Chanbara is a soft sword sport which originated in Japan over 40 years ago as a way to increase interest in Kendo. Today, it is a competitive sport in its own right, with an annual world championships, national teams, and programs in 45 countries.
Chanbara offers an excellent path to the study of Japanese sword and hafted weapons - the discipline, timing, and accuracy demanded mirror that of kenjutsu, and the movement patterns we teach are those of traditional Japanese technique. The choken models the long sword, the kodachi the short sword, the yari and naginata the spear and halberd respectively. And because the weapons are foam padded with a graphite core, minimal protective equipment is required, keeping safety high and cost low.
For a modern competitive fencer, chanbara works opponent assessment, timing, reaction speed, and distance. The format is different, but the core skills are the same. Try chanbara - you will enjoy the fast full contact, and it will help your fencing.