Joseph Arthur


Ever since Melbourne first entered stage 3 restrictions, the Monash Kendo Club has been forced to find alternative ways to engage its member's.

With all competitions either postponed indefinitely or cancelled all together, the period hasn't been easy for Monash kendo.

However, despite the difficult circumstances the club has been resilient and resolute in its efforts to maintain a positive club atmosphere and keep members in fighting shape.

The martial art requires a lot of one-on-one practice and sparring, so it's transition to online mediums wasn't easy. Nonetheless, club Vice President (VP) Hoey Yien Goh said it found a solution and has been able to provide members with as much kendo at home as possible.

"During the first lockdown we ran a poll to see what members wanted to do and the majority wanted to continue working out and training online," VP Hoey said.

"We ended up coming together and organising kendo training sessions twice a week during our usual training times, we do either a theoretical or a practical kendo session, led by our instructors or senior club members.

"On top of that we do two to three workout sessions a week, these are physical activities led by one of our members who is a qualified personal trainer.

"Lastly, once a month we do an online game session. So we all get online and play a kahoot game or do a trivia quiz together."

Some club members also recently participated in the #MoveinMay Challenge and the Run for Refugees, highlighting members' dedication to stay fit and social throughout this troubling period.

"Some people are more engaged with the Kendo sessions, while others are more engaged with the physical workout sessions, overall, our member base is pretty varied in its preferences," VP Hoey said.

The club has shown great resilience and the engagement from members during isolation is a testament to the positive and inclusive atmosphere it has built.

After being forced to forgo its yearly intake of new members, the kendo club did a terrific job retaining previous members and has prospered because of the many existing relationships among the athletes.

"We only do one intake of new members each year and because of the way the martial art works we weren't able to do it this year. People need yo be physically present to try out so we elected not to take new members," VP Hoey said.

"Our member base is pretty constant so it wasn't difficult for us to maintain engagement because we were all friends already."

Unfortunately, the biggest hurdle the kendo athletes need to jump is yet to come. It is mandated that kendo participants train for at least three months in person before they can compete, meaning whenever the state re-opens for a return to sport, kendo will require a further three month wait before competitions' can recommence.

"It's been tough motivating people considering all our competitions have stopped and wont be returning for a while," VP Hoey said.

"Training now involves a lot of visualisation and focus on improving technique or striking training dummies. Nevertheless, we'll be ready to return whenever that is."

Hang in there Monash Kendo! You're all doing a super job of sticking with it and hopefully the light at the end of the tunnel isn't far away.

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