The Season, Part 4: Rutgers

BU Kendo played at the 21st Annual Rutgers-Shidogakuin Tournament this past weekend in New Brunswick, NJ. Below are the results of the weekend:

 

Individuals

Rutgers is a dojo-style tournament and thus separates its divisions by age, rank, etc. BU sent 18 competitors to play in the individual tournament. The following BUKA members competed in individuals:

Mudansha

  • Jessica Alexandria
  • Genevieve Boudreau
  • Raymond Feng
  • Kayla Gillespie
  • Ralph Kim (MCPHS)
  • Boshan Mo
  • Billy Pratama
  • Priank Ravichandar
  • Taryn Ross
  • Yevgeniy Temchenko
  • Renee Wang
  • Kathie Zhang
  • Julie Zhu

1-Kyu/1 Dan

  • Brandon Kesselly
  • Shawn Shou
  • Lucien Thomas
  • Joseph Yi

2 Dan/3 Dan

  • John Yi

Women’s

  • Jessica Alexandria
  • Genevieve Boudreau
  • Kayla Gillespie
  • Taryn Ross
  • Renee Wang
  • Kathie Zhang
  • Julie Zhu

Results

  •  Yevgeniy Temchenko – 3rd Place, Mudansha Individuals
  • Jessica Alexandria – 3rd Place, Women’s Individuals
  • Joseph Yi – 3rd Place, 1-Kyu/1 Dan Individuals
  • Shawn Shou – 1st Place, 1-Kyu/1 Dan Individuals

 

Teams

Rutgers’ team tournament was single elimination with about 16 teams from multiple dojos and colleges from the East Coast. BU sent 3 teams – A, B and C – to compete for the gold. Here is the breakdown of the teams:

A

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

B

  1. Senpo: Ralph Kim
  2. Jiho: Yevgeniy Temchenko
  3. Chuken: Joseph Yi
  4. Fukusho: Julie Zhu
  5. Taisho: Raymond Feng

C

  1. Senpo: Genevieve Boudreau
  2. Jiho: Kayla Gillespie
  3. Chuken: Renee Wang
  4. Fukusho: Kathie Zhang
  5. Taisho: Boshan Mo

 

Results

  • 2nd Place – BU A

 

BU played well during this past weekend, winning a total of 5 awards between its 18 competitors. This was the first tournament for many of our members, and they faced their opponents without fear, giving their matches 100% of their effort. We are proud of you guys, and we are proud of everyone who competed this weekend! Remember: to those who fought at Rutgers, this was our practice for Shoryuhai. As Coach Eitoku said, take the time over the break to reflect upon the tournament and how you can improve your kendo overall. Try to practice at least your suburi, but please stay active. Shoryuhai is the biggest tournament of the year, and we plan to be ready for victory.

 

The Season, Part 3: Columbia

This past weekend, BUKA participated in Columbia’s first annual Shishiai Intercollegiate Kendo Tournament. Below are the results of the tournament (get pumped!):

 

Individuals

The Individual tournament was round robin-style and divided by rank: the Yudansha and Dangai played separately. BU had 14 members compete in the tournament – 8 in the Dangai and 6 in the Yudansha. The following members of BUKA played during the individual tournament proceedings:

Dangai

  • Genevieve Boudreau
  • Raymond Feng
  • Peter Iyer
  • Christina Lupoli
  • Taryn Ross
  • Jack Wang
  • Youming Ye
  • Julie Zhu

Yudansha

  • Jessica Alexandria
  • Reina Iwase
  • Brandon Kesselly
  • Shawn Shou
  • Lucien Thomas
  • John Yi

Results

  • Dangai: 2nd – Raymond Feng
  • Yudansha: 3rd – Lucien Thomas

Highlights

  • Raymond Feng won his first Individual medal!
  • Lucien Thomas won his first Yudansha medal!

