Page 35



This was an important year in Australian Kendo history. The 4th Australian Kendo Championships were held in Sydney from 13th – 15th April. These were conducted under the guidance of Mr. NAGAE, Mr. HIRANO, Mr. R.LAWLEY and Mr. MIYASAKA. In attendance were players from New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Australian Capital Territory.

1ST Place - Steven Lawley
2nd Place - Rod Prince
3rd Place - Eric Jeffrey

1st Place - New South Wales
2nd Place - Victoria
3rd Place - Queensland

Sydney 1979

Standing is a proud Steven Lawley and Family

Back: Ron Jones, Jeff Freeman, Bob Collins, John Butler & Nagae Sensei
Front; Marg Irwin, Hirano Sensei & Vicki Pittard.

John Butler & Nagae Sensei

Sapporo 1979

At the completion of the Australian Championships the Australian Team for the World Championships was chosen (right).

For the first time Australia was able to send a full team to the World Championships. While Rex Lawley and Darrel Morris had represented Australia at the first World Championships in 1970, Ron Bennett had been to the second World Championships in Los Angeles and the third in Milton Keyes, England in 1976, the group sent to Japan in July 1979 contained 14 Kendo Players, all eager to learn and that’s what they did.


Team Leader:
R. Lawley
Team Coach:
S. Nagae
Team Captain:
S. Lawley

Team members:
J. Fennessy
M. Payne
J. Butler
R. Bennett
R. Prince
E Jeffrey

In Melbourne the Victorian team members all trained hard and worked at fund raising to help pay for their trip to Sapporo. John Butler remembers the efforts of club members such as Margaret Irwin who tried to organize Japanese film nights to raise money.

Nagae Sensei organized much of the itinerary including training on arrival in Tokyo. While the group stayed at the Tokyo YMCA, training was at the Metropolitan Police Dojo under the direction of Nagashima Sensei. Nagae Sensei recalls that within a “very short time” all the Australian Kendo Ka were exhausted from the jigeiko with their hosts.

Mr M Sato, President of Snow Brand was so happy for the Australian Kendo team’s participation in the World Kendo Championships that he invited all the delegates for dinner.

A specially chartered 747 took competitors from all competing nations to Sapporo on the northern island of Hokkaido for the 4th World Kendo Championships.

Members of the Australian team in Tokyo.

In Sapporo the opening ceremony was a truly magnificent occasion, the huge crowd waiting for the entry of each team, which were lined up alphabetically. To the sound of “Entry of the Gladiators” played by a full military brass band the teams began to enter the stadium, first Argentina followed by Australia.

A white hakama clad girl lead the Australian contingent with a sign in katakana naming the country. Steven Lawley followed carrying the Australian flag. After him came Rex Lawley and Sensei Nagae in green Australian jackets, then Jamie Fennessy, Michael Payne, Eric Jeffrey, John Butler, Ron Bennett and Rod Prince.

All teams lined up in front of the dais in front of Crown Prince Akahito for the opening address. The team’s performance wasn’t as good as hoped, the Australians going down in rapid succession in the teams to Britain 3 –1 and Hawaii 5 – nil. The individuals the following day resulted in a similar result. But good results were obtained in the Goodwill Tournaments the next day, Eric JEFFREY coming second in his grade and Steven LAWLEY coming fifth in his.

The trip was a great experience and many new friends were made. The group also got together with many old friends, such as Mr. OKURA, Mr. YOSHIDA, Mr. TAKEUCHI, Mr. TAJIMA, Mr. FUKUSHIMA, Mr. IHO, Mr. KIYONO, and Mr. NAGASHIMA.

L – R standing: Rex Lawley, Steven Lawley, Sensei Nagae, Eric Jeffrey, Jamie Fennessy, Michael Payne, Ron Bennett. Kneeling: Rod Prince and John Butler.
Opening Ceremony: The Australian Team enters with Steve Lawley holding the Australian Flag

It must be recorded that John Butler was asked to respond on behalf of all the foreign competitors during the closing ceremony, a high honour and one which reflects the standing which John had in the Kendo community.

All team members participated at the 5th Summer school again held at the Gedatsu Kai in Kitamoto, Saitama. It was the end of the decade and the start of a new era for Kendo in Australia.

During 1979 members of the Melbourne Kendo Club traveled to Cobram to demonstrate Kendo at the Cobram Show. Members present on the day included Sensei Nagae, John Butler, Eric Jeffrey, Mr Hirano, Bob Collins, Ron Jones and Michael Lind.

Page 35