There is one country in the world that has captivated many of us for centuries with its unique culture. A country so beautiful, with a society so rigid and yet so aloof, we couldn’t help but admire it. Japan. The land of the rising sun. Yes, the land of anime, sushi, CosPlay, samurai, weird fetishes, and unfaltering discipline. The country’s effect around the globe cannot be denied. For good or ill, Japan’s centuries-long history and culture has touched many people and has left an indelible mark on many of us. Its sights, smells, foods and letters have us strangely mystified and addicted to it… and we love it that way.
It’s no surprise then, that regular festivities celebrating Japanese culture, like the 2016 Japan Cultural Expo held in SM City Davao Last July 1 and July 2, are a standard fare amongst fans of anything Japanese. Of course, what would a Japanese-themed celebration be without the ancient Japanese art of Kendo? And what’s Kendo in Davao City without the Davao Kendo Club?
During the Japan Expo, members of the Davao Kendo Club performed the basics of Kendo to showcase the sport. To start things off, members of the club moved at the center stage, where they were collectively introduced as the DKC. Paul Minoza, 1 Dan, provided a short description of Kendo, while the newest members of the club demonstrated the basics, which included the basic Men, or strikes to the forehead, and numerous other exercises Kendo, including the infamously strenuous Haya-Suburi.
Afterwards, the more experienced members of the club went up on stage in full Kendo gear, wearing the easily recognizable Kendo armor, or Bogu. In complete combat gear, the Davao Kendoka treated the audience to the more advanced, and more strenuous, aspects of the sport, particularly the Jigeiko, which is a practice in which Kendoka are given the opportunity to try and use whatever Waza, or techniques, they have learned in an almost unrestricted situation, very close but not quite the same as a real Shiai, or bout.
Also shown to the audience were the less intense aspects of Kendo, particularly the Bokuto Ni Yoru Kendo Kihon-waza Keiko-ho, or simply “Bokuto”, a way for Kendoka to practice the fundamental techniques of Kendo outside of Jigeiko or Shiai-geiko. Though this is a much less physically intense practice, this is one of the more complicated aspects of the sport, and requires a lot of concentration and skill to pull off perfectly. And pull it off, the Davao Kendoka did.
After the event, the DKC then proceeded to do what they did best, which is to have fun. And with all that Japanese culture in one place, who could blame them?