What can one do in 2 years? Grow a business. Build a home. Watch your child learn to speak then walk, laugh, make friends. It would be enough time to move on from a failed relationship and heal. For many Kendoka of Davao City, however, it was enough time to create something great. It was enough time for them to build a strong and loving community.
This past weekend, the Davao Kendo Club, currently the only organization in Davao City dedicated to the practice and spread of Kendo, just celebrated their second anniversary. It was two days’ worth of intense practice, competition, and of course, revels. To come celebrate with the Davao Kendoka were their brothers and sisters from Cebu City, the Cebu Kendo Club. The Cebu Kendo Club, also a young, recently-founded club, was led by Isagani Batayola-san, as club founder and club admin, alongside the club sensei, Masato Kosuge-sensei, a 4th Dan. Masahiro Ono-sensei, a 6th Dan from the Hong Kong Kendo Association, also graced the DKC with his presence, offering both support and instruction to the fledgling Kendokas.
The 2-day Anniversary celebration started with the Kyu assessment on May 28th, a Saturday afternoon, where numerous members of the DKC showcased what they have learned, or how much they’ve improved, and to see whether or not it was enough to progress them through the ranks. After the assessment, the club then went into their regular training session, joined by the Kendokas from Cebu.
Masahiro Ono-sensei showed the Kendoka ways on how to improve and strengthen their fundamentals, as well as showing them new techniques to practice on. The training session was topped off with Jigeiko provided by Philip Lim-sensei, Kazuya Matsuda-senpai and Masahiro Ono-sensei. Plenty of welts, bruises and instruction was given out that night; all of which were deeply appreciated and taken with a bow.
After the training session… revels! The party venue was located on Ponce Suites, where the Kendokas showed the true meaning of working hard and partying harder. The celebration kicked off with heart-felt messages from each of DKC’s batches to Philip Lim-sensei and Kazuya Matsuda-senpai. There were also plenty of appreciation to go around for each respective batches’ senpai, the club’s visitors from Cebu and the visiting senseis. The party went on as a blur of food, laughter, noise, games, dancing, hugot lines, more appreciation, and Lim-sensei showing everyone how he’s the king of splits.
The next day of the celebration, May 29th, was marked by competition, as the club began their Shiai. The competition was divided into two categories: the group shiai and the individual shiai. The group shiai was composed of 4 groups, each with 5 members. The singles shiai consisted of 16 kendoka competing in a tournament-style elimination, with the last man standing being crowned as the champion. Kazuya Matsuda, Masato Kosuge and Masahiro Ono proctored the entire event as shinpan, or referees. The group shiai champion was team DP, captained by Robert Carabuena, with members Xylia Alzate, Jan Chua, Ron Agor and Aaron Penaco, who competed against the team of Edea Brillantes, Jherand Cayanog, Clydee Ocampo and Al June Metilla, which was captained by Jasper Lardera, in the groups finals. Robert Carabuena also won the singles shiai in an intense and evenly-matched bout against Jasper Lardera in the finals. After the event, another Jigeiko session was provided by Kazuya Matsuda, Masato Kosuge, Masahiro Ono, and two of the DKC’s first Dan holders, Johnny Lardera and Paul Minoza.
After the event, the group then had lunch, where the anniversary celebrations officially came to a close. Here’s to hoping that the next anniversary would be as good, or even better, than this one.