Budogu Zen had an opportunity to interview the President of the Canadian Kendo Federation, Hyun-June Choi Sensei.
Hyun-June Choi Sensei was born 1973 at South Korea. He moved to Canada in 1988, studied Mechanical Engineering at University of Waterloo.
Q: Why did you start kendo?
A: I had a chance to see it when I was very young in Korea, and it fascinated me. There wasn't really an opportunity to do it. I moved to Canada in junior high. By chance I learned through a friend while at the University of Waterloo, that there was a kendo club, and joined. It was my first year of university when I was 19. Once I started, I was completely hooked.
Q: What is kendo to you?
A: I have always enjoyed competition, high intensity physical contact sports. Besides the enjoyment of training, it provides a chance for reflection, self improvement, point of focus and goal to clear your mind. As well, an escape physically and mentally from daily life and routine.
Furthermore, Kendo is a great community. Kokenchiai (交剣知愛) is something that is universal and essential for kendo. It must be that the type of person that understands and enjoys kendo have a common ground and character traits. Mutual respect, understanding and caring is essential for good keiko, which leads to bonding with each other. I have met numerous people and built close friendships and lasting relationships with people across Canada and worldwide through kendo. Now it is difficult to imagine not having kendo as some part of my life.
Q: The goal for the future Canadian Kendo Federation?
A: Long term growth and development of kendo in Canada. We are competing with other sports and activities for the time and mindshare of kids and parents as well as adults.
We are working to provide more events and engagement opportunities for juniors. One of these is making the National Junior Championship an annual event. We have expanded the categories for women and juniors greatly in the National Championships, and we are hoping this will happen in other local tournaments as well. We are also running seminars and planning to invest in instructor and coach development to help further improve teaching and dojo management.
Q: Do you have any additional words/comments?
A: I am grateful to all the sensei, friends and students that are on the kendo journey together, and have taught me and supported me through my kendo journey/life. From beginning kendo to being on the national team, instructor/sensei to federation president, I never imagined this journey, which has enriched my life, when I first started kendo, but I am glad I found kendo.