Takuro Yamaoka, sensei, the leader of the Omaha Kendo and Iaido Kyokai, recently returned from South Korea, where he competed as a member of Team USA at the 17th World Kendo Championships. Yamaoka sensei participated as a member of the five-man team that won bronze medals in the team competition. Team USA's Men's Team defeated the teams of four other countries (Serbia, Croatia, Italy and Singapore) before being defeated by Korea, the team that would ultimately win the silver. The final results of the team competition were Japan winning the gold in the team competition, Korea the silver and the United States and Chinese Taipei both winning the bronze. The Men's Individual Champion was Sho Ando of Japan. The Women's Individual Champion was Mizuki Matsumoto of Japan.
The 17th World Kendo Championships were held in Incheon, South Korea, from September 14-16, 2018, and featured competition among teams from 52 countries. The United States was represented at the WKC by a contingent of male and female kenshi who competed in the men's individual, women's individual and men's team competitions. Team USA was led by the following senseis: Delegation Leader Yuji Onitsuka; Delegation Managers Chis Yang and Shuntaro Shinada; and Coaches Brandon Harada and Daniel Yang.
Yamaoka sensei was selected for the team in 2017 after a series of highly-competitive try-outs that drew team prospects from across the United States. Yamaoka sensei and his teammates participated in numerous challenging workouts held in California and Texas, as well as in other countries, including France and Japan, all in preparation for the World Championships. Hundreds or even thousands of kendo practitioners worldwide train for decades in order to gain a spot on their highly-selective national teams. All of this effort and dedication condenses down into the WKC matches that are three points or four minutes maximum, during a global tournament that is only held every three years. As a result, the WKC features kendo at a very high level of intensity.
Congratulations to Team USA for again doing an excellent job of representing the United States at the World Kendo Championships!