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Mrs. Nagae with Naginata

In May Ballarat City conducted a “Japanese Week” with schools and the broader community invited to cultural exhibitions and demonstrations held over four days. Mrs Nagae brought her Naginata students and joined in on one day together with the Ballarat Kendo Club. The week was a tremendous success.

On 19th June the first Japan Australia Sports Exchange festival was held at the Melbourne Sports & Entertainment Centre. Visiting groups consisted of students of Kendo, Naginata, Shorinji Kempo, Kyudo, Juken Jutsu, Aikido, Judo, Nihon Kenpo And Rhythm Kendo. It was a large group and was led by Kendo Sensei, Hiroyuki Shioiri.

About this time Peter Hocking published a training manual for Kendo which helped fill a gap in our Kendo needs. Tess Hocking helped the MKC also that year in her supervision at the Kangeiko held on June 26th and 27th. The 7 a.m. Sunday start saw some of our country members attend, getting up substantially earlier than most to make the start.

1993 - AKC Programme

At the Nationals in Sydney there must have been a home town advantage, NSW winning the Open Individuals, Open Teams, Women’s Individuals and the Veterans. For the second year in a row Yano Sensei won both the Open and the Veteran Individuals. The Victorian Kyu Team won their competition and Ballarat’s Jason Widdy came second in the individual Kyu competition.

At the Intervarsity Championships held at Melbourne University, Monash proved too strong, defeating Adelaide in all five bouts in the Teams. Matthew Osborn won the individual competition by narrowly defeating Khay-Lin Teoh.

Coach Julian Richardson held by Monash members including Khay-Lin Teoh far right.

The Melbourne Kendo club elections gave the Presidency to Richard Ward, Vice Presidency to Damian Carmody-Stevens, Secretary to James Saretta and the Treasurer’s position to Claire Chan. In another positive move the Melbourne Kendo club became incorporated.

Ben Sheppard went to the Summer School in Saitama and received the Kenshikan scholarship which went towards some of his travel costs.

The Octoberfest was held on the weekend of the 3rd & 4th following a three day seminar at the Carlton Baths. The IKF sent three Sensei to conduct the seminar, they being Sensei Muto 8th Dan who led shinpan training, Sensei Chiba 8th Dan who ran the Kata sessions and Sensei Yamazaki 8th Dan who lead the Iaido. Attending the seminar were Jean Paul Belhomme from New Caledonia, a contingent from New Zealand which included former Melbournite, Kirk Doran and two Yudansha from Taiwan.

Gary Oliver, Sensei Yamazaki, Tony Pickering, Sensei Muto,
Sensei Chiba and Kuramochi Sensei

An embarrassment came at the opening ceremony when one of the Taiwanese Sensei informed John Butler that the flag attributed to his country, elegantly displayed with the other attendees’ flags out front, was in fact the flag of Communist Mainland China. Another international incident courtesy Mr Butler.

In September 1993, Mrs Nagae participated in the American Naginata Championships in Los Angeles along with friends of Shinseikai (her dojo). She was able to meet INF chairman Kawamori started the process of officially bringing Naginata to Australia.


John Butler

On February 15th 1994 pioneer Kendo Ka, John Butler 4th Dan passed away following a long battle with prostate cancer. Always the optimist he will be remembered for his quick wit and the personal support he gave everyone in the State and to Kendo overall. Ever organized he wrote his own obituary and sent personal farewells and gifts to the very people he had mentored.

The Age Obituary of February 25th published John’s own words which summed up his sense of humour;

“Remember him how he was; young, handsome, vibrant, sexy with a teeny weeny hint of modesty”.

In a letter that the author received a few weeks following his death he indicated his acceptance of the inevitable. He wrote in part, “I leave this life content. There is an insignificant legacy, but a legacy non the less. Build on my humble beginnings and prosper”.

Sophie Macak

Tragedy again struck on May 28th when Sofie Macak died of complications from leukemia. Sofie was involved in Kendo from the early days at little Bourke Street. She had achieved 3rd Dan and placed in the top three of the Women’s competition at the Nationals. She had studied at University in Melbourne and Adelaide and had such a bright future ahead of her.

The funeral was attended by a large crowd of Kendo Ka and family. For those of us who had trained with this gentle, intelligent young lady it was a huge loss. She should always be remembered as a pioneer of Kendo, particularly of Women’s Kendo in this State.

In August Tony Pickering attended the Summer school at Saitama as a 2nd Dan. He returned with new skills and an unquenchable appetite to learn.

The Nationals were held on the Gold Coast and while NSW maintained its Individual Open winning streak, albeit it was Jamie Fennessy fighting for them who took first place, it was the first time that young Yudansha Brett Smith 2nd place and Damian Carmody-Stephens 3rd place made the finals for Victoria.

It was the World Kendo Championships again, this time the host nation was France. The Australian team that presented in Paris was very much a Victorian one, or at least, they had their origins in our State.

