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  • How many people practice Kendo in the USA?

    I'm new to Kendo. This question has come up a time or two when I tell people about it.
    Thanks

  • #2
    The 2010 AUSKF Membership was about 4,672 paid members. My understanding is that France, Germany, Britain, and China are larger with 6,000 or more members each. I do not have the numbers for Hawaii, which needs to be added to get a true total for the US.

    In the AUSKF there are about 340 people with the kendo rank between 5-8 dan, and 30 with the iaido rank between 5-7 dan. The breakdown for 4, 5, 6, and 7 dan kendo holders is consistent with <30% of each group being US Citizens.

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    • #3
      I believe the UK kendo population is around 1000...certainly nowhere near 6000.

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      • #4
        Hi,



        In France, the number of paid members for the kendo alone is around 5200 and the french federation count around 9000 members (1800 for iai, 1200 for chanbara, 500 for jodo and somewhere in the hundred for naginata and kyudo)



        ++

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        • #5
          French federation has chanbara? that's exciting.

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          • #6
            The number of people who practice kendo in the USA is nebulous. Membership in the AUSKF is not a particularly accurate indicator. As you here are aware, many members drop out within weeks or months of starting practice, others years later. In 2010 the AUSKF cumulative numerical membership count had clicked over 11,000. Subtracting 4,672 paid members tells us that some 6,000+ others did not renew their membership in 2010. In our dojo alone, which fluctuates between 30-40 members, 22 of those that paid up in 2010 have either quit or moved away (two that moved are still active in another federation). On paper our dojo still has about 38 paid members, due to newcomers coming in, but I would guess only a little over half that number renew next year.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by JSchmidt View Post
              I believe the UK kendo population is around 1000...certainly nowhere near 6000.
              Thank you for the correction. That makes more sense to me.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by JSchmidt View Post
                I believe the UK kendo population is around 1000...certainly nowhere near 6000.
                Under 1000 last I heard

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by yoda-waza View Post
                  The number of people who practice kendo in the USA is nebulous. Membership in the AUSKF is not a particularly accurate indicator. As you here are aware, many members drop out within weeks or months of starting practice, others years later. In 2010 the AUSKF cumulative numerical membership count had clicked over 11,000. Subtracting 4,672 paid members tells us that some 6,000+ others did not renew their membership in 2010. In our dojo alone, which fluctuates between 30-40 members, 22 of those that paid up in 2010 have either quit or moved away (two that moved are still active in another federation). On paper our dojo still has about 38 paid members, due to newcomers coming in, but I would guess only a little over half that number renew next year.
                  I think that's a good point you make and yeah, that's the same situation with us.
                  For the past several years, we seem to have right about 30ish people sign up... At least 4 or 5 will not sign up next year, but we'll somehow manage to pick up 4 or 5 newbies.. so it all comes out in the wash.

                  I want to say that when I started back in 1994, I was told there were "about 3000" ... Dunno how accurate that number was.

                  Still... I find it interesting that France and Germany (but apparently not the UK) have current #s similar to those of the US... ~5000ish .... since the US population is some 300,000,000 and France and Germany are at 65 million and 80 million, respectively.

                  Are the percentages due to geographical issues (population closer together in Europe than in the US) or cultural issues, etc.? I have no idea. I just find it interesting..

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by tango View Post
                    I think that's a good point you make and yeah, that's the same situation with us.
                    For the past several years, we seem to have right about 30ish people sign up... At least 4 or 5 will not sign up next year, but we'll somehow manage to pick up 4 or 5 newbies.. so it all comes out in the wash.

                    I want to say that when I started back in 1994, I was told there were "about 3000" ... Dunno how accurate that number was.

                    Still... I find it interesting that France and Germany (but apparently not the UK) have current #s similar to those of the US... ~5000ish .... since the US population is some 300,000,000 and France and Germany are at 65 million and 80 million, respectively.

                    Are the percentages due to geographical issues (population closer together in Europe than in the US) or cultural issues, etc.? I have no idea. I just find it interesting..
                    I was wondering much the same. Kendo is more or less invisible in the USA and the same is probably true in europe. Are the national organizations more active?

                    Perhaps some european kendoka can chime in.

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                    • #11
                      I have been told that the massive difference in numbers between Britain and France can be attributed to funding*.

                      Both French and British associations originated from Judo back in the day. However, where British Kendo spilt from Judo 30/40 years ago, France have retained their affiliation.... as a result, French Kendo has been carried along with Judo's explosion in Olympic funding while British Kendo has been left behind. There's now more kendoka in Paris than the whole of the UK.

                      * This is all second hand info, so I could be wrong.

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                      • #12
                        I knew a several French judoka including a sensei, and we have a French kenshi at my kendo-jo now. From them I've heard that the martial arts in general are a more common pursuit in France than in the US. I've also heard some parallels in budo culture between Japan and Europe as far as honor and the history of nobility is concerned.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Dezza View Post
                          I have been told that the massive difference in numbers between Britain and France can be attributed to funding*.
                          Not sure I would look at funding as the reason in the US for the low numbers. There is about $800,000 USD in the AUSKF bank account, which I would think would be enough to promote kendo participation in the US to a point at least equal to France or China.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by R Stroud View Post
                            Not sure I would look at funding as the reason in the US for the low numbers. There is about $800,000 USD in the AUSKF bank account, which I would think would be enough to promote kendo participation in the US to a point at least equal to France or China.
                            I thought it was only $600,000 after the us team expenses :-P (joke its a joke)

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