Oxford Kendo in association with Oxford University Kendo & Oxford Brookes University Kendo is a British Kendo Association (BKA) registered club providing kendo instruction and practice to the Oxfordshire and surrounding counties for over 15 years.
Our club was founded in 1997 by Dr. Kaz Oishi Sensei with four members including Mike Molloy, Sam Itagaki, Seiji Ito and Dave Lever helped by a grant from Nissan. Kaz was at Oxford University for his studies and a 5th Dan kendoka at the time. He was also the former Tokyo University Kendo Team Captain. Kaz led the Oxford University Kendo team to solid victories against the Cambridge University team up to 2002 during his time in Oxford. Past members from Oxford have progressed to the GB Kendo Team, participated in international competitions including the Five Nations, European Kendo Championships and the World Kendo Championship. Former members also include Cris Ballinas now the President of the South American Kendo Federation and Geraldine Mattson of the GB Women’s Team.
Kendo 剣道 – the Way of the Sword
Kendo is the path toward the formation of human character (that is gained) through practicing the true principles of the Japanese sword*.
Notes for *: “the true principles of sword” is a translation of “剣の理法 (Ken no rihou)”. It can be translated into “the nature of sword”. What it means here is both mental and physical forces and techniques regarded as causing and regulating phenomena in offence and defence by Japanese sword.
To learn Kendo correctly and seriously,
To cultivate a vigorous sprit via mental and physical disciplines,
Through the distinguishing feature of Kendo,
To hold courtesy in high esteem,
To put high value on trustfulness,
To commit oneself to sincerity,
To always strive for self-improvement,
In doing all the above,
To love one’s country and soceity
In an effort to widely contribute to peace and prosperities of humankind.
Kendo originated from Japanese sword fighting without the use of armour [Chutaro Ogawa (9th Dan Master); Ken To Zen 『剣と禅』].
Kendo started as a martial art (剣術: Ken-Jyutsu). Ken-kyutsu focused on the principle of ‘to kill or be killed’ with techniques to achieve it. Various ken-jyutsu schools have emerged since the 15th century from warrior Samurai. These schools were influenced by Zen historically from the Kamakura period in the 12th century. Zen played a very important role when this martial art turned into the art of swordsmanship in the early to mid 17th century. More information on the history of kendo in English can be found on www.kendo.or.jp.
When we practice kendo, we use the shinai (bamboo sword). It is important to always think of the shinai as a real sword or we lose the sprit of kendo. We also must regularly practice kata (型) to understand the essence of kendo. Kata can be described as a set of detailed pattern of movements originally used as teaching and training methods from combat techniques that have passed down through the generations. Kata practice is very important as it was the original practice method before the armour practice method was invented and embodies the essence of a real sword fighting without wearing armour. In Japanese, we use the expression “Real sword!” synonymously with the expression of “Seriously!”. Why not use this mind for your kendo practice!
– Yasuyuki Hiyama Sensei (7th Dan, Oxford Kendo Head Sensei)