 

Teams

The Team tournament was single-elimination and featured multiple teams from about 10 schools. BU sent two teams (A and B) to compete for the gold. The teams were as follows:

A

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

B

  1. Senpo: Genevieve Boudreau
  2. Jiho: Youming Ye
  3. Chuken: Julie Zhu
  4. Fukusho: Reina Iwase
  5. Taisho: Raymond Feng

 

Results

  • 3rd – BU A

Highlights

  • BU A placed 3rd overall!
  • B Team Taisho Raymond Feng scored against a 3 Dan opponent!

 

Columbia was the first tournament of 2014, and BU fought against many tough opponents during this single day tournament. We have taken this as a learning experience and will keep all of what we learned for the upcoming Rutgers Shidogakuin in March. Congratulations to everyone who placed today, and to those who did not, do not lose your fighting spirit: train harder and persevere!

Prelude to the Bogu Exam

There comes a time in a kendoka’s life when they are about to take the next step in their journey. Ideally, this means gaining kyu or dan, but nothing comes close to the feeling of your first time in bogu. A new world opens up – albeit with some tunnel vision – but the feeling is a bit more…bizarre than the first time you learn to swing a shinai.  For the kendoka, it is the next step into a new dimension, one from which there is no return. In many dojos, the sensei will determine whether or not his/her students are ready to take this step. However, as BU is not a dojo, this is determined a little differently: with a test.

The Bogu Exam is given annually to beginners in the club. During the first semester, new members are trained in all of the basic aspects of kendo with the intention of preparing them for this Exam. It is historically given the weekend before Thanksgiving, therefore allowing beginners to train during the semester with the older members and allow them to witness tournaments such as Cornell and Goyokai. During the Bogu Exam, the beginners are tested on their level of comfort with the techniques they have been practicing throughout the semester.

Kendo stresses many aspects, but the main focal points for ippon (“one full point”) are as follows: kiaitenouchi, fumi komi, and zanshin. The kiai is – for lack of a better term – a “battle cry” that showcases the warrior’s spirit; weak kiai demonstrates a weak resolve and little commitment to defeating your opponent. Tenouchi is the way in which you grip your shinai. Your tenouchi changes during an attack – it tightens as you swing, producing a sort of POP! sound when you complete your hit. Fumi komi is a stomp that is performed in unison with your strike. It is the result of the kendoka rapidly shifting their weight forward and catching that weight with their front foot; fumi komi and tenouchi together produce the POP! Lastly, the zanshin is the completion of the strike and one’s physical and mental readiness to move on to the next opponent. Proper zanshin demonstrates that you have defeated your opponent. The Bogu Exam stresses these- as well as proper posture and swings – as the beginners demonstrate their ability to strike three of the four kendo targets: men, kote and do.

The 2013 Bogu Exam will be taking place on Saturday, November 23 at 11 am. On that day, new stories about BU Kendo will begin.

The Season, Part 2: Goyokai

On Sunday, November 3, BU Kendo participated in the 14th Annual Goyokai Kendo Tournament in Randolph, MA. This year marks BU’s first Goyokai since November 2010, and BU played well despite the higher level of competition. Here’s a full recap of the tournament.

 

Individuals

As kendo is a martial art, the individual tournament was divided by rank; it also included women’s divisions by rank (women could compete in both the men’s and women’s competitions). The results of the individuals are as follows:

  • Men’s Kyu: 3rd – Lucien Thomas
  • Women’s Kyu: 3rd – Julie Zhu
  • Men’s 1-2 Dan: 2nd – Alex Eitoku
  • Women’s 1-2 Dan: 3rd – Jessica Alexandria
  • Men’s 3 Dan: 3rd – John Yi

Highlights

  • President Lucien Thomas, B Team member Julie Zhu, A Team member Jessica Alexandria and Captain John Yi each placed 3rd in their divisions!
  • Coach Alex Eitoku placed 2nd in his division, and 3 members of his team (including him) advanced to the quarterfinal round!

