Spotlight: Jack Champion, Okayama

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Jack Champion arrived in rural Japan last summer from Wiltshire, England, and quickly sought out any available clubs around his new home in Okayama. Having studied aikido at university, this new JHS JET was eager to try a new martial art, and was intrigued when a kind individual at the Board of Education handed him a handwritten note with a date, time, and bus stop, along with the word: kendo.

Thus, only one awkward week after arrival, Jack almost instantly progressed to a near full-time kendo club member’s schedule, and now trains twice each week (and at home on his roof-top!). He competed in his first tournament in March, and now looks forward to testing for his first kyu this year, with the ultimate aim of dan grade.

As an added bonus, Jack now trains with masters from all around town, including teachers and kids of all ages (rather, the students now teach him!). Despite the challenge, the warm welcome of his new community has proven exceptionally inspiring, as Jack has practiced with the local high school, and now regularly trains with elementary students. All he had to do was ask! He might try kyudo at the high school soon…