Page 39


The Road to Kenshikan

1986 - 1989


The Nationals were held in Canberra at the ANU and Steven Lawley again took out the Open Individual, this time defeating Peter Szwarcbord in the final.  Victoria won the Open Teams and a young Paul Rixon and Joe Semmler came first and second respectively in the Kyu individuals. In the women’s, Chris Deering from Victoria came second.

The Victorian Team
Eric Jeffery, Tony Kay, Mark Wild, Sensei Nagae, Yakov Macak, Peter Day, Paul Macak, Peter Szwarcbord and Jim Grace.
Paul Macak, Mark Wild, Peter Szwarcbord, Yakov Macak, Eric Jeffrey, Peter Day and Tony Kay with the banner.

Note the new tenegue with the koala logo still in use. It was used in a variety of tee shirts and windcheaters to promote the Melbourne Kendo Club as these photos from Jim Grace’s collection indicate.

Contestants at the Nationals on the ANU lawns.

Peter Day and Nagae Sensei in festive mood.

Shizawa Sensei visited during the year and conducted a well attended seminar at the YWCA.


Following the 1986 Octoberfest Peter Day and Tony Kay started training at the Frankston Leisure Centre where the Octoberfest was held. With Sensei Nagae’s permission they began the Frankston Kendo Club early in 1987. Regular participants included Julian Richardson and Barbara Cronin.

Also active at this time was a group at the Richmond High School led by Eric Jeffrey and an intermittent group still in Shepparton led by Max Gardner. Similarly, Mark Wild began taking an afternoon class at Trinity College on Tuesdays from 3.45 to 5.00 p.m.

In February Gary Oliver began the Ballarat Kendo Club in a shared Dojo in Lydiard St North, Ballarat. As a Shodan he was reluctant to open his own club and presume to be an instructor but work commitments and a young family saw him in Ballarat more often than he was able to make it to Melbourne.

From the start his membership knew that the club was a branch of the Melbourne Kendo Club, Sensei Nagae always to be their Sensei. (see appendix 2)


Ballarat’s first Kendo course.
Gary Oliver & Mark Wild centre

This year saw Paul Macak, Chris Deering and Peter and Marika Szwarcbord travel to Japan to study with Shizawa Sensei at Nittaidai (Japan College of Physical Education). Many privileged Kendo ka have since lived and trained at Nittaidai but this venture was for Paul to be an all consuming 12 month experience as a live in student, our first to do so.
The Nationals switched to Cowra, NSW, scene of a tragic breakout by Japanese Prisoners of War during World War Two. NAKAKURA Sensei (9th Dan) and NAGASHIMA Sensei attended along with a small contingent of Kendo ka from New Zealand. This tournament saw also the first “Seniors” event. Designed for shimpans as much as anyone, competitors had to be over 40 to compete. The inaugural Individual taikai was won by Yakov Macak.

Sensei Nakakura and Nagashima put on a memorable demonstration at the YWCA later in the year and many interested people turned up. It did much to attract new membership and as expected, inspire those already practicing.

L- R: Senseis Takita, Nagae, Nakakura Nagashima, and. Rex Lawley

The death of Les Watson on Wednesday 22nd July during training at the YWCA class left us all deeply disturbed and shocked. A heart attack took this great Kendo personality from us and his lovely wife, Honey and their daughter, Amy. Les worked hard for the Melbourne Kendo Club organizing flights for students heading interstate and overseas and catering for the Octoberfest seminars. His sense of humor and down to earth attitude in our pursuits helped steer the growing Victorian Renmei as it began to grow substantially during this period.

It may have been this sad loss that prompted the Melbourne Kendo Club committee to publish the first “Victorian Kendo Renmei Magazine”, which took over from the Melbourne Kendo Club Magazine”. Joe Donolli was editor. The first articles of this magazine were tributes by John Butler and a young Damian Carmody-Stephens to Les Watson. The Magazine was to be published quarterly. Of Interest to the Editor, Joe Donolli was the question of acquiring a hall of our own for purely Kendo purposes.


Les Watson

The Victorian Kendo Renmei Magazine

One of many trips to Ballarat’s Sovereign Hill.

A winter training weekend was held at a very cold Eildon Community Centre.
Participants included Yakov Macak, Julian Richardson, Mark Wild and Peter Day,
all under the direction of Sensei Nagae.

Continued >

Page 39