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An historic donation – Taiwan’s first authentic kendo hall

DATE 2010/10/08 VISITORS 8680

On Saturday 9th October, a ceremony was held to inaugurate the building of a very unique kendo hall at Tamkang University. The opening ceremony was hosted by the president of Tamkang University, Flora Chia-I Chang, and was attended by almost a hundred former Tamkang students. What makes the hall so special is that it is the only kendo facility in Taiwan to employ professional Japanese standards in its construction and design.

The kendo hall was donated to Tamkang University by the Tamkang Kendo Association, a group of alumni made up of former members of the Tamkang Kendo Club or Tamkang kendo team. The donation was both a token of their deep gratitude to Tamkang University, for helping to nurture their academic and athletic skills, and a symbol of their support for Tamkang’s enthusiastic promotion of sports and martial arts.

The Tamkang Kendo Association was formed in 1969. It boasts a venerable 41 year history and a sizeable affiliation of close to 200 members. Its three-fold objective is to support and safeguard the growth of the Tamkang Kendo Club; to propagate the spirit and traditions of kendo among members of the club; and to encourage greater personal interaction and mutual support between club members. Year in and year out, the Tamkang Kendo Association brainstorms ways in which they can give back to Tamkang University. Many years ago, the founders of the association, Dong Guo-zhang, Lin Zheng-xiong, and Wu Xiang-luo, conceived the idea of building a kendo practice hall.

In 2004, the then Tamkang Kendo Club instructor, Wu Jin-pu, retired after 33 years of service. His retirement banquet was a grand affair, with almost 100 former and present members of the Tamkang Kendo Association in attendance. After the banquet, members of the association gathered in a nearby restaurant, and together they shaped, molded and formed the idea of a kendo practice hall into a concrete, tangible project. On the spot, they began to raise funds, and drafted plans for future fundraisers. And they waited, patiently, for the day that their dream would finally turn into reality.

To ensure the quality and authenticity of building standards, the Tamkang Kendo Assocation handpicked a renowned Japanese craftsman to oversee the technical aspects of the project. The craftsman they hired is the president of the Japanese Traditional Technique Association, and has extensive experience in the building of martial arts halls.

The Tamkang Kendo Hall was his first overseas project and is Taiwan’s only kendo practice hall built according to professional martial art hall standards. Tamkang University hopes that the building of the kendo hall will create more chances for sport-related interaction between Tamkang and its overseas sister universities, as well as local Taiwanese kendo clubs.

In attempting to pool their resources and finish construction of the kendo hall in a mere three months, the Tamkang Kendo Association encountered a multitude of difficulties. Fortunately, they received the support of several related university departments and benefactors. The completion of construction signals the birth of Taiwan’s first authentic, professional kendo hall, a facility that can be used for both practice and formal competition. As of next year, students will take part in club activities as part of their compulsory cirriculum.

Tamkang University strives to strengthen ties with overseas sister schools, but not only in an academic sense. It also hopes to enhance club and society-based interaction and exchange with overseas universities. It is hoped that in the future, the Kendo Club and other such clubs may serve as exemplars for all of Tamkang’s clubs and societies.