The Phnom Penh Kendo Club received several visitors from neighboring countries and also took part in kendo events from late last year to early this year.
In September of 2016, senior members Hocklee and VJ participated in the 3rd Vietnam Kendo Open Championships held in Vung Tau, Vietnam, where VJ received a Fighting Spirit Award.
Then in November 2016, they had the pleasure of having Hanoi Kendo Club ‘s Tu Peo join them in their kendo practice at the squash court, while their dojo floors were under repair. Repairs for the main dojo floor was finished beginning the year 2017, and members once again enjoyed practicing their footwork and kendo skills on their smooth, bouncy floors they missed so much.
By February of 2017, the club once again successfully presented Iaido and Kendo demonstrations at the Kizuna Festival held at CJCC (Cambodia-Japan Cooperation Center) for the Martial Arts demonstration portion of the event. We had the pleasure of having Mekong Daiko‘s Keiko-san join us in the demonstration to signal parts of the Iaido and Kendo demonstrations by beating her taiko.
Sometime in March of this year, we had the immense pleasure of having Hiraga-sensei (7dan) from Japan join us for a week of very hot kendo in the beginning of summer. He promises to return in the middle of the year for another round of tropical keiko.
Not long after his visit, we had over once again our honorary member, Mukai-sensei (5dan), who comes over to Phnom Penh from time to time for work-related reasons and joins our practice when he can.
Finally, last April of this year we had over two strong Japanese kenshis from Singapore practice with us for several weeks — Makoto-san and Yoshi-san. We don’t have a photo with them, but we certainly remember the time we spent with them, and the lessons we learned from them on the dojo floors. A week later, Kazeken Dojo from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam visited the PPKC for a day of kendo and sight-seeing. It was real treat to have a dojo visit another dojo and establish goodwill and friendship between the two clubs by crossing swords together. The Vietnamese club visited the main attractions of Phnom Penh and enjoyed a variety of street foods before heading back to their home country the next day.
Just last week, we had U.S. Marine Leroy from Hawaii (no photo) join our weekend practices and share with us the various kendo drills that they do back in Hawaii. We received a couple of delicious Hawaiian chocolates from him after keiko. He, being of Cambodian descent, was thrilled to know that we finally have kendo in Cambodia. For him, it is the mark of the country’s progress and a welcome departure from its unfortunate and dark past. We hope to see him again and do kendo with him once more.
We feel much love and appreciate everyone who comes and visits us and takes the time to teach us, learn with us, and share a beer with us afterwards anytime of the year. We definitely treasure these moments and hope to see these good friends and kenshis again at some future time. Cheers!
Tuesday kendo (Sep. 20) and Thursday iaido (Sep. 22) will be cancelled due to repairs being done at the dojo. Please check up on us again about weekend practice.
Last July 9 and 10 of this year, Cambodia sent its very first National Team members to Bangkok, Thailand for the 11th ASEAN Kendo Championships, which is held every 3 years. Our all–Cambodian team joined the Men’s Individual and 5–Men’s Team categories, while our one and only female representative joined the Women’s Individual tournament. Although our members have lost all their matches, they all saw it a great experience and exposure in appreciating kendo better.
Meanwhile, another of our home–grown kendo members also joined the ASEAN tournament, but as a national team member for the Philippines. She participated in both Women’s Individual and 5– Women’s Team matches against Thailand’s A team and Vietnam’s B team.
Below is a write–up by our acting club Chairman, Dr. Mori, about our national team members and their matches.
A Summary of Cambodian National Team Expedition to 11th ASEAN Kendo Tournament 2016 Bangkok, Thailand
SENPO: Kosal Kong CAM 5
He fought bravely. In individual match, He attacked intrepidly against Nitouryu who won the tournament.
However absolute shortage of Keiko was not covered enough with his fighting spirit. Come more to Dojo and do good Keiko.
SENPO: Dena Heng (Steven Heng) CAM 4
He is a Jodan player. He had a match with another Jodan and he never lose in same time Men attack. However lucking in the skill to separate,and at middle distance to get unprepared attacks.
We don’t have enough time to learn some practical technics.
JIHO: Sochyvonn Nora CAM 3
When we turn on the switch to AKT, he had still only 3 months experience of Kendo. He refused strongly to join the tournament however I believed his improvement with his strong body and mind to push him into the team. Since then, he did the hardest Keiko than everybody. I always said ” Don’t worry ” but he was worried all the time. After the first day of tournament, I asked him ” Did they make you frightened ? ” He said “No”. ” Is the difference so big to do nothing?” He said “I don’t know!” But I saw He did the longest Keiko after the games that meant He had felt he can do something to make the difference in between opponents and him smaller.
I hope Nora to be a reader of Cambodian kendo in the future.
CHUKEN: Hocklee Heng CAM 2
He knows how to charge his energy. So I said just “Relax and do your Kendo!”. He charged his energy by losing game by game, ippon by ippon. Then in the last match, he was in the ZONE!
He got 2 fine breathtaking MEN and win the match. By his winning, every team members know the difference in-between Winning and Losing. Thank you Hocklee Heng!
