Nambu Kenshi Kai History
We started out as an idea for introducing Kiwi youth to Japanese culture. In late 2008 Dan Fujikawa and Malcolm Harris were discussing ways to introduce Kiwi youth to Japanese culture and that Budo was an ideal vehicle for this. The problem was that gear was hard to come by, or quite expensive to buy, and still is. Both Dan and Malcolm are members of the Christchurch-Kurashiki Sister City Committee and through this relationship we were able to get an amount of second hand Kendo-gu (gear) sent by Kurashiki Shiyakusho to us so that anyone can get involved.
At first kendo was run as an extra training of the Mugairyu iaido dojo, but with the generous support of Burnside Primary School we were then able to run free training for all who were interested. In 2015 we changed our name to the Shmaitoshi kendo Dojo, and in 2017, in recognition of the fact that we have grown to become more than just a Sister City project, we have become the Nambu Kenshi Kai.
We continue to be eternally grateful to the support that Kurashiki City has given us which has allowed us to get started and continue to keep training free, and continue in the true spirit of Sister Cities which is connecting people through mutual understanding of cultures. All people who share this ideal are welcome to be involved.
Our Komon sensei, is Miyamoto-Sensei. Miyamoto-Sensei is 7-dan Kyoshi and lives in Japan but teaches us from afar and keeps an eye on our training. Miyamoto Sensei instructs us on all aspects of Kendo, but especially focuses on Reiho and Gijutsu that is appropriate to the aims of the Nambu-Kenshi-Kai, i.e. about correct understanding of Japanese and Budo culture.
Dan Fujikawa 藤川 暖
Kurashiki-Christchurch Sister City committee member
Nambu Kenshikai Komon Sensei
Miyamoto-sensei ７段 教士
Moyamoto Sensei is from Wakayama in Japan. Dan has trained with Miyamoto sensei for many years when he lived in Japan and was a regular member of his dojo
Miyamoto-sensei gives us guidance from Japan and we always look forward to training with him in person when we can. We feel very lucky to have his guidance and we always train as if Sensei is in the dojo with us. Miyamoto Sensei is a member of the Zen Nippon Kendo Renmei and is fully active in his dojo and region in Kendo.
Kendo training is held every Wednesday and Sunday at Burnside Primary School. It is free to join and all gear can be borrowed, also for free. This is because we are a volunteer activity supported by various people and organisations. All our gear has been donated by Kendo dojos in Kurashiki, Japan which enables us to run the dojo at minimal cost. Time is also donated by our Sensei and and Dojo nushi, and we all work together to run an enjoyable but serious Kendo dojo.
Kendo is a great way to learn about Japanese culture and etiquette, keep fit, learn discipline and more. Japanese Budo (martial arts) often have a reputation as being rough and tough, but Kendo is relatively low impact and there is little difference in potential for boys or girls.
Our Kendo dojo is open to all, but it is especially focused on people who want to learn Budo and Japanese culture. We are not members of the NZKF and do not support gradings or enter competitions. Our Kendo is aimed at introducing Japanese culture and etiquette rather than competition Kendo. When you train with us, you will be expected to be humble, take training seriously and learn as much as you can.
Training is from 6:30 ~ 7:30 pm every Wednesday and 9:45~10:45 am every Sunday, right throughout the year.
The Youth Kendo Dojo initiative focuses on Kendo as Budo, not as sports Kendo. This means that the purpose of training is to follow the ideals of Budo, trying to make yourself a better person, rather than winning the fight at all costs and beating your opponents into the ground. Instead, we respect our training partners and do our best at all times to train correctly, respect each other, observe Kendo etiquette and all the other things that come with Budo.
As the focus is on becoming a better person and allowing our Iaido members to experience a different aspect of the sword, we don't put emphasis on gradings or competitions and are not affiliated to the NZKF (New Zealand Kendo Federation).
The sister city relationship between Christchurch and Kurashiki has been going strong for over 40 years. Nearly all of our gear was donated by dojos in Kurashiki, through the Kurashiki Shiyakusho. We are really grateful to them for this kindness and so we always do our best to learn and respect Japanese culture though Kendo to repay their kindness.
Sister cities is all about getting people connected to each other and learning about each others' cultures so everyone who trains with us is expected to share this ideal. Because of this, our trainings are not too hard and rough, but instead focus on etiquette, cultural understanding and doing things in a Japanese way as much as possible, while enjoying training in the way of the sword.
Race relations and diversity
The Youth kendo project has been recognised by the New Zealand Human Rights Commission as making a positive contribution to race relations in New Zealand. By providing New Zealand youth with a chance to experience Japanese culture, the project encourages young people to understand different ways of thinking, cultural norms and perspectives. The HRC diversity Action project is one which we have been proud to be a part of since its inception in 2012.
Kendo is an ideal vehicle for Kiwis to experience Japanese culture. Kendo is very traditional and the manners, etiquette and way of doing things are all uniquely Japanese. If you can be comfortable in a Kendo dojo, you will find it much easier to observe Japanese manners and protocols if you ever visit Japan. People interested in any aspect of Japanese culture will get something out of Kendo, and people who don't know much about Japan will find it is natural way to learn.