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Can-do Kendo champs return from world titles

Victoria University student and captain of the Australian Women’s Kendo Team, Kate Sylvester, is thrilled with her team’s top eight finish among more than 60 countries at last month’s World Kendo Championships in Brazil.

Kendo is based on traditional Japanese swordsmanship, and the national women’s team beat several countries including Sweden and China in the triennial event before being knocked out by Japan.

Kate is a third-year Bachelor of Human Movement student specialising in physical education. She earned a ‘Fighting Spirit Award’ for her performance in the team event, considered the most prestigious prize in competition.

Much like European fencing, the object of Kendo is to score points during matches by striking an opponent's head, wrist or torso, with simultaneous exact footwork, a strong yell and follow-through.

Kate was joined on the national Women’s Kendo Team by another VU representative, Claire Homsey, the University’s International Marketing Manager.

This is the fourth time Kate, a Seddon resident, has competed at the world championships. She has been involved in the highly formalised martial art since she went to Japan as a 16-year-old exchange student.

“I loved it straight away. It is dramatic and exciting because it has lots of stomping, shouting and noise,” she said.

Meaning “way of the sword,” Kendo features a bamboo sword, a facemask with metal bars, and protective armour.  The sport does not aim to hurt the opponent, but rather to cultivate the mind by unifying mind, spirit and technique.

Only about 1500 people in Australia participate in the sport, compared with the four million “Kendoka” in Japan, but its popularity is increasing, said Kate, who also teaches Kendo.

Kate and Claire are available for photographs or comment.

VU Media Contact:

 Ann Marie Angebrandt, Media Officer,

Marketing and Communications Department, Victoria University

Ph: (03) 9919 5487 or 0403 556 001

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