Our History

The Etobicoke Olympium Kendo / Iaido Club was founded in 1981.

Please watch these videos about our club, and read the article to understand our beginnings and tradition. We have an archive of event photos as well.

Our sensei teach both kendo and iaido.

Etobicoke Kendo Iaido Club, a short video about the EOK\IC

18th Canadian National Kendo Championships, featuring members from Etobicoke Kendo Club

Working Within – The Art of Kendo, a short video featuring the Etobicoke Kendo Club

The Etobicoke Kendo Club Celebrates the first 31 years (1981 – 2012)!

Shigetaka Shane Kamata sensei of Etobicoke Olympium Kendo Club being interview in 1985 on a local television program called “Hello Japan”.

Kendo at Home

By Tony Poland, Sports Writer

It’s taken more than a year, but the Etobicoke Olympium Kendo Club (EOKC) has finally moved to its new home.

Last weekend marked the official opening of the EOKC’s new residence in the Olympium basement. The occasion was marked with a dedication ceremony, speeches and a kendo demonstration.

Kendo is a relatively new activity among the myriad of clubs and organizations at the Olympium, but its origin is steeped in tradition.

The sport evolved from mortal battles 2000 years ago in Japan. The present day competition involves striking a designated area of the opponent with a bamboo “sword”.

Competitors are protected by a suit of armour, known as bogu, which includes headgear similar to a duelling helmet. Scoring points is achieved by hitting the opponent on the head, wrist, body or throat, while calling out the target. This is followed by showing good form after delivering the blow.

The matches run from two to five minutes with the first person receiving two points declared the winner. The bouts are cleanly fought, as the participants strive to keep kendo an art form.

With the equipment, and the fact that it is such a clean sport, there is a great variance in the age of the competitors. Kendo is so safe that children as young as six years are permitted to begin training for competition.

Kendokas may fight even when they are in the 70s.

The EOKC began in December 1981, with what club president Koki Ariga said “was a few people”. It is an off-shot of the kendo club from the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (JCCC).

Ariga said the 1970s were growth years for kendo in this country, prompting the formation of a new club.

“The JCCC started to grow.” He said. “We found people were starting to get interested in kendo, especially in the last four or five years.”

He said the move to Etobicoke gave the new organization a central location. He said he also believes it was a good move because “here they accept it (kendo).”

In its first year, EOKC held two major meets. The first, when the club opened in 1981, was the Ontario finals, where more than 150 competitors turned out.

Last March, the local organization was host to the Canadian National Kendo Championships. While EOKC found the facilities at the Olympium quite adequate to hold a big tournament, they discovered it was not right for kendo.

The floor of the main gymnasium is a concrete-like surface, too rigid for the movements of the Kendokas.

The EOKC will now be able to train and compete on a hardwood floor. The club will practice at the facility twice a week and they expect to hold its first tournament sometime in the fall.

Ariga and Shane Kamata will share instructing.

The original article from The Etobicoke Guardian / The Lakeshore Advertiser (Feb 2, 1983)