Modern samurais do their thing

Kendo is a fast-paced martial art that requires incredible focus by participants.

Some of the best kendoka (kendo practitioners) in South Africa met for a day of action at an event hosted by the Shi Hoko Kendo Dojo.

The Olivedale dojo held an inter-dojo in Auckland Park on 4 November, which saw participants in the Japanese martial art gather from all over Gauteng to do their gradings and test their skills against each other.

Kendoka acknowledge each other before fighting.

Many of the kendoka were part of the South African team that took part in the World Kendo Championships in Korea Republic in September. Some of these kendoka also acted as referees in divisions they did not compete in.

VIDEO: Become a modern samurai at the Shi Hoko Kendo Dojo in Olivedale 

The competition was tough but everyone showed great sportsmanship no matter the result.

After the kendoka graded for higher level belts, a beginner challenge saw participants put together their shinai (bamboo sword) in the fastest time possible.

Then, a competition was held for U21 kendoka. It was the first time kendoka at this level competed while wearing armour, in South Africa.

The Shi Hoko Inter-Dojo sees the sport’s best compete for glory.

It’s a game of second-guessing your opponent in kendo.

This was followed by two competitions – the kyu grade shiai saw everyone under the black belt grade compete, and the kachinuki was a 10-person-per team tournament.

“The kachinuki had people in different dojos compete in the same teams so it helped build camaraderie,” said Shi Hoko’s head instructor, sensei Wendy Vermeulen.

South African kendo captain, Brendan Dateling acts as a referee while he is not competing.

She added that it was the first time an inter-dojo had both an U21 competition and a kachinuki.

After these competitions, a prizegiving ceremony followed.

Also read: Kendo takes over Blairgowrie Recreation Centre 

There were many winners across the divisions, but the ‘warrior spirit’ of kendo was the true winner on the day, due to the passion for kendo and camaraderie that was displayed.

“The event was a big success, everyone enjoyed it. It was like everyone won under the same umbrella rather than just one or two people,” said Vermeulen.

Still, recognition should go to Andrew Ingle for winning the U21 competition, followed by Eiji Dioda in second and Kudjo Witbooi and Devin Dryer tied third, added Vermeulen.

The Shi Hoko Inter-Dojo sees the sport’s best compete for glory.

Damian Rogans won the kyu grade shiai followed by Alexander Kent. Anika Solanki and Devin Dryer shared third place.

Vermeulen said the inter-dojo was the first of its kind but would become an annual event due to its success.

Also read: Local kendoka hope to put SA on the map at World Kendo Championships in Korea 

Details: Shi Hoko Kendo Dojo [email protected]; 079 490 5470.

  AUTHOR
Nicholas Zaal
News Editor

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