chapter  1
The Historical Setting
Pages 1

Because the sword was one of the principal weapons employed by Japanese warriors throughout the periods mentioned above (Heian, Kamakura, warring states and Tokugawa periods), kendo is one of the oldest forms of Japanese martial arts. Of course, its roots can be traced to the legendary and early historical periods. But throughout these periods, swords were straight-edged* and skills in swordsmanship were not refined. Slanted swords were developed sometime in the late Heian period (around the eleventh or twelfth century) based on the actual combat experiences of the samurai and contributed to the refinement of skills. Hence, popular notion claims that schools of swordsmanship developed in Heian, present Kyoto,