“I’ve been learning and practicing Kendo regularly since the fourth grade. When I was in fourth grade, my brother was at an age where he could do Kendo. So he started Kendo. My mom made me do it too. At first, I didn’t like it, but now I really like it. Kendo, for me, is good for stress relief. I feel at home when I am in my Kendo class. 

As a high schooler, I can now join the Kendo competition with my team, consisting mainly of adults who are 30 years or older and university students. It was really fun to be in a team with adults whom I respect. Even though I lost, my teammates encouraged me all throughout by saying ganbare (Hang in there!) and that made me really motivated and excited. 

One of my happy moments in Kendo was last year. When I was practicing Kendo, the bamboo of my shinai (the stick) broke. Usually, the bamboo can just be replaced. But at that time, my shinai broke to the point where it was irreplaceable. When I was going to buy a new shinai, the most experienced teacher in my dojo gave me one of his new shinai. When he gave it to me, he said, “Because you try hard.” He gave me a men’s shinai, which is a bit heavier than a woman’s shinai. I was really happy when I got it because it’s like getting a lightsaber from Qui-Gon Jinn (a character in Star Wars). I’ve been using that shinai ever since. 

As you can tell, I really like martial arts. Apart from Kendo, I always wanted to do boxing, but I am busy and don’t have time. So, I watch YouTube and self learn boxing. Last year, I got my boxing gloves and boxing pads, so sometimes I do boxing just for fun. 

I wanted to make a boxing club at school, but I realized that it would be difficult because we don’t have any boxing equipment. So I expanded the range of activities we could do in a club. Along with Mary, my best friend, I made the Wellness club. She learns about health and nutrition, so I thought that it would be a good idea to combine exercise, which I like, and nutrition, which she likes. We have done boxing and Tai chi in our club. We have cooked healthy foods such as avocado toast. Mr. Jermic is teaching us eating and exercise techniques, which is really helpful.” – Tiana