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Introduction to a Kendo Club


Teruyuki's father, Koichiro Fukushima, is a teacher at the Ohnuma Wakamatsu Kendo Hall.

The Onuma Wakamatsu Kendo Club was opened in 1980 by Koji Oba, who wanted to contribute to the sound growth of local children. Oba served as the training hall's first chairman. The present chairman, Koichiro Fukushima, is the third. Kendo practice is held in the gymnasium of the local Sagamihara Municipal Onuma Elementary School. Every Tuesday and Saturday evening this gymnasium is turned into a kendo training hall - for elementary and middle school students from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and then for high school students and adults until 9:30 p.m..

Instruction is given by eight instructors with ranks from third dan (grade) to sixth Dan Fukushima, himself a sixth-Dan kendo practitioner, is one of them. One fourth-Dan female instructor in the group also works as an instructor of the tea ceremony. The oldest instructor is Takeo Kitamura (fifth Dan), who is 82 years of age. Kitamura took up kendo when he was 59 and is still aiming higher; he is scheduled to take the test for promotion to sixth Dan in Kyoto in May.


The kendoist in black exploits a weakness in the opponent's defenses.


The atmosphere is tense as everyone watches the tournament.

The trainees practice twice a week at this training hall and also once a week at Sagamihara's municipal gymnasium. The biggest contest for them is the prefectural tournament held toward the end of July every year by the Junior High School Athletic Federation. To make it to this tournament, they first of all have to battle through the preliminaries in June.

The biggest event on the club's training calendar is a three-day summer camp held every year at the beginning of August, the start of the school summer vacation. Participants stay at a Japanese-style hotel in the city of Isehara, at the foot of Mount Tanzawa bordering on neighboring Yamanashi Prefecture. Practice is held at a nearby gymnasium. Last year about 40 people, adults and children, participated. Yurika Nozawa, a sixth grader who has been practicing kendo for five years, said: "It was very hard at first, getting up at 5:30 a.m. to meditate and then having a long practice session in the morning. But now that I'm used to it, it's not so hard."