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