The 27th May saw two important events in the British Kendo Renmei calendar. The first was the celebration of a milestone in our Kendo development – the 40th Anniversary of the Butokukan Kendo Dojo, established in Brighton and Lewes in south-east England. More than a hundred guests and Kendoka came to the splendid Assembly Rooms of the Lewes Town Hall to mark the event and to take part in the showing of ko-ryu swordsmanship, (Shiten-ryu Shiho Kiome-no-waza Iai-jutsu, Jikishinkage-ryu Hojo-no-kata, and the Hasegawa-Eishin-ryu Iai-jutsu), the Nihon-Kendo-gata and practice by our enthusiastic children followed by the adult ranks.
Many high-ranking Japanese kodansha have visited and instructed at the Butokukan over the past four decades and we are sure they would have been pleased to see how orthodox Kendo and Iai has continued to strengthen under the ever-watchful eyes of Roald and Pat Knutsen, both rokudan, and their senior yudansha.
The proceedings were opened and closed by the formal and deeply impressive beating of the dojo taiko by our youngest nidan, Thomas Bowen, who himself started his Kendo career in the Lewes dojo when just a lad of eight, ten years ago. The impressive and difficult Jikishinkage-ryu ‘Four Seasons’ kata was demonstrated by Phillip Jupp, rokudan, (Uchidachi), and Steve Phillips, godan, (Shidachi), both of the Vauxhall Kendo Dojo, London. The Nihon Kendo-gata was shown by Pat Knutsen, (Uchidachi), and Simon Crittenden, godan, (Shidachi ), (Tonbridge Dojo).
After the formal Kendo came a splendid buffet reception.
The second event was the formal announcement of the results of the Spring Shodan Shinsa examinations for advancement into and within the dan degrees. The assessments were held during the preceding week but the results delayed until the evening of the 27th in Lewes.