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2016 Oxford – Cambridge Varsity

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On Saturday, April 23rd, Oxford hosted the 2016 Varsity Kendo match against Cambridge at Spires Academy on Glanville Road. We had an excellent turnout, with over 20 competitors from the two universities, as well as esteemed referees Paul Budden (7th dan) and Kazuyo Matsuda (6th dan) from Kodokan Kendo, Oxford’s own Yasuyuki Hiyama (7th dan), Chris Bowden (4th dan) and Louie Chen (4th dan).
The day began with a non-bogu individuals competition where competitors were assessed on the quality of their kirikaeshi and kihon cutting. We are pleased to announce that Oxford beginners Theodore Keeping and Shuping Dang took home first and second place, respectively. We then proceeded to a single-elimination open individuals competition, where Oxford members Graham Williams and Ryuji Yanase took home joint third place and our captain Rick Collins won second after a tightly contested final against Cambridge postdoctoral fellow Dai Matsuse.
After the friendly individuals matches, we proceeded to the main event: the varsity team match. The Oxford team, consisting of Ellen Hang, Junko Takata, Aidan Daly, Ryuji Yanase, and Rick Collins, soundly defeated Cambridge 3 matches to 1 (with one draw), ceding the only loss to Cambridge captain Shin Kitaoka. All members performed splendidly, with each Oxford student scoring at least one ippon and demonstrating the prowess that propelled them to 1st place in the national University championships several weeks prior.
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Overall, the event was a rousing success, with good will between the two universities being further fostered during free keiko and a dinner party at the end. In addition to those who came out to compete, we would like to extend our thanks to all those who donated their time to administrate the event and support the Oxford team. We look forward eagerly to next year’s match, where we expect continued success.
Aidan Daly,
President, Oxford University Kendo Club