FOUR cuts separate Trent Reeve from international glory at the 16th World Kendo Championships.
Reeve, 25, originally from Cockatoo, has honed his skills in kendo – the Japanese swords-based martial art – and his talents have earned him a place on the Australian delegation heading to Tokyo later this year.
Winning in competition requires four successful strikes on your opponent – a strike to the head, wrist, torso and a thrust to the throat to win a match – but combatants also have to correctly hit the right part of the armour with the exact part of the sword while balancing perfect posture and poise.
It sounds complicated, but for Reeve and other international level kendo experts, the swordsmanship and precision comes as second nature.
To attain that level of skill took Reeve 10 years of diligent practice as he rose through the ranks of Australian kendo after a school exchange led the Pakenham resident to try out the centuries-old martial art.
“Just reading books I found out about kendo,” Reeve said.
“In 2005 I went to Japan on exchange and took up kendo while I was over there and in 2006 I took up kendo at Mumeishi in Berwick.
“It’s very different to most martial arts – you wear full armour, the traditional pleated skirt and cotton top on, the hard breastplate, the gauntlets and the facemask.
“With the sword – the shinai – that was outwardly very interesting and watching it, it’s very noisy and very aggressive.”
After a two-year training process, Reeve was selected for the final 15-person squad to represent Australia at the championships held this year at the literal ‘home of kendo’ – the Nippon Budokan Hall.
“To be on the Australian team it’s been four or five years coming plus a year in Japan, it’s really, as far as world kendo is concerned, the pinnacle of competitive kendo,” Reeve said.
“Being on the Australian team is fantastic, but on that same team going to Japan, and fighting at the Nippon Budokan at the home of kendo is a silver lining.”
He’s just returned from an extended training stay at the Nippon Sports Science University in Japan, where he “lived and breathed kendo for near on a year” honing his craft and perfecting his technique ahead of the championships.
Reeve is also the secretary for the Mumeishi Kendo Club in Berwick and for more information on the club, visit the website www.mumeishikendo.com.au.
Reeve’s international campaign begins in May.
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