Members of TRU’s Kendo Club can now rise through the ranks thanks to their acceptance into the Canadian Kendo Federation (CKF) as one of their dojos.
The club’s membership with the CKF, which places them in affiliation with a dojo in Kelowna, means that students who practice the Japanese martial art can now earn official recognition for their training.
Jacky Zhou, a fourth-year science student and founding president of the club, said that earning ranks requires a membership fee to the CKF and is completely optional for members.
“Members of our club now have two options: They can practice just casually or they can go register as a member of the Kendo Federation and they will be able to be graded and get ranked,” Zhou said.
The TRU Kendo Club has been in talks about CKF membership since the spring of 2015.
However, once they started the process, it only took a short period of time to obtain membership because they are under the supervision of “Nishi Sensei,” the teacher in Kelowna’s Kendo Club.
“It took not that long because we have a good relationship with Nishi Sensei,” Zhou said, also adding that it will be the Kelowna Kendo Club that will be reviewing applications to get tested for ranking.
If a club member’s application gets accepted for testing, they will be tested at the CKF’s facilities in Vancouver. The next period for testing is in December and Zhou, along with another member, will be going to earn their first ranking.
Zhou, who teaches most of the sessions, had started learning Kendo when he was living in China. He did not receive his ranking before he left for Canada.
When he came to Kamloops, there was not a dojo nearby so he started his own Kendo club and he, along with other members, can now be recognized for their training.
“It feels really awesome,” Zhou said when asked about seeing what has been accomplished with the TRU Kendo Club.
“By giving our members the opportunity to move up in the ranks officially, and not unofficially as we did before, is a great success from this new recognition,” vice-president of the TRU Kendo Club Colton Stephens said.
“This means our members are able to gain success from outside the club.”
Both Zhou and Stephens hope more members apply for testing in the future.
Once tested, a Kendo student starts at the rank of seventh “kyu,” proceeding downwards to eventually first kyu as the student gains experience. After becoming a first kyu, the student then earn master ranks of “dan,” and the higher the dan rank, the more experienced the Kendo master is.
The sport originated in feudal Japan as a way to train samurai.