Reminiscences, reports and results of the Fifteenth World Kendo Championships, Novara, Piemonte, Italy. 25-27 May 2012

15th World Kendo Championships Impressions from AKR President Richard Ward, Manager James Saretta & Team Member Arpad Maksay.

The event from the perspective of an involved supporter, Richard Ward, AKR President.

I was excited to be able to attend the 15WKC, which was held in the lovely city of Novara, Piedmont, Italy, 25-27 May 2012. The reason for my excitement was that I had observed some of the Australian Kendo Teams almost three year development and preparation during their campaign for this event. I was impressed by their skill development and proud of their efforts. Most of the squad competed at various local championships, when many of us also saw them in action.

The Australian Kendo Team arrived in Italy about a week prior to commencement of the event for recovery from the long journey of over thirty hours, acclimatisation, to benefit from training in the local atmosphere and to get their psychology tuned.

As a result, when they arrived in Novara to compete, there were no surprises or feelings of unfamiliarity.

While I watched all the events that included an Australian, it became very apparent to me that the readiness of our Team was high. They showed that they were focussed and dedicated to achieve their various goals and to complete their tasks. All those are attributes that kendo people will be familiar with.

While some in our Team “got going” at varying stages of the event, very quickly all the Team were firing and, in my opinion, performing their best kendo ever. It was emotionally moving, over three days, to be able to observe the change in the way our Team members played. The learning curve was massive and I’m sure quite challenging at times, but what a result! The Men and Women Team members were a credit to themselves and indeed to all Australian kendo players.

The Men Individual event on day 1, saw our members compete very strongly and honestly against very strong and experienced kendo competitors.

The Women Individual and Team events were held on day 2. Whether this was an advantage or not is arguable. However, from a spectator’s point of view it provided me with a unique opportunity to observe first-hand the development and improvement in skills of our Women, over the course of a day.

In the Individuals, Vivian Yung and Daseul Chun both beat strong competitors to win their pools and advanced to the top 16.

The Womens’ Team event was fascinating and our Womens’ Team effort was also absolutely inspiring!

They advanced out of their pool to then win against Hungary and so progressed to the top 8, where they next played Brazil. Now Brazil, in case you don’t know, is a top 4 kendo competition nation and has been so for many years. The Australian Women took Brazil to the very brink of top 4 status. A tie-break fight-off was decided in favour of Brazil only after what seemed like hours. Brazil then progressed to be placed third.

Before and after the Womens’ Team matches completion, it had dawned on many of us that this was a big moment in Kendo. Not only for us Australians, but also for other nations. The support shown during and since the matches from other nations was and continues to be extremely warming. The results are reported below, but the effort shown by each and every member of the Womens’ Team was immense. Vivian Yung was awarded a Fighting Spirit Award for her efforts in the Team matches. Daseul Chun should have got one as well, in my opinion.

The following day our Mens’ Team played and beat Sweden, then Chile. Sweden have haunted our competition draw for numerous WKC events and been excellent performers. But on this occasion, despite Sweden playing very strongly, our team won and progressed from our pool to the top 16. Hungary was our next opponent in the top 16. Hungary are the European Champions! What a series of matches! Our Men played the best kendo I have ever seen from them, they all performed very well and scored. However, Hungary progressed to then play Japan in a semi-final and were subsequently placed third.

So in both Men and Women Team events, the Australian Teams advanced from their pools to only be beaten by the ultimate third place getters!

A great series of results. Thank you all.

In closing, I must more formally thank and acknowledge the members of the Teams, Coaches and Manager for their outstanding effort and the huge commitment made by them on our behalf.

Women Team
Daseul Chun
Chiaki Kobayashi
Kate Sylvester (C)
Sharyn Wragg
Vivian Yung

Men Team
Jayson Chaplin
Michael Henstock
Arpad Maksay
Kirby Smith (C)
Anthony Tilbury

Brett Smith
Assistant Coach
Yuji Sano
James Saretta

In closing, I must mention that the FIK decided that the 16WKC will be held at The Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, Japan in May 2015


Richard Ward
14 June 2012


Remarks from James Saretta:

Day 1.

Four players competing in the men’s individual (Arpad Maksay, Anthony Tilbury, Jayson Chaplin and Michael Henstock). We saw a bag of mixed results with players winning one of their pools matches and losing the other. This meant that anyone progressing from their pools was left in the hands of the other players in the pools. It was a good preparation for the men’s team event.

Day 2.

A long day with both the women’s individual and team’s events being held. Vivian Yung played strongly beating home town favourite Imperiale from Italy, and Ling from Hong Kong to progress strongly out of her pools and winning the next match to make the final 16. Sharyn Wragg played strongly but was unable to get out of her pools. Kate Sylvester played against Iao and Wouters to process from her pool and showed strong temperament in the face of tough opponents. Being beaten in the next round Kate made the final 32. Daesul Chun competing in her first WKC defeated Plaksijenko from Lithuania and seasoned WKC player Kumpf from Germany. With a strong win in the round of 32 Daesul showed great composure  to make the final 16 in her first ever WKC outing.

