I’m very happy to have competed in the highest level competition. The experience is unique!
First let me shortly introduce my self:
My kendo grade is nidan, and I am doing kendo since 2009 but with a 3 year break in between. I come from the Croatian city of Rijeka where two of my colleagues and me founded the first dojo in 2010. Currently i am in charge of organizational and promotional matters for the dojo and acting as spokes person of the Croatian kendo association. Regarding the national team, I was selected by the Croatian coach mr. Christian Filippi about year and a half ago and this is my second big national team level competition (the first one was the European Championship last year in Budapest as reserve player in the team). At this WKC I was only competing in our team as fukushou, but also acted as team manager throughout entire WKC.
so about this WKC, my team and experience. it was a great experience and a enormous boost in confidence and determination. Seeing this level of kendo in just a few days is maybe only possible in Japan, but without the international component. I was honored that I could be a part and help with gaining some of the first time achievements of the team. First kanto-sho award and Borna Ban reaching top 16, the first woman from Croatia Emily Stojanov to compete at WKC, and the 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 hoped 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 it was an incredible and unforgettable experience, being able to stay and fight next to the strongest kenshi of the world such as Nishimura, Takenouchi, Watanabe, (and I am a big fan of all of them) is something that I couldn’t have 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 experienced 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.
To comment on the WKC, 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.