Matthew Russell

Head Instructor - Godan (5 Dan)

My Experience:

My Kendo career started in Hong Kong 20+ years ago and from there has spanned the world and dojos, before I finally settled here in 2011. Within these years my 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 (ippanjin) could compete with the best. He also challenged me to make a Kendo that surpassed my injured knee and allowed life-long growth. It was under this influence that I met the other most influential person in my Kendo career, Manabe-sensei. An ex-kidotai (riot-policeman) Manabe-sensei is the strictest and kindest master that I’ve ever met. Under his tutelage, I learned that good basics and form are the basis for good, strong Kendo. I lived in Japan about 6 years while training Kendo and visit my Kendo home in Ehime, Japan regularly to train and grow.

My goal as an instructor is to support students as they learn and continue on in Kendo across their lives. Kendo is based in the foundation of ‘katsujinken’, “the sword that gives life”, seen as self-improvement for yourself and others. Just when you think you got something in Kendo, you realize that there is always something more to learn… and the things you learn manifest in your everyday life, and in spectacular ways.