Teams

Goyokai also held a single-elimination team tournament. BU sent 3 teams – A, B and C – to compete for the gold. The teams were as follows:

A

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

B

  1. Senpo: Kathie Zhang
  2. Jiho: Tori Moore
  3. Chuken: Yevgeniy Temchenko
  4. Fukusho: Julie Zhu
  5. Taisho: Joe Yi

C

  1. Senpo: Christina Lupoli
  2. Jiho: Vacant
  3. Chuken: Kayla Gillespie
  4. Fukusho: Michaella Chung
  5. Taisho: Taryn Ross

Unfortunately, A team was the only team to advance past the first round, and was eventually defeated in the quarterfinals.

Goyokai was a learning experience for all of our members. It gave us a chance to fight against stronger opponents than we are used to and to re-evaluate our kendo. This was the final tournament of the semester, so the new goal is to train the beginners for their bogu exam, and for everyone to improve for the Harvard Shoryuhai Taikai in March. Until then, congratulations to all of BU’s kenshi who placed! FAITO!!!

The Season, Part 1: Cornell

This past weekend, BU Kendo attended the 13th Annual Cornell Kendo Tournament. Here is a full recap of the weekend’s events!

Day One

After a long drive and plenty of rest, the tournament began on Saturday, October 12 with the Individual tournaments. The tournament was broken into 3 divisions: Mudansha (Unranked), Yudansha (Ranked) and Women’s. Individuals were single elimination matches. Here were BU’s competitors:

Mudansha

  • Brandon Kesselly
  • Jessica Alexandria
  • Raymond Feng
  • Yevgeniy Temchenko
  • Boshan Mo
  • Kayla Gillespie
  • Kathie Zhang
  • Julie Zhu
  • Ralph Kim (MCPHS)
  • Daniel Kim
  • Taryn Ross

Yudansha

  • Jun Kim (Northeastern)
  • Shawn Shou
  • Lucien Thomas
  • Joseph Yi
  • John Yi

Women’s

  • Jessica Alexandria
  • Julie Zhu
  • Kathie Zhang
  • Kayla Gillespie
  • Taryn Ross

Results

Mudansha

  • 1st – Brandon Kesselly

Women’s

  • 2nd – Jessica Alexandria

Yudansha

  • 1st – Jun Kim
  • 2nd – John Yi

Highlights

  • Captain John Yi, SID Brandon Kesselly and A Team member Jessica Alexandria each placed in their respective divisions!
  • During the Yudansha competition, Vice President Shawn Shou faced three 3 Dan and above opponents. He defeated 2 of them to advance to the quarterfinal!

Day Two

After BU’s strong showing during Saturday’s competition, it was time for the team tournament on Sunday.  This tournament was also single elimination, and BU sent 3 teams to compete for the gold. The teams were as follows:

A

Senpo: Brandon Kesselly
Jiho: Lucien Thomas
Chuken: Shawn Shou
Fukusho: Jessica Alexandria
Taisho: John Yi

B

Senpo: Yevgeniy Temchenko
Jiho: Julie Zhu
Chuken: Joseph Yi
Fukusho: Boshan Mo
Taisho: Raymond Feng

C

Senpo: Tori Moore
Jiho: Kathie Zhang
Chuken: Daniel Kim
Fukusho: Kayla Gillespie
Taisho: Taryn Ross

Results

2nd – Boston University A

Highlights

  • BU A placed second overall
  • Kayla Gillespie scored her first tournament point (on her birthday, no less!)

 

In hindsight, the weekend was one that brought every member of the club closer together in some way, shape or form. While both days of the tournament saw incredible swordplay from many schools, but BU held its own and managed to once again leave a strong impression at the first tournament of the year.

The Saga Continues, Part 2

After one month of practice, BUKA has grown into a very large club: roughly 40 students practice weekly, with at least 20 members in bogu (armor). Coach Alex Eitoku and Captain John Yi have rigorously trained BU’s kendoka (kendo practitioners)  - both new and experienced – for the coming Cornell Kendo Tournament taking place October 11th and 12th.

