Southern California
Kendo Federation



Kendo matches (shiai) are conducted within a square or rectangular court nine to eleven meters on a side. Two players compete, one wearing a red tag on the back and the other wearing a white tag. There are three referees on the court: the shushin (chief referee) and two fukushin (subreferees). The shushin is responsible for administering the match and making pronouncements. All three referees are responsible for determining yuukou datotsu (valid points) and prohibited acts.

Each referee holds a red flag and a white flag. A yuukou datotsu is signalled by raising the flag corresponding to the player who made the strike. If at least two referees agree on the yuukou datotsu, the match is stopped and a point is awarded to the player.

Most tournaments are conducted with sanbon shoubu (three point matches). In sanbon shoubu, the player who scores two points first is the winner. If the match period expires and only one player has scored a point, that player wins the match. The time limit for championship matches (e.g. the AUSKF Championships) is five minutes. For local tournaments, it is generally shorter, typically three minutes.

If a winner has not been determined by the end of the match period, an enchou (extension) of the match is allowed. During enchou, the first player to score a point wins the match. For championship matches, the enchou period is unlimited. In local tournaments, the enchou is typically limited to one or two minutes with two encho allowed, except for semi-final and final matches which have unlimited enchou.

Yuukou Datotsu (Valid Point)
Yuukou datotsu is defined as an accurate strike or thrust made to a datotsu bui area of of the opponent's protector using the datotsu bu area of the shinai, with high spirit and correct posture, and followed by zanshin (mental and physicall alertness against the opponent's counter-attack). Refer to the following figures:

Datotsu bu (Valid Strike Area of Protectors)
Datotsu bu of protective equipment
Datotsu bu (Valid Strike Area of Shinai)
Datotsu bu of shinai

A yuukou datotsu may be revoked under the following circumstances:
  1. Lack of zanshin.
  2. Exaggerated gestures of surplus power or effectiveness of datotsu.
Prohibited Acts
The following prohibited acts result in the offending player losing the match.
  1. Drug abuse.
  2. Insulting the opponent or referees.
  3. Use of disallowed protectors.
  4. Incapacitating the opponent such that he or she is unable to continue.
The following prohibited acts result in the offending player receiving a hansoku (foul). When a player receives two hansoku, the opposing player is awarded one point.
  1. Stepping outside the court.
  2. Dropping one's shinai or losing control of it for more than a moment.
  3. Tripping the opponent or sweeping his or her legs.
  4. Unfairly pushing the opponent outside the court.
  5. Request for suspension of the match without justifiable reason.
  6. Putting one's hand on the opponent or holding the opponent.
  7. Holding the opponent's shinai.
  8. Touching one's own shinai on its edge.
  9. Intentionally putting one's shinai on the opponent's shoulder.
  10. Intentionally wasting time.
  11. Unfairly doing tsuba zeriai.
  12. Unfairly making a strike or thrust.
  13. Aftering having fallen on the floor, lying on one's face without countering the opponent.

Copyright 1999 by the Southern California Kendo Federation
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