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On February 28th the Melbourne Kendo Club and the VKR held their annual general meeting. The executive for the VKR as elected was;

John Butler – President, Peter Szwarcbord – Vice President, Ivan Robotham – Secretary and Yakov Macak – Treasurer.

From January to April Mark Wild trained at Nittaidai as a live in student. He returned with honed skills that would see him do exceptionally well in future national competitions. Paul Macak and Chris Deering returned from Nittaidai in March. Chris began training but Paul took time off to ponder his Kendo future. He has never returned to full time training following his year in Japan.

Author's Ni Dan grading certficate.

Shizawa Sensei and some Nittaidai students visited during February and a grading opportunity for Dan ranks was made available. Opportunities for Dan gradings were still restricted largely to Nationals and visiting Sensei.

The Nationals were held at the St George Police Citizens Club in Rockdale, Sydney. Victoria won the Dan and Kyu Teams. Our Dan team members were Damien Carmody Stephens, Brent Gazzaniga, Tony Kay, Peter Day and Yakov Macak. At the National Delegates meeting on 1st April it was unanimously agreed to formally rotate the Nationals around each capital city of each member state.

Two gradings were held during the year, the venue being the Richmond High School.

In May on a cold frosty morning VKR members attended training in Ballarat at the Army Drill Hall. Much media attention was made, as country towns do, the local club benefiting tremendously.

May 28th saw the 7th World Championships held in Seoul, South Korea. Shizawa Sensei organized a preliminary training in Tokyo. Brent Gazzaniga, Peter Riordan and Peter Day were billeted together when they traveled to Seinan University in Fukuoka for more lead up training. John Butler also accompanied them as part of the Australian team, but Peter Day was the only member of the fighting team itself. Eventually they found themselves in Shiminoseki to catch the ferry to Korea.

Brent Gazzaniga was elected Team Manager and achieved 4th Dan at the grading.

At the championships Peter Day won the only match for Australia against France with two decisive men cuts. Unfortunately Australia lost 4 – 1 in their next match against Hawaii puting the team out of the competition.

Peter Day scores in Korea

In the individuals Peter was our only competitor to get through to the second round, making him our most successful competitor.

It was a proud moment for Peter and the VKR when he saw his name up in the quarter finals.

Back in Australia the winter Kangeiko was again held at Eildon. About 22 people attended a great weekend organized by Julian Richardson and conducted by Sensei Nagae, Yakov Macak and Mark Wild.

In July Ivan Robotham introduced and conducted a formal beginners course from July 10th till August 31st. Based on the successful beginners courses organized at the Ballarat Club, Ivan’s innovations were to attract and keep a number of beginners, thus easing the high attrition rate that Kendo has on western students. Beginners courses based on this model are still part of VKR clubs today.

Christian Patton began training about this time.

Damian Carmody -Stephens organized some hands on demonstrations during an Asian Day at Trinity College. Assistants on this great day included Mark Wild fresh from his time in Japan, Christian Patton and Sophie Macak. Laurie Scott also attended for their regular afternoon club session.

In August the Frankston Club formally closed due to work commitments by both Peter and Tony. It was a sad blow for Kendo in the area.

In Ballarat the local television station, BTV 6 (now WIN TV) hosted Gary Oliver in their “Morning Show” which featured both an interview and basic demonstration. The show was seen throughout the Western district and Mallee region as well as greater Ballarat.

During the year Mrs Nagae painted a Shoji for the Ballarat Club which acted as the joseki. The calligraphy was framed by Bob Cartledge who donated the cost to the fledgling club.

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