It’s been just over a year since the start of the Langara Kendo Club; a year filled with many obstacles for a new club, such as maintaining attendance numbers, planning fundraisers, injuries, the discovery of blood blisters on the bottom of feet for the first time, and just being able to keep up with practices. But regardless of all the obstacles, it’s been a successful first year for this group of enthusiastic students.
Here are some of the highlights from the past year:
- the very first practice
- the cheers when Harding Sensei announced everyone could wear keikogi and hakama
- bubble tea fundraisers
- kendo demonstrations in classrooms and in the main foyer
- volunteering at and witnessing the Steveston Taikai
- practicing and developing friendships with UBC and Steveston members
- kendo-inspired games during Langara’s welcome week
- the start of the second year where the first beginners become seniors to a new batch of members
- a massive joint practice with UBC and Steveston which also involved the first set of Langara club members receiving their Langara zekken
- participating for the first time at a taikai – the BCKF Mudansha Taikai
- and all the socials (aka late-night Duffin’s)
All of this has been possible because of the guidance from our senseis and senpais from UBC and Steveston. Through their support and example, kendo has become a part of these Langara members lives. They have been taught that kendo is more than just a martial arts, but is also a way of life and a community that works hard to support each other during the bad times and to cheer for one another during the good. (“I hit you because I love you!” as they challenge each other to become stronger kendokas. Note: Totally an inside thing. I don’t encourage abuse outside of practices.)
So as we wind down to regain our sense of self from a gruelling semester and prepare to enter a new year with fresh starts, I leave with you, LKC, a few words from Bill Chung of the Steveston Kendo Club – our sensei, mentor, “Holder of the Orange Cones”, and friend:
This past semester, you’ve reminded me over and over what can happen when you combine hard work and determination with self reflection and humility. It was a year of epic firsts: our second squad of students swinging their first men strikes, and our Alpha squad competing (and scoring!) in their first taikai. I hope that as we all continue on our kendo journey together in 2014 that you will encounter new ‘firsts’, meet new friends and forge lasting memories.
Happy holidays LKC. Rest up, and get ready to saddle up for an astounding New Year.