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This work is based on a collection of insights and recollections obtained or coerced from many of our past and present members. It is not a unique project, for back in the late 1980s the then Melbourne Kendo Club President, Peter Hocking used the VKR Magazine to call for contributions to develop an archive of Club history. In similar fashion, John Butler published ďA Personal History of the Melbourne Kendo ClubĒ in 1994 just prior to his death in an attempt to put in place a record for future generations of Kendo, Iaido and Jodo devotees.

History is not for everyone. This is a lesson I have indelibly learned, especially in the last 12 months when I began asking for recollections and contributions from colleagues. To those I pestered relentlessly I hope this writing helps vindicate my actions. My motives were purely to get as many people who have been part of this Association involved and have their input included. I wasnít completely successful, so my apologies to anyone who feels they were not consulted or that Iíve got some aspect of what happened wrong.

Obviously not everyone is a writer nor as passionate about history as some are. Their passions lie elsewhere, whether in the physical struggle to understand and conquer this thing called Kendo or the pursuit of something else, not quite tangible but out there. They have my respect as much as those who managed to write something down.

Iíve tried to acknowledge contributions and cite authors in the text where I have used their words. The Testimonies section speaks for itself, those who contributed having been published in the order that I received their writing or photographs.

A picture is worth a thousand words so please enjoy the photographs donated to the cause by so many. Thank you therefore to Nagae Sensei, Shizawa Sensei, Takeuchi Sensei, Meg Irwin, Brett Smith, Stilts, Hayami Aboutaleb, Jason Widdy, Mark and Alelie Butler (John Butlerís family), Kim and Daryl Shields (also Johnís family) and Paul Bserani for taking the time to copy their many historical photographs. Also to Ron Jones who managed to convert some historical video tapes to DVD. Much appreciated.

I must thank Sensei Nagae here for something special. He agreed to look at my original draft in March 2007. We met three weeks later for a couple of hours following Sunday morning training. Here he patiently drew my attention to grammatical and spelling errors that would put a modern day spelling checker to shame! Indeed, for a man with English as a second language I was amazed at his command of the written English language and very impressed with his suggestions for improving the text.

Further to this, Sensei allowed me to borrow his diaries and photograph albums that meticulously detailed every AKR National Championship and VKR event that he was involved in over the last 30 years. Truly, Sensei Nagae should be acknowledged not only for the wealth of experience he has brought to Kendo in this country but also for the fine, intellectual and academic acuity with which he observes and has participated in our growth.

Tony Corrigan was the right person at the right time when he volunteered to take on the CD, jacket design and take care of printing. Thank you Tony!

My thanks to Glenda, Emily, Ryan & Cain Oliver who keep me honest and proud. Finally my thanks to you, the unnamed and to everyone in the Victorian Kendo Renmei for sharing your enjoyment of the three disciplines that brings us together. The VKR is a fine institution, only as strong as the commitment of its members. It is an honour to be part of our Renmei and to know so many of you as friends.

Gary Oliver
Victorian Kendo Renmei

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