intense but harmonized to an individual’s capabilities – making it appropriate for all ages.  It is recognized as a martial art that successive generations can learn together.


Kendo is an excellent way to develop mental discipline. It is not simply an art that was developed for martial skills. It is purposely designed to help develop a rigorous spirit that is aligned with focus and clarity of purpose.


Kendo emphasizes etiquette in all facets of training to encourage respect for training partners and to nurture people with a dignified and humane character. Even in competitive matches this emphasis is maintained. One learns to treat all people with respect – both inside and outside the dojo (training hall).

“ Determine that today you will overcome yourself of the day before, tomorrow you will win over those of lesser skill , and later you will win over those of greater skill”


– Miyamoto Musashi


The Nashville Kendo Club was founded in 2003 and has been fortunate to become one of the fastest growing clubs in the Southeast Kendo Federation. In addition to our regular practices, we also compete in both regional and national kendo tournaments and often train with other clubs in the region. Most importantly, we continue to grow and learn together and as we strive in our personal development.

Our club was recently featured on Facebook Groups. Check out the video here:

We are members of the Southeast United States Kendo Federation (SEUSKF) and the All United States Kendo Federation (AUSKF).


Head Instructor:  Tomi Kawamura – 6 Dan

Assistant Instructors

Walter White (4th Dan), Chris Bullington (4th Dan), Kawamu Stewart 4th Dan), Iko Bullington (4th Dan),

Yosuke Nosaka (4th Dan), Tatsuya Miyake (4th Dan), Daniel LaDue (4th Dan)


What is kendo?

Kendo is a Japanese martial art focused on learning principles of fencing with a samurai sword.  Instruction is focused on studying techniques derived from traditional concepts used by the samurai in combat.  However, modern kendo has evolved these techniques into a fast-paced sport.  Practitioners use swords made of split bamboo called “shinai” and wear padded armor called “bogu”.  Strikes are limited to the head, hand, and upper torso.  Points are awarded by judges during a match for the proper execution of a technique.  Kendo students also learn a series of prearranged strikes and blocks called “kata” which are practiced with a partner.

Who can train in kendo?

Kendo is for anyone interested and willing to train hard in a traditional martial art.  In Japan, children begin studying from an early age in elementary school and may continue practicing for life.  Nashville Kendo Club trains children and adults alike within a wide range of ages.  The minimum age to begin instruction for children varies depending on their ability to pay attention and follow instructions. Minors must have a parent or guardian in attendance for each class.  Adults may begin practicing at any age.

When and where does the club meet for practice?

Practice is held on Sunday afternoons in the gymnasium at McCabe Park Community Center located at 101 46th Avenue North in Nashville.  Class begins at 3:00pm and lasts until 5:00pm.  On the first weekend of the month class starts an hour earlier (2:00pm). Students should arrive early and warm up prior to the start of practice. We start beginners classes every three months – in January, April, July and October. It is recommended that you arrange to visit our regular class as an observer prior to joining the beginner’s classes.

What is a typical practice session like?

A typical practice session involves students working in pairs to execute various strikes and other techniques in rotating sequences.  Training is intense for more advanced practitioners, who wear full protective gear to absorb the impact of partner strikes.  Practice can also get quite noisy as students give spirited shouts known as “kiai” to help project their techniques.  Beginning students (without protective gear) focus on building basic skills and learning etiquette.

What should I expect during the first few months of practice?

During the first few months, practitioners do not wear armor.  However, they should acquire a practice uniform “keikogi” and “hakama” and a bamboo sword “shinai”.  Such equipment can be purchased online from a number of recommended suppliers usually for less than $100.  Repetition is the primary word to describe kendo training for beginners at this stage.  As a traditional martial art, kendo practitioners must learn to execute techniques with a high level of precision.  Training focuses mainly on etiquette and on drills that isolate the various components of striking and footwork.

How much does it cost to train?

How much does it cost to train?

The Nashville Kendo Club (NKC) is operated as a non-profit organization.  The primary goal of NKC is to promote the spread of kendo as a martial art form and not to generate revenue.  Instructors and club administrators are unpaid.  As such, monthly dues are set at $30 per month.  Families (two or more individuals) may join for $40 per month.  Dues are collected at the beginning of each quarter Jan, Apr, Jul, and Oct.  No contracts are required to join.  The only other financial requirement is a $100 annual dues payment for adults ($60 children) to the AUSKF.  It is required for all NKC members to join the AUSKF for insurance purposes and for rank testing requirements.  Fees for testing are set by the AUSKF and vary according to rank and age.

Should I get my protective gear (bogu) and how much does it cost?

Beginners are typically given permission by the instructor to wear armor in practice after training for 3-6 months.  However, there is no precise timeline for when students may be given permission or for when they must purchase armor.  Each individual progresses differently and may have extenuating financial circumstances that dictates when it is possible to get their equipment.  A reasonable set of bogu goes for around $200 – $300 and can range much higher for better quality.  Students should consult the instructor or other senior members of the club for assistance with selecting armor before purchasing anything from an online kendo supplier.

Can I earn rank in kendo?

Yes.  Most kendo practitioners earn rank at some point in their training.  Students are given the opportunity to test for rank in kendo at various annual events held across the Southeast and other regions by the All U.S. Kendo Federation (AUSKF).   The AUSKF is the governing body for kendo in the United States and is affiliated with the International Kendo Federation.   Unlike other martial arts, kendo practitioners do not wear colored belts or any other markings to denote their rank.  Skill in the training hall (dojo) is the most important determinant of rank.


Use the form below to find out more about the Nashville Kendo Club!

We start classes for beginners every three months – the first Sunday in January, April, July, and October .  If you would like to visit and observe just let us know and we will be sure to accommodate you!


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