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testimonials

Josh Orth

2nd Dan - VKR Secretary


 

“Screaming and Swords” or, “How I came to do Kendo”


In 1996. in my third year of uni, I finally worked up the courage to start  a martial art. My friends had their kung-fu, Aikido, hapkido and Western Medieval Sword. I looked at what was around. My family have always had swords, collected around the globe in our travels. European fencing was a far cry from swinging our cavalry sabres in my back yard. There wasn’t the feel of combat, the heat of the blood that I imagined. I had seen the O-Week Kendo demos, and caught glimpses in film of Kendo. It was fast, hard and beautiful. This was the art for me. The Way for me.


I joined the UMKC and was immediately impressed with the dedication, discipline and grace of the seniors. Macak Sensei was and still is an imposing figure, and his senior


students followed in kind. Sheppard Sensei, Chris Panagopolous, David Hook and Kenji Sugimoto. Role models for me, each in their own way.

I competed in my first University games, the next year, in the bogu I received for my 21st, my parents could see how taken I was with Kendo. More competitions followed, along with gradings, camps and demonstrations. I took my turn as club armourer, camp assistant cook, and over the last few years, VKR secretary. I have not come through these last 10 years unscathed; at state training for the 2001 AKC I had my big toe broken. The week prior to my second attempt at ikkyu I had two ribs broken with two well executed (but just that touch high) do-cuts one after another in quick succession. I have received a full body-weight kensen between my tare flaps but managed to take the final point of the teams competition before staggering off court to assess my prospects of having children. I can’t feel my elbows, some of my knuckles are remarkably flattish. I am frequently covered in gi-fabric stippled bruises. I have never looked back. Never regretted Kendo. I love it. Nitto makes me feel like a beginner again, but opens my mind to so many more aspects of my Kendo.

My friends have long stopped making fun of my art. My veteran father has stopped disparaging an impractical style for a swordless world. They can tell I strive to discipline my character through the application of the principles of the Katana. I follow the Way of the Sword, and I am a better person for it.

Josh Orth



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