Page 24


Andrea Juresko

2nd Dan Jodo

Memories of my time spent sitting on a variety of Kendo Committees is now rather blurred, I started my Kendo journey in 1999 with a beginner course at the Kenshikan dojo, and Vince Caltabiano was my instructor. I found it very confronting at first to actually hit people, let alone scream at them…previously this treatment was reserved for my younger brother when he hassled me in one of the many ways younger brothers have! I was enjoying my training and the people I trained with were friendly and helpful and the club was welcoming.

At the end of 1999 I accepted a job in Port Fairy this was an important job to me so I went. Unfortunately there was no Kendo in Port Fairy. For the first month I would run out of the door at 4:30 and speed my way up the highways to train with the Ballarat boys. They were very tolerant of my slightly late arrivals and they were great fun to train with. Work demands meant that this could not continue past my first month job training period.

I returned to Kendo when I returned to work in Melbourne in mid-2002. I trained once again with the Kenshikan and re-earned my bogu. I was pleased to see that two people that I had started Kendo with were still training and there were many familiar faces and many new faces.

In November of this year I started to learn Jodo under the instruction of Tony Pickering. This was followed by my first national Iaido and Jodo seminar on the Gold Coast (also a great excuse for a holiday on the beach) in January 2003. This included my first martial arts competition where I competed in the kyu grade Jodo pair competition with my training partner at the time Vui Tung Mau. We placed second and I was awarded the fighting spirit award which a Jo and Bokken set from Nagayama Sensei. I still train, grade and compete with the same set of weapons.

I joined the executive committee of the Kenshikan as secretary, in conjunction with Vui, where we kicked off the first Kenshikan Winter training camp in Anglesea. This offered a weekend of training in Kendo, Jodo and Iaido where we started at 5:00 in the mornings and often went into the night with training and other activities.

My favourite memory is beach training where it was 3°C and the air so crisp, I felt that the air would shatter, and the sand and water were freezing! But the sun was shining and it was a clear day, and many of the locals wondered what on earth it was that we were doing out there.

L to R: Jim Grace, Andrea Juresko, Tony Pickering, Claire Chan, Harumi Shimokawa

I commenced training with Fudoshin Kendo club in mid 2004. Around this time I also travelled to Croatia for my brothers wedding and I had the privilege of training with the Kendo club ‘Agatsu’ based in Zagreb, and teaching them a few basic Jodo techniques. I can still remember the commando-style warm ups and basic training that they had adopted. Agatsu was a new club of 3 years of age and much of their equipment was donated by the AJKF or home made. They are still going strong.

Also in mid 2004 Tony Pickering started ‘Tojinkai’, a club to teach Seitei Iaido and Jodo. Slowly, Tojinkai has grown as new beginners seek the practice of Iaido and/or Jodo. As I have trained and grown in Jodo, I have commenced instructing one class a week, trying to pass on the lessons I have learned from Tony, fellow Jodoka and Sensei from around Australia and Japan. I have been fortunate enough to have been one of the winning pair of the National Jodo Kyu grade pairs competition for two years prior to achieving my shoDan, and I have provided the Jodo community with a great deal of amusement as BrenDan Frost and I were pitted against Tony and Marcus Lee-Steere in Jodo Dan grade pairs competition.

Jodo has also taken me to travel in Japan to train Jodo with Nagayama Sensei and Shoji Sensei in Sendai. Jodo and Kendo on a floating floor during an earth tremor is an interesting experience. One of the bigger milestones for me, I have met my husband, Tony Pickering through Kendo and Jodo. He is my strongest supporter and also my toughest opponent and critic, and there have been some occasions where after training someone would ask me if we were ‘having a domestic’… we were married on the 28th October 2006, surrounded by friends and family.

I have been given a lot of advice over the years while training but one of the ones that stick in my mind is that Kendo, Jodo and Iaido are for life. I feel that they are martial arts that you can practice every day that will evolve as you do, they influence and compliment each other, and help you achieve a sense of balance and well-being inside and outside the dojo

Thank you to the founders of the Victorian Kendo Renmai. The strong foundations you have laid mean we are able to practice Kendo, Jodo and Iaido for life. I hope that the next 30 years sees an even stronger organisation and community.

Andrea Juresko

Page 24