Kendo in Alert Level 3

Dear NZKF members

As NZ approaches a step down to Alert Level 3 on Monday 27 April, what does this mean for keiko and kendo gatherings?


In the government guidelines below, gatherings are still prohibited, movement is still restricted to essential movement only and if people can stay home then they should. Low risk local recreation does not mean opening the dojo for practice as usual.

Alert Level 3

  • Stay home other than for essential personal movement
  • Physical distancing of two metres outside home (including on public transport), or one metre in controlled environments like schools and workplaces.
  • Immediate household bubble can expand to reconnect with close whānau, bring in caregivers or support isolated people.
  • Schools (years 1 to 10) and early childhood education centres can safely open, but will have limited capacity. Children should learn at home if possible.
  • People must work from home unless that is not possible.
  • Businesses can open premises, but cannot physically interact with customers.
  • Low risk local recreation activities are allowed.
  • Public venues are closed (e.g. libraries, museums, cinemas, food courts, gyms, pools, playgrounds, markets).
  • Gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed but only for wedding services, funerals and tangihanga. 
  • Healthcare services use virtual, non-contact consultations where possible.
  • Inter-regional travel is highly limited (e.g. for essential workers, with limited exemptions for others).
  • People at high risk of severe illness (older people and those with existing medical conditions) are encouraged to stay at home where possible, and take additional precautions when leaving home. They may choose to work. 

Personally, I honestly believe we are not out of the woods yet and the move to Alert Level 3 is a cautious step forward to see if numbers of community spread increase or not. Therefore, as responsible citizens and model kendoka, we must maintain discipline and follow these guidelines or contribute to the risk of NZ as a whole going back to Alert Level 4.

Looking ahead however, when NZ goes down to Alert Level 2, some level of keiko may be possible but still with significant restrictions. The NZ COVID-19 Alert Levels are summarised in the table below.

According to Alert Level 2 guidelines, there is a chance for clubs to conduct non-contact, non-kiai keiko as long as 2 metre distancing is maintained. This unfortunately still means bogu vs bogu keiko is not possible, but does allow the possibility of some of the instructors to put on bogu and act as motodachi for juniors. Again, strict 2 metre distancing must be maintained even between motodachi. Depending on the size of your training venue this may only allow for 2-3 motodachi at most.

This is not the time for us to become complacent but to maintain discipline among ourselves and calling others out to do the right thing.

Let’s keep each other and our families safe by doing the right thing.

Darryl Tong

NZKF Medical Advisor

Kendo Team NZ Doctor