*** WARNING ***

Memphis Kendo Club has been very fortunate in the past couple of years to have many people start kendo and, more importantly, stick with it long enough to get into bogu.

Since we have so many newbies now taking part in full keiko practice, this seems to be a good time to explore the most common type of "injury" in kendo --- BLISTERS (aka "kendo foot").

No matter who you are, you WILL deal with this at some point although you may actually be fortunate enough not to experience the full glory of the pictures I've attached below.
At the end of this, I'll provide some information on how to deal with these minor inconveniences so that you can get back to practice as soon as possible.

You can click on the pictures below to expand them. I've labeled 3 areas of the foot for ease of reference. While kendo foot is not limited to the left foot, blisters and well-developed calluses typically occur there.

(A) big toe
(B) ball of the foot
(C) the whole area of the upper foot, beneath the toes

(A) is unremarkable and typical of a well-developed callus on the big toe. By expanding the picture, you may also notice a very nice callus in the crease of the big toe. This is also a common area for blisters to form... think of that area as "(A), Jr."

(C) reflects a relatively large blister that formed and either ruptured on its own or was popped/sliced by the foot's owner. In any case, the skin has dried and this is -- in my experience at least -- the best way to deal with blisters of all sizes. Pop the blister and get all the pus out of the thing, allow it to dry and then cut away the dead skin. The time it takes for this to occur will vary from person to person. More details to follow...

Now, this is a real beauty. Every kenshi should WANT to get one like this at some point in his career. (Insert gratuitous comment about "REAL kendo people..")

The area at (A) is slightly remarkable in that the toe has a callus, yet a blister still managed to form. It is starting to heal very nicely with this foot's owner routinely removing dead/dried skin from the area. This will help in the callus-building process.

Area (C) is really choice. In the previous picture, it was obvious that a blister was formed and properly addressed when there was no significant ripping of the skin. In THIS picture, the blister may have ruptured significantly on its own such that the foot's owner needed to actually clip it off. Major tearing of the skin can happen in the course of practice and on this point, I speak from personal experience. It is NOT cool. If you experience this and there's just a small rupture, you might be best served to leave it alone and let it dry out (per picture 1). If you've got a flapper, best thing is to just clip off the skin and follow these steps:

To help with the drying process, be sure to clean your blister with hydrogen peroxide first.
Follow that up with a nice bandage, making use of an antibiotic gel like Neosporin, for example. This is good for when you have to wear shoes all day long at work. At night, take off any bandaging and let the blister dry.

Repeat this as often as necessary. You should be good to go for practice the following week.

If by the time you get back to practice the blister hasn't healed (or healed well enough), you're probably going to need some kind of protection if you want to take part in class. Some people like to use a tabi-like thing such as this:

These things are designed with a small patch of leather on the bottom to help grip the floor a little bit. The one time I used one, I didn't like it because it was actually slippery and made pushing off with the left foot virtually impossible. Your mileage may vary on the use of this thing.
Without question, though, a time-tested solution is plain ol' athletic tape.

KENDO FOOT (Part 2) - healing process with pictures

This is a follow-up to the original (and WiLdLy popular!) KENDO FOOT entry I made back in 2007 here:

In this sequel, I'd like to show a fairly common, albeit wimpy, blister as it goes through the healing process. The purpose of this is perhaps to give folks an idea of what to expect over time.

Much appreciation goes out to one of the newest members of the Memphis Kendo Club who was kind enough to provide these pictures and document the progress.


DAY ONE (click to enlarge photo) - Saturday
After two classes, here we go....

So, the picture above is the aftermath of a two-hour class on Saturday afternoon.

Very, very common place for blister formation, especially for new folks who are just learning proper kendo footwork. It never hurts to state the obvious, so I'll take that opportunity now. This blister in the crease underneath the big toe of the left foot is caused by standard kendo footwork (okuri-ashi), pushing the whole body with the left foot/leg. It's also common to see blister formation(s) form in the center of the foot, just beneath the toes in the middle.

Above, the blister appears to have ruptures on it's own. The foot's owner has cleaned the damaged area (note: his foot is in the sink) with tap water, followed by hydrogen peroxide (rinse and repeated three times, I'm told). Did not immediately dress the are for the rest of the day. Later that night, the foot's owner went out to dinner, having prepared the damaged area with Neosporin, band-aid, socks (clean ones, obviously) and good-breathing tennis shoes. Upong returning from dinner and just prior to bed for the night, he rinsed the area again with tap water and hydrogen peroxide.

DAY TWO (no picture available) - Sunday

Cleaned the area again with clean water and hydrogen peroxide. Did not bandage. Left to air dry all day.

DAY THREE (no picture) AND FOUR (pictured below) - Monday and Tuesday

Repeating the same cleaning process, Neosporin and band-aid for work all day, followed by removal of the band-aid after dinner. Decided to cut away the skin flat at this point.

The above doesn't appear to portray a whole lot of progress after four days.
My suspicion is that this is because the skin flap was not removed on Day One. Had the skin flap been cut off at that point, it's possible the area would not look as fresh/red as it does. This is not to say that what he did was necessarily bad or wrong. The foot's owner reported no pain/stinging on Day Four in any case.

DAY FIVE - Wednesday (Kendo practice night) (no picture available)
Foot's owner reports he simply rinsed the area clean with water before heading to class.
Did not feel it necessary to tape up the toe and had no discernable problems throughout the standard beginner's class (approx. 40 minutes of a lot of basic footwork).
DAY SIX and SEVEN - Thursday and Friday
Foot's owner reports he has not done any further treatment of the area since Wednesday evening. Continues to have no issues with the damaged/healing area (no burning/stinging sensation normally associated with blisters).
DAY EIGHT - Saturday (Kendo practice at 10am)

This picture was taken immediately after getting home from practice.
The blister area has dried out very nicely. Practice room was very, very cold and remained so throughout class. Worth noting in the picture above is that the skin has split. That doesn't always happen, but it's not uncommon. Taping up the toe prior to practice might have prevented this from occurring, but it's hard to say. In any case, you will experience this at some point.

This picture was taken after showering. Foot's owner reported a sharp stinging sensation in the shower (that's normal). As you can see, though, the area has healed quite nicely and the skin split is actually not at all very deep.
Taping up the toe for the next practice should not be necessary.


The latest victim of a good case of kendo foot is former-Memphis Kendo Club member, Jon Kahre, who came down from St Louis to practice recently.

Perhaps it's fitting that this should have happened at a Memphis practice.

Kendo foot start date: 1/27/10: (click images to enlarge)

As of 02/02/10 (one week later), Jon reports his course of treatment:
In the morning - peroxide, neosporin and a large band-aid/pad. Had to add a strip of tape (running front to back) to hold the band-aid in place.
In the evening - peroxide and left open [to air dry]

Bogu rental

Please keep this in mind starting with March 2009...

If you are using club bogu, there will be a $5 charge per month.

This is SEPARATE from the dues you pay directly to the Community Center.

If you pay in cash, fine.
If you pay with a check, please make it out to Memphis Kendo Club.

In either case, payment should be put in an envelope with YOUR NAME and the MONTH clearly indicated. Payment should be given to me or Mr Yasuda.

The reason this rental fee has been instituted is two-fold:
1. wear and tear on club bogu necessitates repair(s) and/or replacement over time, and
2. after using club bogu for a while, people need to be encouraged to purchase their own so that other beginners can use available club bogu.