Kendo Equipment Knowledge – Too basic to ask: DO

An image of special Kendo Mune and Do order

In kendo, the do is used to protect the body. The do covers the body from the stomach up to the chest, and is rich in design. There are all kinds of embroidery and colors, which makes the do the easiest part of kendo equipment to express individuality. The do basically consists of the breastplate part that protects the chest and the base part that protects the stomach.

The breastplate is made of heartwood covered with cow skin. This allows it to absorb heavy blows. The breastplate typically has many types of embroidery and fancy designs. Some traditional designs include kumogata (cloud pattern) and shokko (lattice). Recently simple dotted designs are popular too. When you put the do on, you get pumped up feeling like you have become a sengoku warrior!

Kendo Mune breastplate part

The base is made of plastic or bamboo. Plastic ones are cheaper and are usually used by beginners and intermediate level players. Do made of bamboo typically have the surface covered with cow skin and painted with lacquer. There are also ones covered in shark skin, and there are all ways to give the finishing touch. Do are usually painted in black, but you can use ones with other colors too. Do is the part of equipment where you can best express yourself. Some people like bright colors, and other people prefer colors that keep them calm. Many schools like to arrange all their players in the same color.

Kendo Do-dai part backside view

The do is fitted by tying the strings at the back of your body. It is not difficult to fit it on. When choosing the do, you must be mindful of the size before you pick your favorite color or design. I often see people whose do are too big and it is shaking as they move about. Try and choose one that fits your body size nicely.