The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.

Western Courier

Kendo Club adds to Campus Recreation

Kendo+club+members+promote+physical%2C+mental+and+cultural+learning+as+they+engage+in+their+practice+ritual+to+stay+active%2C+develop+discipline+and+indulge+more+in+Japanese+culture.+
Kendo club members promote physical, mental and cultural learning as they engage in their practice ritual to stay active, develop discipline and indulge more in Japanese culture.

Kendo club members promote physical, mental and cultural learning as they engage in their practice ritual to stay active, develop discipline and indulge more in Japanese culture.

Nicholas Ebelhack/Editor-in-chief

Nicholas Ebelhack/Editor-in-chief

Kendo club members promote physical, mental and cultural learning as they engage in their practice ritual to stay active, develop discipline and indulge more in Japanese culture.

Nicholas Ebelhack, Editor-in-chief

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Tucked away on the second floor of Brophy hall, the Western Illinois University Kendo Club has been practicing week in and week out to stay active, develop discipline and become more engaged with Japanese culture.

 Kendo Club President Frank Lin said that Kendo is more than just stick fighting, and that while Kendo isn’t one of the more popular martial arts, it is based around core values of focus and good manners.

 “In Kendo, there is a lot of etiquette involved,” Lin said. “For instance, when we are in the dojo we don’t want to walk in front of people, we walk behind them, so it’s a lot of little things to show respect and develop discipline.”

 Yeongkwun Kim, the faculty adviser for Kendo Club, is a veteran of the sport with over 25 years experience, and serves as the sensei at Western. He explained the structure of a Kendo match.

 “A Kendo match is fought between two competitors in an individual match. In team competition, there are three to five members in each team,” Kim said. “A match usually lasts five minutes for adults and three for juniors.  There are four specified target areas in kendo, each worth one point in a match.”

Kim further explained how to score in a match by striking various parts of the body.

 “They are strikes to the head (MEN), the body (DO), the wrist (KOTE), and a thrust to the throat (TSUKI),” Kim said. “A match is finished when one of the players scores two points or until time runs out. The match is refereed by three referees.”

 Kim decided to start a club at Western after he hit black ice driving from the Moline Kendo Dojo. After that moment, he decided to bring a club closer to home in order to minimize travel and to share the sport with more people.

 While Kim is currently on sabbatical in South Korea, Lin has been maintaining the club and leading practices. However, Kim said that he has had the opportunity to compete abroad and develop his skills.

 “It’s difficult to be away from the club, but it provides a great opportunity for me to improve Kendo,” Kim said. “There are many great kendo masters in Korea and some near where I live.  Whenever I have time, I meet up with the senior Kendo players and practice to be a better adviser and coach.”

 Back at Western’s dojo, however, students are still practicing with the anticipation that they will compete in a tournament in the near future. Matthew Alwood said that he enjoys the workout and is happy to be participating in something he’s wanted to do since he was a kid.

 “I had always kind of known about Kendo and I wanted to sword fight as a kid,” Alwood said. “I had seen fencing but that is more about poking at people and that wasn’t really what I was into. When I saw a poster for the club at the rec last year I decided just to go for it.”

 The organization is small at present but is looking to gain more members who are interested in Japanese culture and martial arts.

 Davidson Bideshi, faculty adviser for Western’s Ice Hockey Club, assisted Kim in founding Kendo Club, and said that the members of the organization are dedicated to helping each other achieve their personal goals.

 “When I’m here I’m focused,” Bideshi said. “We try to get people into that mindset because practice is an artform, and you have to get it right. You have to be thinking about your movement and your footwork and your stance and if I’m messing up I expect them to correct me, and likewise I will do the same for them because we all want to get better.”

 Kendo Club practices occur weekly and are open to interested members. For more information email Lin at FW-Lin@wiu.edu

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Kendo Club adds to Campus Recreation