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Staying calm under pressure2 min read

Mar 8, 2023 2 min

Staying calm under pressure2 min read

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Morning practice at the dojo

The Auckland Kendo Club has just hosted one of the most prestigious seminars in their history, with 8th Dan (the highest level possible) Sensai, Takahashi Hideaki, making a visit to New Zealand from Japan. In addition, 7th Dan New Zealand master, Alex Bennett, who lives in Kyoto and is a Professor at Kansai University, returned home for the event.

It is rare for seminars like this to be held outside of Japan, and as a result the chance to learn from masters drew Kenshi (Swordsmen) from all over Australasia and the Pacific. The three-day event in February involved training sessions across the first two days, at the Onehunga YMCA and the club’s Dojo on Malvern Road, with a grading event on the Sunday. The grading session was another rarity, as it is one of the few times candidates for 5th Dan have been tested outside of Japan.

Takahashi Hideaki Sensai has been practising Kendo since he was five, he is a former World Champion and a senior Police Officer in his home country.  The Sensai says Kendo makes you stronger in both body and mind, and it is about self-development. It is a perpetual path of self-improvement to become a better person and as a result a better Kenshi. He adds that it has great benefits in life, as it teaches you how to stay calm under pressure. Patience and choosing the right moment to strike are also fundamental to Kendo, along with respect for others.

The martial art of Kendo developed in the 17th and 18th centuries as Samurai moved away from their warrior traditions. Many still wanted to keep the training and disciplines of their past, and the result was bamboo swords replaced steel. Kendo bouts are compelling viewing, with competitors initially waiting patiently for the right moment, but when they strike, the action is fast and furious.

The Auckland Club, which is the largest club in the country, moved to Malvern Road in Onehunga about a year ago, where they built a brand new Dojo. There are regular lessons for beginners from beginners aged 10 years and over, with the club providing the necessary equipment. For more information you can contact them at facebook.com/akld.kendo/