For the new members, Cornell will be their first exposure to kendo outside of practice. Cornell boasts a diverse group of schools from around the East Coast, allowing them to see how other teams play. It will be a means for them to fully absorb every aspect of their teachings and begin to grasp the concepts that have been stressed thus far. It will be a great learning opportunity, but it will also be a time for spectators to begin to bond with their peers and their sempai.

For the experienced members, this is our first opportunity to test ourselves against non-BU opponents. Historically, BU has performed well and we look to continue that legacy this year. For example, last year President Lucien Thomas and A Team Member Jessica Alexandria placed 2nd and 3rd respectively in the Mudansha (unranked) Individuals tournament. In 2011, BU members Jumpei Uchida, SungYeob Lee and Shawn Shou placed 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively, and BU A placed 3rd in the team tournament. In 2010, BU’s A team placed 2nd in the team tournament and Alex Eitoku placed 2nd in Individuals. Many await the day they claim their first medal, but we must remind ourselves that medals are not the main focus of the tournament.

Competition is a learning experience for all of us regardless of rank. We learn as much about our strengths as we do our weaknesses. We learn solidarity and camaraderie. We also learn the importance of practice. As all martial arts, kendo requires constant practice and refinement of your basics. If you do not practice your basics, you will not improve. Cornell marks our first attempt at taking the next step.

The Saga Continues, Part 1

This past weekend, we held our first practices of the semester. Along with retraining all of our muscles to perform in matches once more, we were tasked with the annual duty of welcoming our new kohai (“younger” members). After the Club Sports Expo, we received a larger amount of interested students than we had initially anticipated. Imagine our surprise when nearly half of those same students arrived at practice this past weekend?

We counted nearly 30 new kenshi on Saturday, with many more expressing their interest and apologies for missing practice. Sunday, we also had a special guest instructor – Jimmy Eitoku-sensei from California! Together with Coach Alex Eitoku, he lent his knowledge and efforts to both the beginners and experienced members, physically and mentally challenging both groups for the coming semester.

BU Kendo regulary attends a variety of tournaments throughout the school year. The first competition – the 13th Cornell Kendo Tournament – is scheduled for Columbus Day Weekend (October 12-13), and BU has championship aspirations (as usual). The semester will be rigorous, but Coach Eitoku and Captain John Yi have plans to ensure this team does nothing short of its best come October.

For some of us, this marks our final year at BU and as members of BUKA. We have grown as men and women, we have grown from kohai to sempai (older members), and we have grown as kenshi. We have grown from observers to competitors to champions! But, most importantly, we have grown as a team, as a family, and as a community. We have watched our kohai follow a similar path, and we will continue to watch them grow as we, too, improve ourselves. This year, our bond as a group will be tested, but the chains will never be broken so long as we work together.

The Grand Finale!

This past weekend (April 27-28), BUKA hosted the BU Kendo Tournament for the second time. Ten teams from a mixture of six schools competed in the Tournament during which there were three events took place – individuals, teams and kachinuki (king-of-the-hill). BUKA seemed to truly blossom this weekend, as we witnessed progression from nearly every player. The teams were as follows:

 

BU A

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

BU B

  1. Sempo: Julie Zhu
  2. Jiho: Ray Feng
  3. Chuken: Kenneth Jeng
  4. Fukusho: Emily Camarata
  5. Taisho: Ruei-Jr Wu

 

BU C

  1. Sempo: Michaella Chung
  2. Jiho: Erica Wiener
  3. Chuken: Renee Wang
  4. Fukusho: Daniel Kim
  5. Taisho: Yevgeniy Temchenko

 

BU D

  1. Sempo: Taryn Ross
  2. Jiho: Kayla Gillespie
  3. Chuken: Boshan Mo
  4. Fukusho: Tori Moore
  5. Taisho: Genevieve Boudreau

 

Results

  • In the individual tournament, BUKA Captain John Yi and Vice President Shawn Shou placed third.
  • Boston University A and B placed first and third respectively in the team tournament.
  • Boston University A placed third in the kachinuki (king-of-the-hill) tournament
  • Cambridge Kendo Club (a mixed team of BU and Harvard alumni) placed first in the kachinuki (king-of-the-hill) tournament

Highlights

  • During the individual tournament, Shawn Shou scored his first ever do tournament point!
  • During kachinuki, BU coach Alex Eitoku defeated three people in a row to take his team to first place!