FUKUSYO: ヘン ボレット CAM 6
He jumped in to the Dojo on a Saturday morning which was a deadline of the entry for AKT after 3 years absent.
I said to him ” This is a Oracle! you should join the tournament! ”
He agreed and became one of a leader of the team.
He did very well in the games. Against very strong 2 opponents, he fought a 0-0 tie until the end of time.
Need a little more experience and relax then he will be a strong Kendo player with his experience of Ryukyu Kobudou.
TAISYO: Sothea Tch CAM 1
He is one of the longest member of our club, however he is too busy to join Keiko.
With his gentle nature he never appeared aggressiveness in his Kendo. That is why I put him on TAISYO all the times.
He injured his shoulder tendon before the team matches but he showed me outstanding 5 continuous Men-uchi until the end of the court against a skilful, speedy,strong Indonesian A team TAISYOU.
Refer to the Video, I can see 2 of nice striking hit the centre of Men and this attack made my tears drop on the floor.
Thank you Sotea!
Women individual: Tha Nuth CAM 7
She knew her skill and experience was not enough to AKT.
She was very brave to hand up to join the team. She made the history of Cambodian woman participation to AKT!! All Cambodian woman Kendo players! watch this brave senpai and follow her to the next AKT.
Keiko before AKT often she was sobbing quietly in her Men and said
” I have never fight with others so I can’t make a big voice.” But finally she understand Kendo is not beating the opponent but beating her weakness of mind. The voice is not shouting to the opponent but naturally come up from Tanden when she concentrate and fulfil her energy.
In the last match of her, I heard big voices out of her which exceed the voice of strong opponent.
Your trace will be a track and trail! Thank you for showing your brave Lion Heart!!
In the tournament, our team did our Kendo well which characterise “Do not go Backward,””Do not be Passive,” and “Hit! If you have time to receive!”. It was really a good point.
In the mean time, our team members felt absolute shortage of skills and technic to Shiai and felt every participants’ great efforts to the tournament. Now we feel great respect to them.
One of our member got 2 fine strikes of Men points and won the match. This fact made us encouraged and realise what is the difference in-between winning any losing.
The Cambodian National Team did well and deserve the name bestowed by Minister of Education and Sport.
I wish to express our gratitude to Osuga sensei (7dan Kyoshi),Sakata sensei and many sensei who gave the guidance to us.
I have no word of gratitude to many supporters who support our expedition financially. Without your help, the dream had not come true.
10 years later, I wish I were able to see all these ” Seven Samurai ” still doing Kendo keenly, and talk about this expedition as a beautiful and nostalgic memory talk with them.
Thank you everybody
We are also deeply grateful for the valuable support from our sponsors.
Last Saturday (May 21), two of our ladies — along with Osuga-sensei — participated in a kata demonstration of Nihon Kendo Kata and Muso Shinden Ryu Iaido kata (respcetively) for an “Introduction to Karate” seminar conducted by Mr. Isato Ochi of the Shikoku Ichiden Ryu at the CJCC.
The next day, Sunday (May 22), Mr. Ochi joined the first batch of Iaido students learning from Osuga-sensei, which is composed of members from the club, along with Andy Kent from Shotokan Dojo, and one visitor from Japan who studied Iaido under Osuga-sensei back in Manila, Philippines.
An hour later, everyone did kendo together, where they were joined by another traveling visitor from Japan.
The PPKC now holds Iaido classes every Thursday at 6:30 PM in the main dojo.
The Phnom Penh Kendo Club had been very fortunate to receive visitors from different countries and cross shinais with them in our beloved dojo, which according to our visitors has the best floors for kendo!
Pablo Perez from the Kenwakai kendo dojo in Madrid, Spain joined us for keiko one weekend during his holiday here in Cambodia. He proved himself a force to be reckoned with, giving his very best while enduring the unforgiving heat and humidity of the day with a seemingly never–ending jigeiko from members who wanted to spar with him one after another.
April 7 & 9
Christopher Wong–sensei, an esteemed kenshi and public figure from Malaysia, then attended our Thursday and Saturday practices during his business trip here in Phnom Penh before the Khmer New Year. The members had a real privilege and pleasure to learn from him and spar with him during kihon and jigeiko respectively. He says he really enjoyed doing kendo with us, and we hope he can come and visit us again.
Mr. Ono from Hong Kong unexpectedly joined Thursday practice straight from the airport. The senseis were thrilled.
On other news, a Cambodian national team is finally formed for the very first time, and the delegates will be participating in the 11th ASEAN Kendo Tournament, which will be held in Bangkok, Thailand in July. We wish them the very best and are already proud of them for taking this frightening leap of entering the kendo sporting community.
For the first time since the club began in 2009, the PPKC now has their first ever shodan (or 1–dan; a rank equivalent to black belt) from the batch who started to learn kendo in the club.
VJ had been a member of the club since 2011 and this previous weekend, she took part in the 16th Hong Kong Asia Open Kendo Championships, where she had taken her dan exam and had passed. She also participated in the taikai (tournament) but competed for the Philippine team (IGA Kendo Club, who adopted her) in the absence of a Cambodian delegation.
We hope that this will inspire our other members to level– up too and eventually entice our local members to debut in the international tournament scene.