By Ricky Guandique, Oct. 5, 2021
The CPP Kendo and Iaido Club has returned to practicing in-person after 17 months of practicing virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently in its fourth year as an active ASI sports club, the club centers on the two historical Japanese sword fencing practices, kendo and iaido.
Since their return to in-person meetings, the club’s 28 members are grateful to interact with one another and receive hands-on training from their sensei and assistant coaches, according to aerospace engineering major and club member Tyler Kovacs.
“The Zoom calls were more to continue having that social interaction that we missed while we were on lockdown at home,” said Kovacs. “It has been better for me personally to be practicing alongside everyone again because I realized I need to correct my form again.”
Kendo is a competitive Japanese sport which focuses heavily on the form in which a person executes each move. In kendo, two competitors attempt to strike their opponent with a bamboo shinai (bamboo sword), while iaido is a noncompetitive sword art based on a person’s capability to draw their sword and respond.
“Kendo is more of a competition between you and your opponent,” said Lee. “Iaido consists of smooth, controlled movements with form, footwork and is more of a ‘you versus you’ competition.”
For architecture major and club secretary, Meilinda Darmawan, the drop in club participation during the pandemic marked a discouraging low point. However, some members continued to join the virtual practices in hopes of returning to campus soon.
“Virtual practices were definitely not ideal,” said Darmawan. “We were one of few, if not the only sports club that was still holding practices online during the shutdown.”
Practicing in the BRIC’s studios before the pandemic, the club has recently held practices outdoors on campus in front of the Darlene May Gymnasium.
According to Assistant Coach Francis Lee, the transition to outdoor practice has shifted the club’s routine and emphasis.
“During the virtual workouts, we did a lot of high-intensity interval training,” said Lee. “Now that we’re all back together, we focus more on form for both kendo and iaido.”
The club continues to follow COVID-19 preventative guidelines. Although wearing masks outdoors is not enforced for fully vaccinated individuals on campus, club members take extra precautions to ensure the safety of the group.
“During practice we’re all constantly in very close proximity to each other,” said Darmawan. “So to protect ourselves and one another, we still wear masks during practices. It hasn’t been a bad compromise and it just feels good to practice in a group setting again.”
According to Lee, there is currently no sparring allowed during practice. Participants are also not allowed to practice in their fully padded armor, known as bogu, for the time being due to COVID-19 restrictions.
With CPP reopening in full capacity on campus in the Spring 2022 term, the club is expected to relocate to the BRIC soon and must continue wearing masks while indoors.
They also look forward to competing with other universities’ programs, such as UCLA, UCI and UCR in the near future.
For more information, visit the ASI Campus Recreation website.
Featured image courtesy of Meilinda Darmawan.
Show Comments (0)