Oxford Kendo is a British Kendo Association (BKA) accredited club incorporated with Oxford University Kendo and Oxford Brookes Kendo. Our members include local residents, students and juniors in the Oxfordshire and surrounding areas. Oxford Kendo also incorporates Oxford University Kendo Club & Oxford Brookes University Kendo Club to provide kendo training and instruction from complete beginners to advanced kendoka.
Our instructors include Yasuyuki Hiyama (7th Dan, GB Team Coach), Louie Chen (4th Dan, Club Leader), Luis Trabuco (4th Dan), David Pepper (3rd Dan) and Richard Kupce (3rd Dan) as well as others. The club is managed by volunteer members to create a kendo community for the Oxfordshire area.
We regularly have 40 or more registered members including juniors from the age of 5 to more senior members in a multicultural and multinational diverse environment.
Our members compete regularly at national and international kendo tournaments with some members are also on the GB Kendo Team. International events that we have participated in include the London Cup, Bowden Taikai, Tonbo Cup, Welsh Open, Five Nations, European Kendo Championships and the World Kendo Championship. Former members include members such as Cris Ballinas, now the President of the South American Kendo Federation and Geraldine Mattson of the GB Women’s Team and Stuart Gibson former GB Team member.
A FOREWORD: KENDO 剣道 – THE WAY OF THE SWORD
All Japan Kendo Federation
Translated by Yasuyuki Hiyama Sensei (7th Dan, Oxford Kendo Head Sensei)
Concept of Kendo:
Kendo is the path toward the formation of human character (that is gained) through practicing the true principles of the Japanese sword*.
Notes for *: “the true principles of sword” is a translation of “剣の理法 (Ken no rihou)”. It can be translated into “the nature of sword”. What it means here is both mental and physical forces and techniques regarded as causing and regulating phenomena in offence and defence by Japanese sword.
Mindset for Practicing Kendo
To learn kendo correctly and seriously
To cultivate a vigorous sprit via mental and physical disciplines through the distinguishing features of kendo
To hold courtesy in high esteem
To put high value on trustfulness
To commit oneself to sincerity
To always strive for self improvement in doing all the above
To love one’s country and society in an effort to widely contribute to peace and prosperity of humankind.
ORIGIN OF KENDO:
Kendo originated from Japanese sword fighting without the use of armour [Chutaro Ogawa (9th Dan Master); Ken To Zen 『剣と禅』.
Kendo started as a martial art (剣術: Ken-Jyutsu). Ken-kyutsu focused on the principle of ‘to kill or be killed’ with techniques to achieve it. Various ken-jyutsu schools have emerged since the 15th century from warrior Samurai. These schools were influenced by Zen historically from the Kamakura period in the 12th century. Zen played a very important role when this martial art turned into the art of swordsmanship in the early to mid 17th century. More information on the history of kendo in English can be found on www.kendo.or.jp.
When we practice kendo, we use the shinai (bamboo sword). It is important to always think of the shinai as a real sword or we lose the spirit of kendo. We also must regularly practice kata (型) to understand the essence of kendo. Kata can be described as a set of detailed pattern of movements originally used as teaching and training methods from combat techniques that have passed down through the generations. Kata practice is very important as it was the original practice method before the armour practice method was invented and embodies the essence of a real sword fighting without wearing armour. In Japanese, we use the expression “Real sword!” synonymous with the expression of “Seriously!”. Why not use this mind for your kendo practice!
– Yasuyuki Hiyama Sensei (7th Dan, Oxford Kendo Head Sensei)
HISTORY OF THE OXFORD KENDO CLUB
The first Kendo club in Oxford started in 1983 at Oxford Brookes University in Wheatley through the founders Phil Belcher from Kodokan dojo (formally Atarashii Kendo Club – Amersham), John Foreman, support from Terry Holt Sensei (Kyoshi, 7th Dan, Mumeishi) and two members from Reading Kendo Club Martin Townsend and Barry Davis Porter. Oxford Kendo club was also one of the six clubs forming the Thames Valley Kyokai in 1986 and included the Reading, Basingstoke, Abingdon, Mumeishi and Kodokan dojos.
In 1997, the club formally became Oxford University Kendo Club with Dr. Kaz Oishi Sensei and four members including Mike Molloy, Sam Itagaki, Seiji Ito and Dave Lever helped by a grant from Nissan. Oishi Sensei was at Oxford University for his studies and a 5th Dan kendoka at the time. He was also the former Tokyo University Kendo Team Captain.
HISTORY OF KENDO IN OXFORD
The first mention of kendo in Oxford appears through Fujisake while he was a student in Oxford in 1905, however it is likely he may have practised only judo:
1905 16th November.The F J Norman demonstration in London.
Francis James Norman on his arrival in London demonstrates ‘jujutsu and kenjutsu at the Marlborough Hall Polytechnic, Regent Street. Instructors present: Kanaya, Tani Yukio, Miyake, Fujisake, Eida, Miss Roberts, F.J. Norman, Sergeant-Major Betts, and some pupils from the Japanese School of Ju-jitsu, 305 Oxford Street’.
(From:’A man of Many Parts’- by Paul Budden. Published in Kendo World 2014).
There are records also from 1926 with Koizumi Gunji and Tani Yukio from the Budokwai in London teaching Judo at Oxford University. Koizumi sensei & Tani sensei also practised kendo with Koizumi sensei having taken part in the Garden Party demonstration in May 1937 with R A Lidstone ( Lidstone Taikai) as part of a kendo demonstration for Prince Chichibu in his honour at the Hurlingham Sports Club, Fulham, London. This was with members of the Anglo Japanese Judo Club who organised the event. Those taking part also included Fukima, Kudzutani Arataro, Koizumi Gunji,Sakakibara, Omori, Okamoto Yoshitomo, Mishiku Kaoru, Nogi, Calmer, R.A. Lidstone, Fenlon, Rudwell, Cope, Hanibourn, Pepler and Philips.