WRESTLING 101: Kendo Stick Q&A

sandman-kendo-stickChairs: I get it. Tables: why not?. Brass Knuckles: it’s a pugilist’s right hand (or left, if southpaw), literally. Garbage cans? They’re logically at ringside reach, so that makes sense, as well. Everyone loves a tidy venue. Ladders? The means to one of the best match formats available.

Kendo stick/Singapore cane?

Wikipedia tells me the Shinai, or kendo stick, dates back to the 1500s…a useful training add to avoid slicing your best samurai friend’s arm off when teaching sword parries. But how did this technique tool stalwart of 500+ years become a mainstay of professional wrestling?

Despite far too much research on this topic…it appears no one knows for sure. Steve Blackman generally gets credit for introducing it into the mainstream. Tommy Dreamer and Sandman and company arguably perfected its use, regularly implementing its within hardcore matches. House of Hardcore, indeed.

In practice, the symmetry of the kendo stick makes for good camera work…likewise the gratifying SMACK(!) of wooden strips breaking away with each touch of an opponent’s limb. I confess to giddiness at the point where the stick declares no mas via dramatic bend.

Also – and unlike other ring implements – the kendo stick doesn’t discriminate based on assailant size. Where garbage cans and/or tables can engulf a smaller athlete, the kendo stick is an equal opportunity damage peripheral. The satisfying wide swing of the Big Show works equally as well as the quick swipe of  Dean Ambrose. Likewise among the smallest of managers looking for a means to choke an opponent in the corner and/or defend him/herself against a feisty opposition stable.

Still, I can’t help wonder…what was the thought process behind creating a marriage between a 16th Century martial arts implement and professional wrestling? With homage to CZW, I somewhat understand light tubes and syringes…even barbed wire lit on fire (thank you, Terry Funk and Sabu!). Kendo stick?

Logic, be damned. I’ll proudly remain potentially the lone, vocal participant hoping the cornucopia of under apron goodies produces the unlikeliest of outcomes.

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