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In August Sensei Nagae was awarded the Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation Award in a ceremony conducted by Consul General of Japan, Mr Masaaki Miyashita at the Consulate in Melbourne. It was a moving ceremony and a substantial award for Sensei’s efforts over many years.

Nagae Sensei accepting the Japanese Foreign Minister’s
Commendation Award

Our Women Kendo Ka organized a special training where female students were invited to a weekend training specifically for women. Much was gained from this thanks to Hayami and Kate from the Fudoshin Club.

The Samurai Sisters Tenegui

In November National Coach, Damian Carmody-Stevens chose Ballarat as the venue for selections for the Australian teams. The two day selection ran from 23rd – 24th November.

The selection was conducted by Sensei Damian Carmody- Stevens and included the Selection Panel made up of Senseis Nagae, Szwarcbord, Semmler, Yano, Bennett and Ted Rixon. Finally the 5 men and 5 women heading to Glasgow and the world championships were named after a tense weekend;

Mens’s: B Smith, A Maksay, S Burke, Y Sano and K Smith.
Women’s: H Aboutaleb, M Smith, C Chan, S Bonar and K Sylvester.

On 1st December an Open Day was held at the Kenshikan. It became a big event and many guests including Mr Nishiyama, Vice Consul and Executive Member of JCV attended. Workshops for each martial art were carried out so many guests joined in, enjoying the experience.


Iaido and Jodo Seminar and Taikai (January 20th – 27th 2003)

Some excellent performances were produced at this year’s Australian Championships held over the Australia Day weekend, including Tony Pickering’s grading to Yondan.

In the Dan Individual Iaido event Claire Chan came 2nd to Geordie Thompson of WA while Nial Muecke came 2nd to Les Elliot of Tasmania in the Kyu event. In the Team Iaido Claire Chan, Tony Pickering and Marcus Lee-Steere came first over QLD with the team of Desi Szilagyi, Chris Goletsos and Luis Pires 3rd also from Victoria. In the Jodo Pairs Andrea Juresko and Vui Tung Mau came second in the Kyu championships.

Sawagiri Visit

On January 29th, the Japanese Marine defense force ship, “Sawagiri” sent a Kendo Team to the Kenshikan. An exchange Kendo keiko was held and a match between their team and ours was conducted. The visiting team won.

Hong Kong Invitational Kendo Tournament – Feb 23rd

On January 29th, the Japanese Marine defense force ship, “Sawagiri” sent a Kendo Team to the Kenshikan. An exchange Kendo keiko was held and a match between their team and ours was conducted. The visiting team won.

Nittaidai Demonstration Teams - March 12 /13

Shizawa Sensei prepared Nittaidai’s first free public demonstration at MSAC. A group training on the Friday followed by an excellent demonstration in all the martial arts taught at the University made for a spectacular weekend. In all about 140 students from Nittaidai attended. For our part in the organization Hakamada Sensei presented us with a large bundle of quality shinai.

Public demonstration at MSAC

public demonstration at MSAC

AKR National Kendo Championships – Sydney 15th – 20th April

Gary Oliver assumed the State Coach position in preparation for this year’s Nationals in Sydney. Sydney to their credit took up the organization gauntlet and held the taikai at the Olympic Games arena.

Ishida Sensei correcting Arpad Maksay’s technique

Day one was conducted by veteran Senseis Michael Mayne and Jamie Fennessy. These two greats dug deep to inspire and challenge us for what was to follow. On day two our guest instructors arrived, they being Sensei Saiji IIZUKA , 8th Dan Hanshi (62), a Director of the All Japan Kendo Federation, a Company Director and Vice president of the Shizuoka Prefecture Kendo Renmei, Sensei ISHIDA , 8th Dan from the famous National Geographic documentary - “Kendo’s Grueling Challenge”.

