"I can't imagine life without kendo," says Teruyuki Fukushima.
Q: What made you want to start kendo?
A: My father practiced kendo. As far back as I can remember, and even before that, he used to take me along to his practice sessions, and I would take a nap in a corner of the gym or play around with other people's shinai [bamboo swords]. I began to practice kendo properly when I was six.
Q: What do you like about kendo?
A: Well, I suppose the fact that you learn better manners. And your posture improves, too.
Q: How often do you practice?
A: There are three practice sessions a week, two at the training hall and one at the city gym, but usually I only go one or two times a week.
Teruyuki attacks an opening in his opponent's defense.
Q: Have you changed at all since beginning kendo?
A: I've lost my shyness. When I joined the kendo club at school, I wasn't even able to introduce myself to the others, but gradually I have gained self-confidence. Now there are sixteen members of the school club, including nine second graders. Since becoming captain, I think I have developed leadership qualities.
Q: Do you think you will continue kendo after entering high school?
A: Of course. I would prefer to go to a high school that has a kendo club. Before I worry about that, of course, I need to make sure I have the academic ability to get into the school of my choice!
In the midst of a tense battle.