In the women’s team Australia played Japan, Sweden and Hong Kong. Beating both Sweden and Hong Kong Japan and Australia progressed from the pool, with Australia to play Hungary in the final 16. A strong performance saw Australia beat Hungary 3 matches to 1, to meet Brazil in the final 8. The Brazil match was tense. Australia winning the first 2 matches and losing the third. A draw in the fourth match required Australia to win a point in order to secure victory. The final match went to Brazil which forced a play off to decide the winner. Unfortunately Australia was unable to win the decider and essentially missed the medal round by 1 point. This was Australia’s best ever performance by any team at a WKC. In the final match against Brazil the results were – Chun 2-0, Yung 2-0, Kobayashi 0-2, Sylvester Draw, Wragg 0-2. Chun played the decider going down 0-1. Overall an outstanding performance.

Day 3

After mixed results in the individuals and a high bar set by the women’s team, the men were keen to put their best on display during the team’s events. Playing strongly against Chile and long time rivals Sweden, the men progressed from their pool beating Sweden 3 matches to 1 (wins to Chaplin, Tilbury, Smith) and Chile 4 matches to 1 (wins to Chaplin, Tilbury, Henstock and Maksay). In the round of 16 the men play Hungary for the right to play Brazil. Complicating the day was an injury received by Maksay which saw his right knee become very unstable despite the best taping efforts. This forced a call up for Brett Smith as our first reserve.  The Hungarians fought very strongly and showed great met nail toughness to o overcome the Australian team (Chaplin Draw, Tilbury 1-2, K. Smith 0-2, B. Smith 1-2, Henstock 1-2). The Hungarians went on to secure third place.

Overall some very strong performances with an outstanding result from the women’s team and a fighting spirit award won by Vivian Yung.


Arpad Maksays’ reminiscences

Dear Kendo colleagues,

I am back in the country and somewhat normalised and recovering from the jetlag. I want to thank you all for your assistance with my preparation.


Here is a rundown on how the comp went for me.

Day one: Individuals.

Fought Katsoulis from Greece. Beat him 1-0 in encho.

Then, after waiting for close to 2 hours, fought Haeke from Belgium. Got the first point, then stupidly let him back in to the match and relinquished a do cut just before the buzzer went for 5 mins. Then he scored the same point with the same set up some minutes into the encho. Stupid waste of the lead I had…

Day three: Mens Individuals.

Eyes snapped open at 2 am with a vision of the Swedish Taisho player – Jun Yamazaki – in my mind. At 2 am he was 6 foot 11 inches and resembled the Minotaur and was coming to annihilate me! I managed to work through the fear and by the time I stepped on the floor with him, we were already 3 matches up. However, although we had won, because it was a round robin pool scenario between us, Sweden and Chile, it was important to play it out to the end with the best result possible and send Chile a strong message. I did not score a point on Yamazaki, but I fought tooth and nail and took it to a hard earned draw (for my match). So we beat the Swedes, who have been our nemesis since 2003, 3 matches to 1.

Then came the Chile match. Chaplin won 2 zip. Tilbury won 2 zip. Kirby drew. Then Mike lost 2 zip.

So, I had to protect our win, by not losing 2-0. So I had two choices: draw, or score 1 point (then even if they score 2 back, we still win on points).

I put it all on the line and went out to fight their Taisho. At about 3.5 mins in, I scored a men cut. So we had won and were the winner of the pool and were through.

Then in the dying moments of the match, he and I both went for a men cut and our knees clashed. As you know, this sometimes happens in training and usually it is not an issue, the devil was walking the floor at that moment and my knee split off to one side and I went down like the proverbial sack of s-h-i-t.

At first it felt like it was broken, but what had happened was that the exterior ligaments had been pulled and stretched out of place.

I hobbled back to the line and sat down on the floor.

The doctor came over, put his rubber gloves on and…my first thought was “He is going to stick his finger in ..!” They are certainly strange, the random thoughts you have on a shiai-jo at the Worlds…!!!

He had a look and feel and the knee had stopped shaking and I was actually able to fully bend and extend it.

I did not want to finish the match by giving my opponent 2 free points, so I got up and walked back to the kaishi-sen. The match re-started.

I thought my knee would be OK, but when I made my first attempt to cut, as I did fumi-komi, the whole knee wobbled and I felt like it would buckle.

It was at this point that I thought of Ron Bennett. 3 days before we had made black bands around the base of our tsuka to remember his recent death. I thought, Ron wouldn’t give away 2 points uncontested even if both his knees were broken. So, while I couldn’t do much, I kept my kamae and fended him off for the remaining moments of the match.