Mr. Satoru KANAKI, 8th Dan Kyoshi, 52, a Professor at Tokai University, he also is a liaison officer of the Dan Grading and Shogo Committee of the AJKF and Mr. Hideaki TAKAHASHI, 7th Dan Kyoshi, 38, who has won the All Japan Kendo Individual Championship and is a two times runner-up. He was also a member of the winning men’s team in the World Kendo Championships on two occasions.

The competition was intense and generally we can all be pleased with our efforts. We had mixed results, with no Victorian progressing to the finals in the Open Individuals. Our women again did us proud with Hayami first and Kate 2nd as did our Kyu Individuals. Andrew McGrath took 2nd place in the Kyu individual.

On the last day of competition the coaching role became a bit crowded with perhaps too many well intentioned Kendo Ka having input into preparation and build up before events. Our Kyu Team came out for their first matches looking professional and ready and won convincingly. Their defeat in the final to NSW was regrettable but they all produced good Kendo, losing with dignity.

Our Women’s Team members were as usual the consummate professionals, taking care of business in their thorough and effective way. It was a time to welcome Chiaki Kobayashi as a reserve.

Our Open Dan Team faced some impressive opposition. A good win over W.A. set the scene for a showdown with Queensland. QLD went on to take 2nd place behind NSW.

VKR AGM meeting – April 6th at 12.00 pm

At the AGM in April the following members were elected to the executive;
Gary Oliver – President, Yakov Macak – Vice President, Tony Pickering – Secretary, Kenji Sugimoto- Treasurer

12th World Kendo Championships 2003

Our Australian Team again did us proud at the World’s in Glasgow. Arpad, Brett, Claire, Hayami and Kate (now an Aussie) gave their all. Team manager was Dave D’Aprano. Ron Bennett was Team Leader.

Australian Team Tenegui

Hayami & Kate

Hayami & Brett meeting the Queen

Order of the Rising Sun

On a cold Thursday evening in early June Gary Oliver drove to Toorak to the home of the Consul General of Japan, Mr Miyashita. The occasion was a formal dinner to celebrate the award of The Order of the Rising Sun with Gold and Silver Rays to Sensei Nagae. The award was made in person in Japan two weeks earlier by the Emperor himself with Mr and Mrs Nagae at the Royal Palace in Tokyo.

As one of 12 guests I felt as always humbled and honoured at the invitation. Sensei has been a pioneer in many facets of Japan Australia relations, at times bearing the brunt of the worst side of WW2 anger and yet always forging ahead in a diverse range of endeavours outside of Kendo alone.

Sensei Nagae - Recipient of 'The Order of the Rising Sun'

Melbourne Budokai Kangeiko

The MBK held their Winter training weekend at Anglesea over the weekend of June 21st. The weekend included training in Iaido, Kendo and Jodo and was an exhausting bonding opportunity.

Melbourne Uni Ballarat Bash

Not the best heading but Yakov Sensei took his neophytes and experienced students over the weekend of June 28th to Ballarat. The Ballarat venue had proven very popular with other clubs over recent years and this weekend was also a great chance for students to gain further insights into Kendo.

Ballarat Sponsorship

The BKC landed a unique sponsorship deal with local Japanese noodle company, Hakubaku. This Japanese company, which produced organic dried noodles from Australian primary produce was exporting their product to Japan but was also moving into our local markets. The company promoted and supported a number of ventures involving Kendo over the next two years.

The Otsuka Memorial Tournament was held on 19th July. Again demonstrations of our various disciplines set the scene for an entertaining tournament.

Melbourne Budokai invited Toda and Ono Sensei to Melbourne on August 10th – 17th. As always very valuable instruction was made to an appreciative group.

On 26th October Sensei Usami, President of Suginami Kendo Renmei in Tokyo and Hoshino Sensei from Kyoto visited and instructed at the Kenshikan. Professor Takeda and Nagai from Yamagata University in Japan together with Mr Yazaki visited Kenshikan on 14 December and joined training to finish an exceptional year.

Continued >

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