Congratulations to everyone, it has been a good year for BU Kendo, and we look forward to an even stronger one next year! FAITO!!!

The Next Chapter, Part II: Harvard

This past weekend, the Boston University Kendo Association (BUKA) took part in Harvard’s 17th Annual Shoryuhai Taikai. 18 BU students took part in the event, together with 2 BUKA affiliates – from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) and Tufts, respectively – serving as guest players. Here’s a recap of the entire weekend:

Day One – Teams

BU A

  1. Sempo: John Yi (SMG’14)
  2. Jiho: Katsutoshi Kawakami (ENG’13)
  3. Chuken: Lucien Thomas (CAS’14)
  4. Fukusho: Jessica Alexandria (CAS’13)
  5. Taisho: Shawn Shou (SMG’14)

BU B

  1. Sempo: Julie Zhu (CAS’15)
  2. Jiho: Raymond Feng (SMG’15)
  3. Chuken: Kenneth Jeng (Tufts)
  4. Fukusho: Erica Wiener (ENG’16)
  5. Taisho: Brandon Kesselly (CAS’14)

BU C

  1. Sempo: Taryn Ross (CGS’15)
  2. Jiho: Michaella Chung (SED’15)
  3. Chuken: Kayla Gillespie (CAS’16)
  4. Fukusho: Genevieve Boudreau (CAS’16)
  5. Taisho: Renee Wang (CAS’15)

Mixed Team Players

  • Boshan Mo (ENG’16)
  • Victoria Moore (CAS’15)
  • Daniel Kim (ENG’16)
  • Yevgeniy Temchenko (CAS’16)
  • Rafael Kim (MCPHS)

Results

1st – University of California at San Diego (UCSD) A

2nd – University of California, Riverside (UCR) A

3rd – Boston University (BU) A & Stony Brook University (SBU) A   Highlights

  • BU A took 3rd place overall!!
  • BU A advanced to the Semifinals for the first time in two years!!
  • BU A defeated NYU A in the Quarterfinals after being defeated by them at Rutgers
  • BU B defeated Harvard A during the round robin!
  • BU B tied Harvard A and NYU A in total wins during the round robin!

The Team tournament went rather well for BU.  The A team had a record of 4-0-1 and was the only one to advance to the Quarterfinals. BU A went on to defeat NYU A 3-1 in the Quarterfinals before UCSD A defeated them 2-0 in the Semifinals. BU A placed 3rd alongside SBU A.

BU B played strong despite a slow start. During the first match of their round robin group, NYU A defeated them 5-0 ( in wins-losses; 10-1 in points). For every subsequent match, however, BU B seemed to truly blossom as they went on to win every other match, including an upset against Harvard A, which brought their record to 4-1-0 and placed them in a 3-way tie with NYU and Harvard. Unfortunately, BU B was still unable to advance due to the number of total points they had scored throughout the round robin, ending their run in the tournament.

Day Two – Individuals

 

Highlights:

  • Boshan Mo (ENG ’16) scored his first tournament point: a Do!
  • BU affiliate Rafael Kim (MCPHS) scored two Do points today!
  • BU Captain John Yi (SMG’14) advanced to the Quarterfinal!

The individual tournament was not as strong for BU as the previous day. All of BU was eliminated before the Quarterfinal with the exception of BUKA Captain John Yi (SMG ’14). Yi was unfortunately defeated during the Quarterfinal by Matthew Yang (Rutgers) who placed 3rd.

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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:

BU A

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

BU B

  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?