Club History

Bloomington-Normal Kendo & Iai Club

What is Kendo? 

Kendo, the Way of the Sword is the exhilarating and demanding art of Japanese fencing rooted in the traditions of Budo, the Martial Way.

Iadio, classical Japanese swordsmanship, is the companion martial art to Kendo. The Iaido practitioner learns how to use the Japanese sword (katana) in all situations through the intense practice of Iaido forms (kata). The curriculum is All Japan Kendo Federation Seitei Iai and Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu Iai-jutsu.

Brief history of our club:

The Bloomington Normal Kendo club (BNKC) was founded by Mr. Shoji Sakai of Mitsubishi Motors North America in 1993. He gave a demonstration with his two sons who were visiting from japan. A few people wanted to learn from him. Practice soon became a larger following, with more eager to learn. Students joined the club once the word spread. Because of the instructor’s connection with the Mitsubishi Company, BNKC was invited to all the Mitsubishi Kendo Tournament at Budoo-kan in Tokyo, 1997. The experience energized our group to develop an effective learning atmosphere in kendo.

We have had the fortunate opportunity to have had excellent sensei (teachers). Suzuki-sensei (7dan), Tatsumi-sensei (5dan), & Hosokawa-sensei (5dan) returned to Japan some years ago. In addition to a common practice, all three put a different emphasis out of their own experience’s; philosophical, practical, and a sense of beauty in understanding the kendo world. The rich heritage has been carried on and enhanced our club’s climate to include all kinds of people who are looking for their needs to be met.

We participate in the annual tournament in our Midwest region, summer camp, and other seminar classes. We also work on helping the community understand kendo through demonstrations. 

Our members come not only from Bloomington-Normal, but also Springfield, Washington, Pekin, and Peoria. We value helping each other grow through fellowship as well as rigid training in techniques and kendo mind. We also create cultural experiences for our members.

We are celebrated the 20th anniversary of our club in 2013.

We are aiming:  

  • Study the techniques and understanding of the Art of Swordsmanship.
  • Be a humble learner. “There is nothing to teach, but much to learn.”
  • Search for a Guru within.
  • Develop a sense of Spirituality.

Who can participate?

New students including the young and old, males and females are welcome. Beginners are welcome.