A Kendo Career: From a Normal Japanese Class to Worldwide Championships


It all began with a high school Japanese class and it ended up with Tania Butterfield on the world stage, fighting for the world title in kendo. She has spent countless years training and fighting in a martial art, but her Kendo career started when she had an innocuous school assignment topic – a Japanese sport.

She said that most people wrote about karate, but she likes to be different so she chose kendo instead of any other sport. Even then, it wasn’t until she went to the country of Japan when she finally tried the sport. And While you’re bored at home, don’t forget there are plenty of things to do. Nowadays, fortunately, you have the opportunity to register at a casino through your own computer and that’s a huge advantage. By having casinotop5.jp you can discover the best casinos for you and much more.

She was in Shiga where she was teaching English in 2013 when a colleague asked her if she wanted to try kendo before she left Japan. She said that that was something she always wanted to do.

Kendo – or “the way of the sword” – is very modern martial art, that is based on the swordsmanship. Two opponents will face each other, using bamboo swords that are called shinai. Within a match, points will be scored by striking one of four targets: the men (head), do (torso), the tsuki (neck) or the kote (hand).

However, within those very simple rules, there’s plenty of complexity. Kendo is, without a doubt, a difficult sport to learn the intricacies of – scoring is much more than simply hitting an opponent; your spirit and also your respect you show comes into it too.

Butterfield said that in order to score a point, everything has to work together so the timing of the stamping of the feet plus the sound from the foot hitting the ground, the accuracy of where you hit the opponent, the voice you use where you’re hitting the other person and, obviously, your spirit, these things all come into consideration.

The leader of a local kendo club even invited Butterfield to join after hearing about her interest in kendo. He even sent her a very heartwarming written note, using Google Translate, to give tell her the directions to the club. That note was definitely the tipping point for the early steps for Butterfield’s career.

She thought that if he’s going to all through this effort in order to write this note, to tell her where to go to do kendo, then she definitely needed to go.

Butterfield admits, without any shame, that her first attempt wasn’t the best experience – it was hot, stick and she wasn’t very good at it.

She continued practising, going back to the club to show her students that they don’t have to be the best at something to enjoy it and because of the incredible amount of support the kendo community showed her.

She even said that there were so many people who rallied around her to help. Leading up to her exams, one of her teachers took her to three different clubs around so just she could get to know people. And since she’s a foreigner, she stands out, so people came to know who she was. She was the foreigner doing kendo.

By the time she was back in New Zealand, she already knew there was no way she could stop doing kendo. She stated that there were plenty of people that invested time and also effort in her, and her kendo journey and she wanted to show them that it wasn’t a waste of time.

By the time she got back to Japan and joined Sei Tou Ken Yu Kai Canterbury Kendo Club, she had won her second dan – a rank that’s above the equivalent of the black belt – she brought her Japanese trainer with her.

Before, she was working alongside with other Australian kendo stars in order to qualify and then train for the 17th World Kendo Championships in South Korea in 2018. She said that there was a two-year lead-up: a lot of gyms, training plus kendo training, fitness and strengthening work at the gym, as well as work on balance and timing.

When she was in South Korea, she found the world championships an interesting experience. Along with the other members of the New Zealand team, she did step into a highly competitive environment, where they were put against opponents who had been training since they were very young.

Seeing the different techniques and styles of kendo that were from various countries also gave her a learning curve for the team.

She said that in the finals between Korea and Japan, she was sitting next to one of the girls of her team and she was just saying “this is not kendo, this is not kendo”. She said that is because there’s kendo the sport and kendo the martial art and she think that distinction is something that going forward, New Zealand kendo and the rest of the world need to think about it.

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