Team Interview ~Keio University Kendo Team~
This time, we will introduce a university kendo team from Keio University (@Kanagawa).
We interviewed the '17 captain of the team, Mr Endo.
Please do have a read.
“A New Age of Student Kendo”
~Captain of Keio University Kendo Team 2017 Taro Endo~
(From here on KENDO PARK = KP Taro Endo = ENDO)
Born in Fukushima Prefecture.
Obtained runner-up in the Fukushima Tohoku Taikai Team category when studying in Iwaki High School.
2nd Runer-up in the Kanto Freshmen Student Tournament under Keio University,
Currently appointed as the captain of Keio University Sports Division Kendo Team.
As the captain of Keio University’s Kendo Club,
tell us how it is like to manage a group of over 100 members.
Keio University has members ranging from veteran Inter-High Tournament participants to total beginners.
Prioritising clear communication is crucial to smoothly run the group.
Is there any specific method to it?
For example, having meals together, drinking outings at local bars together and serious personal talks from time to time while ignoring the commonly observed seniority hierarchy.
However, minors are still not allowed to drink alcohols so they do soft drinks, but violating the law will also be met with club rule repercussions.
Alongside that would be the creating of LINE ( app alike with Whatsapp / FB Messenger) group to foster communication between members and also to set up meeting accordingly.
We are applying what we call “Crossover Communication”.
From what I have gathered, Keio University has shorter than usual keiko time.
We endorse a “decrease engage time while increasing productivity” methodology.
Depending on certain days, we may have trainings as short as an hour.
As a student, it is important to train hard but also study hard.
This is to achieve an age old teaching of achieving prowess in both academic and martial prowess in limited amount of time.
This also fosters leadership and time management skills as it is important to adapt to new ideas and creative ways of thinking once entering society.
Please share with us the specifics of your Keiko.
The overall keiko is simplistic in structure.
>"Uchikomi" / "Kakarigeiko"
>"Choyaku (Haya) Suburi"
This is the orthodox training menu that we stick to.
Within the training routine, we constantly remind members to not let one’s guard down.
To strengthen this idea, we would increase "Jigeiko" time instead of overly focusing on "Waza" variation training.
We greatly remember our sensei’s word, “kendo is the creation of moment”, which we think of daily and prioritise such creation, while focusing to not let our guard down.
Overtime, there are possibilities that members do get lax, do your teammates have a common idea what to do when that happens?
It is too ambiguous when only giving the instruction to do what comes to mind,
thus usually a theme is set for the team training.
One example would be the Spring training this year where "Suburi" amount was increased and more "Kirikaeshi" variations were included to strengthen hitting.
With this as a basis, we set the theme for the training for Summer onwards to increase the speed of the Shinai and better in the match.
This is usually discussed upon members which are then decided upon.
It is astounding to have the students agree to it unanimously.
Us students do have a lot of to work on in different aspects,
we get advices from our "Sensei", Managers, Instructors and others,
which then we set a "Degeiko" where we train with kendo team from other institutes in order to understand and learn of other styles of kendo.
For this year, we have friendly training with, Kanto Gakuin University, Meiji University, Nihon Sports University, Komazawa University, Toyo University, Gakushuin University, Kokugakuin University, Nihon University, Rikkyo University, Senshu University and also Kanagawa Prefecture Police Department, and Royal Palace Police Squad.
Through this wide array of friendly training, our members are able to bring home what they personally find useful which in turn levels up their keiko back in Keio University.
How did you instruct beginners?
Firstly, we aim to make them enjoy training in kendo.
From there, we try to bring out healthy competitiveness mindset among them.
For example, we have a member who was a rugby player in high school who was serious in becoming a regular in our kendo club.
He is now at a level where he gives tough time against more experienced players in the match.
In response to his commitment, we teach him even more methods to help him get better in his kendo.
With such a large number of members training together, it must be tough to instruct them.
Nowadays, there are a lot of practice to the match being posted online being shared among the members and the managers, which we will designate specific homework and videos to focus on.
With this, we want to eliminate the guesswork of members in kendo.
Do you feel anything that is lacking?
As they do not have any recommendation letters from strong kendo schools, the difference in power and experience is of course very apparent.
Personally, it is easy to see one’s potential through a lengthened match.
With more match, seeing more offense and defense patterns, daily trainings would sharpen their skills and carve it into their hearts.
Please tell us what are the coming topics that you will be focusing on.
Sharpening one’s favorite "Waza".
Our club do have a huge official match coming up,
which is the long tradition “早慶戦” ( Keio University vs Waseda University Battle).
As there is no rule for a draw, when in a deadlock, it is essential to have a winning cut.
Thus we have a saying “in any case just try”.
As per our Sensei and Manager, we should try to execute and action by making proper decisions ourself depending on situations.
As this might push us to make new discoveries and also to broaden and improve our own kendo.
My impression that this is not merely student kendo but a series of keiko to develop leaders in society.
This shows the ideas and thoughts to “increase productivity”, and also to have a unified team to realise these ideas.
My heart and prayers to everyone to continue being active and perform greatly in coming tournaments.
~SHNAI BAGS FROM JAPAN~
Born December 8th, 1987 in Tokyo
Graduated from Keio University's Faculty of Law.
Started Kendo at 5 years old at the Tokyo-budokan (located in Ota-ku, Tokyo), and continued kendo club activities throughout Keio junior high school and Keio high school, and during Keio University Athletic Association's Kendo association, as well as Nomura Securities' Kendo association.
Started KENDO PARK services in 2017.
Major kendo accomplishments include:
・Second place in Kanagawa prefecture's high school kendo tournament
・Best 8 in Kanto students' new player tournament
・Best 16 in All-Japan Business Organization Kendo Tournament, etc.