Army Invitational Kendo Competition: Military vs Civilians

A chance for Kendo fighters from the military community to take on opponents from the civilian world.

Fox Lines Gym in Aldershot has been transformed into a Dojo for a unique Kendo competition. 

On Saturday, fighters of the ancient Japanese martial art from the military community had the chance to take on opponents from the civilian Kendo world.

They fight with a Shin-eye - four bamboo slats, held together with leather fittings - which represents a Japanese sword.

Rounds are two minutes in duration and the winner is the first fighter to get to two points.

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"In their very first team match, they fought the Team GB captain and the women's national champion," explains Major Chris Jones from Army Kendo.

"I didn't have particularly high hopes, but they have managed to be one of the top-three teams in their group."

"It's been a really good performance from what is a relatively junior, novice team."

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Kendo pits men against women, novice against expert, young against old and the audible shouts are a vital part of the sport.

This invitational tournament comes at the end of a week's intensive Army Kendo training in Aldershot.

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There are around 40 to 50 Army Kendo fighters - and they are looking to increase numbers. 

There is a vast age range across the sport - fighters at Aldershot well over 50 were taking on and beating those in their 20s. 

"Kendo was advertised in my unit last year," says Staff Sergeant Nick Coles.

"I thought I'd give it a go... I did a week's intensive course."

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This Army's invitational is growing in prominence on the Kendo competition circuit and it is a great chance for the Army’s finest to fight the best in the UK.