• 22 August 2018

John Doherty, heads to South Korea to represent Ireland in the World Kendo Championships

Thoroughly enjoying his career as an Electrical Engineer in our Dublin office, designing a range of residential and commercial developments, outside of work John’s passion is with martial arts.

In September, he will represent Ireland for the third time at the World Kendo Championships. Here he tells us about his experience of moving to Japan in 2011 to train for his first World Kendo Championship:

Sparked by my interest in Kendo, I chose to take a position teaching English in Japan in 2011. I decided it would be a fantastic life experience to live in a completely different environment, learning a new language.

My assignment was to teach in a small coastal city, Kamisu, which had been hit by the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan’s East coast in 2011. The town had suffered flooding, collapsed buildings, split roads and wreckage washing ashore. Despite this, I was amazed to find a community constantly working together to assist with repairs and clear wreckage. Within a year all but the most severely affected areas were up and running again, almost as if nothing had happened.

Life in Japan was overwhelmingly exciting. The language, culture and cuisine were all completely new to me, but through Kendo, I was able to make friends in the local community. During my first year in Japan, I set my sights on the 2012 World Championships in Novara, Italy. On top of cardio and strength training, I was taking part in eight kendo sessions a week. I also travelled to nearby Tsukuba University to practice with some of the top competitors in Japan.

Living in Japan for three more years, I continued to improve my Kendo in preparation for the next World Championship in Tokyo in 2015. It took place in the Nippon Budokan, Japan’s premier arena for Martial Arts. We drew against South Africa and Latvia, and qualified for the knockout tournament. Our next opponents, perennial finalists South Korea, proved to be too much and Ireland were knocked out.

I am looking forward to the tournament in South Korea. We have a tough qualifying group including Sweden and Norway, but we have been training hard and have had a lot of success and growth within the team. Representing Ireland is an incredible privilege and I will continue to push myself to ensure I do all I can to make everyone at home proud.

The 17th World Kendo Championships is taking place in Incheon, Korea, September 14-16, 2018.

We wish John and the Ireland Team the best of luck in the tournament.

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