The Next Chapter, Part I: Rutgers

Last weekend, BU Kendo took a trip to New Jersey to compete at the 20th Annual Rutgers-Shidogakuin Tournament at Rutgers University. Rutgers is a higher level tournament than the Cornell Tournament with more divisions including age, rank and school. A lot of dojos compete at Rutgers, giving many of our newer members a chance to see what kendo is like outside of the the collegiate level. Various schools, dojos and sensei competed, and BU had a chance to test its mettle against the other kendoka in the region, sending two teams to the tournament:


  1. Senpo: Brandon Kesselly
  2. Jiho: Lucien Thomas
  3. Chuken: Shawn Shou
  4. Fukusho: Jessica Alexandria
  5. Taisho: John Yi


  1. Senpo: Genevieve Boudreau
  2. Jiho: Kayla Gillespie
  3. Chuken: Erica Wiener
  4. Fukusho: Julie Zhu
  5. Taisho: Raymond Feng

BUKA Coach and former Captain Alex Eitoku also competed last weekend in one of the Individuals tournaments.

The Good

3 of our members placed in the individuals tournament brackets – President Lucien Thomas (CAS ’14) took 1st in the Mudansha tournament, Coach Alex Eitoku (CAS ’12) placed 2nd in the Shodan (1st Dan or “degree”) tournament and Captain John Yi (SMG ’14) placed 3rd in the Samdan (3rd Dan) tournament. Various members of the club did well in the tournament before their eventual defeats: A Team members Jessica Alexandria (CAS ’13), Brandon Kesselly (CAS ’14) and  Shawn Shou (SMG ’14) each nearly made the quarterfinals of their brackets in the Mudansha tournament, and Alexandria nearly made the quarterfinals during the women’s tournament as well. B Team member Rongdian “Julie” Zhu (CAS ’15) also advanced in her bracket in Women’s Individuals, while her teammates Erica Wiener (ENG ’16) and Genevieve Boudreau (CAS ’16) each scored their first ever tournament points! B Team’s taisho, Raymond Feng (SMG ’15) managed to hold his own against Shidogakuin DC’s taisho, breaking even in their duel.

The Bad

Unfortunately, Boston University did not place in the Team tournament this time around. And the teams who beat both our A and B teams – New York University A and Shidogakuin DC – placed 2nd and 1st respectively. However, as opposed to letting this hang over our heads, we are taking this time to re-evaluate our strengths and weaknesses as both a team and as individual kendoka. We are only as strong as our weakest link, and we only grow stronger together. Captain Yi has already outlined his strategy to prepare us for Harvard, and we will be ready.

What’s Next?

Last weekend we truly had a chance to bond as a team for the first time since last semester. This tournament may not have been our best, but it most certainly has not been our worst. And Harvard is right around the corner. Who knows what the future has in store for BUKA?

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