Roxy Cumming: Kendo

For my CIP this semester I did kendo three or four times a week at Kyoto University Kendo Club. Kendo isa Japanese sword-based martial art that I have been practicing for the past two years at Harvard, my home university. Kendo is generally practiced at a higher level in Japan, as many Japanese Kendoka have been doing kendo since they were young, while abroad most practitioners start as adults. Therefore, practicing in Japan has been very intense, I have learnt so many things and it has been a really amazing experience. I really feel like I have discovered a new side to kendo by practicing it in Japan.

My advice to students wanting to do a similar CIP in the future is to think carefully about how you’re going to interact with your club members. Everyone in the club will already know everyone else before you arrive, so you may feel a bit like an outsider in the beginning. Furthermore, sports like kendo aren’t very conducive to holding conversation in the middle of practice, meaning that it can sometimes feel almost impossible to get to know the other people in the club. It really isn’t impossible though, it just requires a bit more strategic planning, as opportunities to socialize won’t necessarily arise organically and you may need to make more of an active effort to make friends. But when you do get to know the other people, you will be able to have a great time in your club. I genuinely don’t think there’s any better experience than doing the things you love with friends.