Kendo, known as the “way of the sword”, is a thrilling and ancient Japanese style of fencing that involves wielding a two-handed bamboo sword. Originally developed from the techniques of the fierce samurai warriors, the art of swordsmanship became a way of fostering discipline, patience, and skill for building character as opportunities for real sword combat dwindled after the unification of Japan in the 1600s. By the 18th century, practitioners had invented protective armour and the shinai, a bamboo sword, which enabled them to engage in realistic sword-fighting without fear of injury. In a kendo match, participants grip the shinai with both hands and aim to land blows on specific scoring areas of their opponent's body, such as the head, wrist, and trunk. A thrust to the throat also counts as a point. The attacker must call out the name of the point they have struck at the same time they land their blow, which is verified by judges. The first combatant to score two points is declared the winner, making kendo a fast-paced and thrilling martial art to watch and practise. In terms of numbers, kendo is the most popular budo discipline in Japan, and is gaining a large following internationally.