so first let me shortly introduce my self:
by kendo grade i am nidan, doing kendo since 2009 but with a 3 year break in between… Coming from Croatian city of Rijeka where two of my colegues and me founded a first dojo in 2010… currently i am
in charge of organizational and promotional matters for dojo and acting as spokes person of Croatian kendo association… Regarding national team I was selected by croatian coach mr. Christian Filippi about year and a half ago and this is my
second “big” national team level competition (first one was european championship last year in budapest as replacement in team). at this wkc i was competing only in team as fukoshou, but also acting as team manager troughout entire wkc
so about this wkc, my team and experience. it was a great experience and a enormous boost in confidence and determinity. Seeing this levels of kendo in just few days is maybe possible only in Japan, bit without the international component. I was honoured that i could be a part and help with gaining some of the first time
achivements of the team. First kanto-sho award and Borna Ban reaching top 16, First women from Croatia Emily Stojanov compeeting at wkc, and a first team victory at wkc against Singapore. As always and also on this high level it is great to see kendoka keeping the highest level of respect and friendship, and sharing an honest handshake or a friendly hug after a shiai.
Being able to participate in WKC was a lifelong dream for me, ever since watching the NHK documentary of Eiga-sensei’s success at the 2003 WKC in Glasgow. So to be standing there, surrounded by the most elite kendo players from around the world, was an unbelievable experience that left me speechless and overwhelmed. Thailand Kendo Team did our best (both men and women) but unfortunately we did not obtain the results we had hope for. However, we were able to witness high-level kendo that served as an inspiration and motivation for us all. It goes without saying that the Japanese and Korean national teams were awe-inspiring, but I was most impressed by the performance of other nations such as USA and France, in particular their fighting spirit and determination. I hope to bring back these stories and experiences to help promote the growth of such spirit in my country as well. Thailand will work hard to be ready for the next WKC in Paris!
This is our first WKC and was an incredible and unforgetable experience. Be able to stay and fight next to the strongest kenshins of the world such as Nishimura, Takenouchi, Watanabe, big fan of all of them by the way, is something that i never imagined. The level and spirit of all the competitors is really amazing and inspire me to train even harder in order to be stronger for the next WKC. The male’s Team final was probably the most exciting moment than i ever lived in Kendo. The spirit and energy they had was shared to the entire stadium and i think that the people will talk about this WKC for a long time.
I think to answer that question, I need to put into perspective my background first. I was born and raised in Hawaii, but for 11 years I lived in New York which is where I began kendo. I moved with my Japanese husband back to Hawaii in November of 2016. Overall I’ve been doing kendo for about 12 years now. Being in the All US Kendo Federation, I did not stand a chance of making the team as they are incredibly talented. Hawaii, although they are the first federation to exist, even before Japan’s was created, they are smaller so I had a better chance to make the team.
It was my first time to view and participate in a world tournament. It was incredible to see firsthand the kind of training the other teams go through. The level of competition that the US, Japanese, and Korean teams are at is incredibly high. The pressure of winning is so strong because it is for your country (or in my case, Hawaii). Playing as a representative makes you realize that this is for something bigger than individual gratification, and that there is something magical about representing your country. The camaraderie for each team was evident, but as serious as all the players were, it was clear when the tournament was over that we were all friends as we had all shared the same struggle. I am very lucky to had had this experience.
This is my first WKC ever, i am so grateful and honored to represent The Netherlands.
Before this tournament i struggled with my self confidence and skill. It wasn’t until the Summer Seminar in Rotterdam under the guidance of Nabeyama sensei, that i started to believe more in my capabilities. The seminar was visited by team members of other nationalities, such as Germany and Lithuania, so everybody trained hard and gave me more spirit.
Fast forward to the WKC, we had the Dutch Ladies ending with pride against the Korean Ladies. They had such fierce spirit, it inspired us all to be even better.
During the team matches we began full spirit and came out of our poule.
Eventually we had to fight Sweden, they brought a very experienced team. It was a close fight until the end, but we lost eventually.
Our journey from that moment did not stop but merely pause. We are going to come out even stronger for the years to come!
As this was my first World Championship, I was quite nervous. There were many strong competitors from all over the world, and I was not sure what kind of kendo to expect from all of these different people. I was very happy to see that kendo has grown to the point where every country is able to send a capable team. Of course, Japan is still dominating the scene, but countries like Korea are quickly catching up. They put up a good fight against Japan in the finals, refusing to give up until the very end.
Watching all these high level matches was very humbling, and has shown me that I still have much to learn. I feel more motivated than ever to train hard, and I hope that I get the chance to fight for my country again at the next WKC.