Athletes from a sport derived from an important symbol of Japanese culture meet at the first-ever Canadian Junior Championships, held right here in Calgary.
Kendo, which means “way of the sword”, is a Japanese martial art that evolved from the experiences of the samurai.
Two competitors face off and attempt to score two points in a match that lasts about three to four minutes. Points are scored in one of four areas of their opponent’s body.
“The first is the head, the next is the wrist, the third is the waist score, and the next is the throat score. So there are four targets,” said Kyae Lee, chief instructor at the Chinook. Kendo. Dojo and one of the organizers of the tournament, which takes place at Mount Royal University.
While the main essence is fencing with swords, officials say the activity is much more than that.
“Throughout the sword path of Japanese martial arts, people strive to be a better person,” he said. “As you also saw a lot of fighters, they also learn good manners and respect for the place and the teachers.”
He says that new competitors must “earn” their sword before they can fight by first mastering these principles.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many of their junior players, Lee says, as they haven’t been able to meet and practice.
However, once the restrictions were lifted, they were allowed to return to the team environment.
“Growing up with the practice of kendo, they can become a better person. As a teacher, I always teach our students not only to win the game, but to be a better person.”