Led by Nagae Sensei as Coach, the team consisted of Jamie Fenessy (Captain), Peter Szwarcbord, Mark Wild, Peter Day and Brett Smith. Dale Gould also assisted with the team.

L – R Brett, Mark, Peter Day, Peter, Jamie & Dale
Nagae Sensei & Jamie with “Le Flag Australie”

During January Gary Oliver traveled to Japan to train in Kendo. His visit took in Okinawa, Inagawa, Kyoto, Tokyo with Kubo Sensei at the Kyumeikan Dojo and to Takasaki where he was hosted by Sensei Goki Saito. Saito Sensei was part of the 1981 Kendo Goodwill Mission and had met Gary at Woodville Primary School during that visit. (see chapter 3).

Haga Sensei visited on 30th January with his friend, Sensei Hoshino following the Australian Iaido Championships in Canberra. He instructed us in Kendo and Iaido until February 4th.

What made this visit so much more memorable was Hoshino Sensei’s special reason in making the trip, it being to meet up with Captain B Kilpatrick. Captain Kilpatrick was the Commander of an Australian Prisoner of War Camp in New Guinea during World War Two where Hoshino Sensei was held. Because Hoshino Sensei could speak English he translated for the Captain and the two developed a respect for each other during those difficult times.

The remarkable story of how they made contact after more than 30 years is captured by Richard Ward’s wife, Janet;


Bill Kilpatrick, a retired rice farmer from Deniliquin was an old acquaintance of my employer and he would travel to Melbourne a couple of times a year with his wife.

Aged 80 plus years, they would catch the bus down in the morning and return home in the afternoon, but usually made the time to call and say hello.

One day he brought a book with him and asked me if I knew anyone who could help with the translation from Japanese. He had tried unsuccessfully to have it translated in Deniliquin and thought he would get it done professionally in Melbourne.

Bill and the book's author Kazuo Hoshino had an extraordinary history.

They had met under less than ideal circumstances in a prisoner of war camp in New Guinea. Bill had been the camp's commanding Officer and Hoshino had been the commanding officer of the Japanese prisoners. During their time in New Guinea they had developed and deep respect and true friendship for each other.

After the war they had kept in touch for a time, but the years passed and Bill sincerely regretted that he had lost contact with his old friend. He had no idea how to get in touch with him or what had happened to him.

Hoshino had similar regrets and had asked Japanese, now living in Australia to try to locate Bill, but despite efforts, no trace was found.

My husband, Richard, is a Kendo player and I asked him if he knew anyone who could help. He in turn rang his Kendo teacher, Nagae Sensei, who said he knew Hoshino and had been looking for Bill for years! Nagae Sensei was Hoshino’s Australian contact! When I told Bill, he was stunned, because he did not expect to have any contact with his old friend ever again.

Nagae Sensei made enquiries and a few weeks later we were able to give Bill Hoshino's Tokyo phone number, but advised him to wait for a couple of hours before ringing as he was not home - he was still at Mitsubishi Dojo training, as he did every Saturday afternoon!

As a result of Bill's call, Hoshino came to Australia and stayed with Bill in Deniliquin for a week and some time later Bill and his wife went to Japan to visit Hoshino and his family.

In his book, Hoshino wrote how that his regular Kendo suburi practice helped him to deal with the mental impact of the war and with his subsequent internment. He also wrote of the respect and friendship that developed between himself and Captain Kilpatrick, despite the circumstances.”

Ref: HOSHINO Kazuo, 1982, Nyűginia sen tsuiokuki - sensô to hyűmanizumu (Reminiscences of the war in New Guinea: war and humanism), Tokyo: Senshi Kankôkai


Arpad Maksay went to Japan to works in Kagoshima and Japan for 12 months. He trained intensively in Kendo while down south and during the year moved progressively north until he reached Tokyo.

On 25th February Sensei Paul Guerillot passed away. He was a pioneer of martial arts in this State and in his way did much to establish Kendo in its early years. He should be remembered as the person who established the first Kendo classes in our State.

Canberra hosted the Australian Kendo Championships from 14th – 16th April. Witty from our Goshin Club won the Kyu individual. Keiko Jones won the female individual while Jamie Fennessy won the open Individual. NSW won the Teams over Victoria.

Winter time and Kangeiko was held at the Kenshikan on the weekend of July 22nd / 23rd.

At the September grading three of Ballarat’s junior members attended their first grading, they being Ryan Oliver, Cain Oliver and Tarl O’Mara. Jason Widdy of Ballarat achieved Nidan at that grading which was held at the Kenshikan.

Late in the year Sensei Nagae journeyed to Ballarat to take a large class of children (30+) through a Kendo class. The program had been organized by the Ballarat Kendo Club at Delacombe Primary School where Gary Oliver was Vice Principal. The day was quite a success and made the local television and newspapers.

Cain Oliver, Ryan Oliver & Tarl O’Mara

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