Kendo is a physically and mentally challenging activity that combines strong martial arts values with sporting-like physical elements. Practitioners of kendo are called kendōka, meaning "one who practices kendo", or kenshi, meaning "swordsman".
The name Ichi ByōShi is from a saying by the legendary Japanese swordsman Miyamoto Musashi and means "in one breath". It reflects the intention to act in an instant, so that realisation, decision and action are instantaneous.
Kendo is practiced wearing traditionally styled clothing and protective armour (bōgu), using one or two bamboo swords (shinai) as weapons. Kendo may be seen as a Japanese style of fencing. However, the movements in kendo are different from European fencing because the design of the sword is different, as is the way it is used. Unlike western style fencing, kendo employs strikes with a defined 'edge' and tip of the shinai. Kendo training is quite noisy in comparison to other martial arts or sports. This is because kendōka use a shout, or kiai, to express their spirit, and when a strike or cut is performed, the front foot contacts the floor in a motion similar to stomping, called fumikomi-ashi.