A Langara student defeated competitors from kendo clubs all around North America last weekend, winning in the 2014 Steveston Tournament’s “0-4 kyu” bracket.
The Steveston Tournament is the largest kendo tournament in North America. This year, the tournament was host to competitors from Quebec to Hawaii.
Wesley Lee, a general studies student, said he was “overjoyed and humbled” to have claimed the victory in the 0-4 kyu division, equivalent to a beginner level, for the Langara club, established in fall 2012.
Having only practiced the Japanese martial art for about a year, Lee focused his training on “repetition of the basics.” The Steveston Tournament was the third tournament that he participated in his kendo career and he admits he had no expectations of winning or losing.
Spirit, sword and body
Lee said he believes the concept of “ki ken tai ichi” which translates to “spirit, sword, and body as one,” was an important factor in his win, as well as the support of his friends, peers, instructors, and “maybe a bit of luck.”
His instructors and peers are proud of his victory.
“Lee is an energetic young man eager to show what he has learned in class,” said Ray Murao, head instructor at the Steveston Kendo Club and tournament coordinator. “He works hard in practice but like all beginners, he still has a long way to go,”
Murao also assists with teaching at the Langara Kendo Club.
Kendo at Langara
Vicky Wang, president of the Langara Kendo Club, was enthusiastic about Lee’s win and the club’s future.
“We are becoming stronger competitors,” said Wang. “I believe that after a few years, Langara will have its own kendo crew.”
She hopes members of the club will continue to call the Langara club home, even after they graduate. This may give them the fighting chance they need to compete against older, more established clubs.
The Steveston Tournament has a 52-year history, and was established as a way to test the skills of Steveston Kendo Club members. It has steadily grown to encompass competitors from all over the continent.
Reported by Edmond Lu