He didn’t score and we got through our pool 3 matches to 1.

It was obvious I could not play because the knee was wobbling every time I put weight on it.

So, we brought in Brett, our reserve and coach, and played the Hungarians.

Hungary are pretty good. They are the current European Teams Champs and their Taisho player is also the European Individual Champ.

Their coach is a graduate of Kokusai Budo Daigaku and has been living and coaching in Hungary for many years. They are credible and very professional.

First match, Chaplin scored the first point, but then relinquished one and it ended in a draw. Second match, Tilbury played a guy called Attila (the Hun-garian!!!!). Tilbury scored the first point, but then gave up 2. So we were 1 match down.

Third match, Kirby lost 2 points.

Fourth match, Brett came out of the blocks hard and whacked a solid men on, but then lost 2 and so we had lost…

But in the final match, Mike, who was not firing and had struggled up until then, found it inside himself and took it to the Hungarian taisho.

The Hungarian thought he had scored a kote, because he saw 1 flag go up, so he stopped and Mike was wide awake and switched on and saw that it wasn’t a point and clocked him with a cracking Men. After that, the Hungarian taisho scored 2 back on Mike and completed their win, but it felt good to have revealed that crack in their professionalism.

At the final count they had beaten us 4 matches to nil.

The Hungarians then went on to beat Brazil and secured equal 3rd place. Bravo!

Then we all went to the Sayonara party and got rollicking drunk.

And my knee was strapped up by Vivian, our unofficial team physio, so even though Tilbury thought it was funny to keep trying to hip and shoulder me all through the night, it stayed stable enough to keep me up and get me home.

So, in summary, the knee is fine and on the mend, it was an amazing campaign. We lost, but also gained some good lessons.

Will see you soon at training.




1st Place
2nd Place
3rd Place
3rd Place
Men Individual

Susumu Takanabe

Wan-Soo Kim

Kosuke Furukawa

Tae-Hyun Kim
Women Individual
Yoko Sakuma
Kana Kurokawa
Sayuri Shodai
Mana Kawagoe
Women Team
Men Team

2012.5.25 – Men’s Individual Championship;

1° Susumu Takanabe (Japan)
2° W.KIM (South Korea)
3° T.KIM (South Korea)
3° K. Furukawa, Keisuke (Japan)

J.BERTOUT Fighting Spirit Award (France)
T.HOANG Fighting Spirit Award (Canada)
Shinsuke Hiroshi Hatanaka Fighting Spirit Award (Japan)
C.TANGE Fighting Spirit Award (Belgium)
R.OMASA Fighting Spirit Award (Brazil)
K.Kido large Fighting Spirit Award (Japan)
S.JOKINEN fighting bravely player (Finland)
B.PARK Fighting Spirit Award (South Korea)

2012.5.26 – Women’s Individual Championship;

1° Yoko Sakuma (Japan)
2° Kana Kurokawa (Japan)
3° Sayuri Shodai (Japan)
3° Mana Kawagoe (Japan)

S.PARK Fighting Spirit Award (South Korea)
S.TAMURA Fighting Spirit Award (USA)
K.JEON Fighting Spirit Award (South Korea)
H.YU Fighting Spirit Award (South Korea)
E.ONAKA Fighting Spirit Award (Brazil)
E.TAKASHINA Fighting Spirit Award (Brazil)
A.BLANCHARD Fighting Spirit Award (France)
S.VAN DER WOUDE Fighting Spirit Award (The Netherlands)

2012.5.26 – Women’s team competition

1° Japan
2° South Korea
3° Germany
3° Brasil

S.TAMURA Fighting Spirit Award (USA)
YOKOO Fighting Spirit Award (Germany)
H.YU Fighting Spirit Award (South Korea)
STOLARZ Fighting Spirit Award (France)
TAGUCHI Fighting Spirit Award (Canada)
ONAKA Fighting Spirit Award (Brazil)
V. YUNG Fighting Spirit Award (Australia)

2012.5.27 – Men’s team competition

1° Japan
2° South Korea
3° Hungary
3° USA

TAKAYAMA Fighting Spirit Award (Brazil)
S.DUBI Fighting Spirit Award (Hungary)
KORHONEN Fighting Spirit Award (Finland)
C.YANG Fighting Spirit Award (USA)
NAKABAYASHI Fighting Spirit Award (France)
CHALLIES Fighting Spirit Award (New Zealand)
DI-WEI.CHOU Fighting Spirit Award (Taiwan)
GIANNETTO Fighting Spirit Award (Italy)



Men Individual Competition results page 1

Men Individual Competition results page 2


 Individual Women Competition results page 1


 Team Women Competition results page 1


 Team Men Competition results page 1