By Sarah Gallaher | Staff Writer
As a cultural sport, kendo may not be as well-known as others on campus. However, after receiving club sport status, the Baylor Kendo Club is reaching new heights with additional funding and opportunities.
Kendo is a unique part of Japanese culture, combining practices observed in martial arts with sword-wielding techniques. Aside from taekwondo, the Kendo Club is one of the only club sports at Baylor that has strong roots in tradition and culture.
Frisco junior and Kendo Club president Manas Reddy said Campus Recreation‘s official charter of the Kendo Club as a club sport allows members to participate in more competitions and to widen the organization’s overall impact.
“Normal clubs that are chartered are just student activities, and they go in the Student Activities department,” Reddy said. “They don’t really receive support in terms of going to competitions and stuff. With club status, you’re technically under both Student Activities and Campus [Recreation]. Campus [Recreation] provides some support in terms of money and finances for going to competitions. It gives us a little more opportunity to do that.”
Mansfield junior and Kendo Club vice president Natalie Tran said she is excited about what the new designation means for cultural sports at Baylor.
“Being a club sport allows us to travel more and, you know, spread more knowledge about kendo,” Tran said. “We can go to more competitions with the support of Baylor and having funding for our club. We can be more organized overall and even have more practices and dedicate more time to our kendo club members.”
Reddy said kendo enabled him to learn more about Japanese culture.
“The goal of the Baylor Kendo Club is to allow students the opportunity to learn about Japanese Budō, martial art and Japanese culture by teaching kendo, the way of the sword, adhering to the All Japan Kendo Federation and All United States Kendo Federation standards,” Reddy said. “We host weekly practices to prepare ourselves for various events such as tournaments, rank testing and seminars hosted around the country.”
Reddy has been a member of the Kendo Club for over a year, recently assuming the position of president. During his time in the club, he participated in a national kendo competition. Reddy said the competition, along with the club as a whole, has been a great experience.
“What kept me going was, it’s just something fun to do,” Reddy said. “It’s kind of like a stress release for me personally. Like after a long week of tests or a long day of going to lectures, it … helps me release stress.”
Similar to Reddy, Tran participated in her first competition last year after joining the Kendo Club.
“It was very surreal, I think,” Tran said. “It was my first ever competition, so I was super nervous, but I think the previous president and our coach, Dr. Hatakeyama, was really great about preparing us for it.”
Reddy said with additional funding, the Kendo Club plans to attend as many competitions as possible, including ones held at Harvard University and UCLA during the spring semester.