Matthew Russell

Assistant Instructor - Yondan (4 Dan)

My Experience:

My kendo career started in Hong Kong 10 years ago and from there has spanned the world and many dojos, finally settling here in the summer of 2011. Within these 10 years the most influential instructors (shisho) have been Takagi-sensei from Saijo, Ehime and Manabe-sensei from Matsuyama, Ehime. Takagi-sensei taught me the importance of basics in kendo, inspiring me to realize that even non-professionals in kendo (ippan-jin) could compete with the best. Also, under the direct influence of Takagi-sensei I learned the importance of being open to learning from multiple sources in kendo from matches (shiai) to outside practice (degeiko). It was under this influence that I met the other most influential person in my kendo career, Manabe-sensei. An ex-kenkei Jodan-master, Manabe-sensei is the strictest and kindest master that I’ve ever met. Under his tutelage, I learned that good basics and form, at any level, are the basis for good, strong kendo. He also taught me a little Jodan, although I still have a long way to go on it.

For me Kendo started as a sport allowing me to play around and hit people, and transversed the years becoming a martial art to improve my character, a grounding place no matter where I was in life, but most importantly, a place where I can always go, anywhere in the world, and find and make friends with the best of people. Perhaps the happiest moment I experienced with Kendo was when I heard that the students that I taught Kendo in Japan had chosen their prefectural tournament motto as Kou-Ken-Chi-Ai (‘through mixing swords, we know love’). They had learned what I consider to be the most important truth of kendo. When we fight in Kendo, we are filled with great joy because we get to fight. Though our fight, we get to know our opponents character and soul, becoming close to our opponents. Once we have fought, we are now friends. Kou-Ken-Chi-Ai.

International Kendo Experience:

Experience training in Hong Kong, American, Japanese, and Canadian dojos. I have participated multiple times in the All-West Japan Kendo tournament as well as local Ehime prefectural tournaments.

Seminar Experience:

Various seminars held in Edmonton, Calgary, Madison, (WI, U.S.A.), and Ehime (Japan), as well as participating in the somewhat famous winter-practice (kangeiko) for the Osaka Sports Education University Kendo Team, that welcomes sensei’s from across Japan and the world every winter.