Hizen Foundation and the Kendo Club
Hizen Kendo Club was established in 1974 and has been operated by Hizen Foundation since 2004. The charity’s objective is to promote community participation in healthy recreation through the provision of facilities for the learning of kendo (Japanese fencing) and other similar activities.
Hizen Foundation has been self-sufficient since its inception thanks to a diverse group of enthusiastic and committed kendo practitioners’ financial and in-kind contributions throughout the years. Unfortunately, this long tradition was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. The closure of the dojo and lack of regular activity have led to the reduction in the number of practitioners, undermined our ability to recruit new members and, eventually, caused significant loss of income.
Having assessed our options carefully, we devised a plan to secure COVID relief support to revitalize the club and open up new possibilities to grow. We believe that Crowdfunding with a potential support from Sport England represents the best opportunity to achieve our objectives.
Jeff Humm, Trustee of Hizen Foundation
If our campaign is successful, the funds raised will be used to:
- Secure the venue for Hizen Dojo and ensure that it will be able to continue at the present location in the centre of London and help us pay for the facilities at Somers Town Community Sports Centre (STCSC).
- Encourage our members to restart kendo and taisoken as soon as COVID restrictions are lifted so that they will become active again as well as attract new practitioners and expand our membership.
- Introduce a coaching & development programme to facilitate the future growth of our martial art community.
Japanese martial arts such as kendo are typically not-for-profit activities, and kendo at Hizen Dojo is no exception. Hizen Foundation does not have salaried or contracted staff, does not maintain offices and keeps overheads to a minimum. The most significant aspect of the operational costs is the payment for the venue where the teaching and practicing of martial arts takes place.
STCSC and the Dojo
We are lucky to have found our home in Somers Town Community Sports Centre (STCSC), itself a charity-operated initiative in Inner London, where Hizen Foundation has secured several two-hour practice slots every week.
The facility is well-suited for our martial arts with features that are far and few between (e.g. special wood flooring that provides proper amount of cushion and high level of safety). The easy access in an Inner London location enables us to provide services to a London-wide community.
Nevertheless, until our existing members feel comfortable to return and new ones will join us to practice, our primary source of income (donation via membership and practice fees) will remain low and the venue hire will be challenging. Together with the STCSC Management we believe that your donation is crucial to help us secure Hizen Dojo's presence at the current Inner London location.
John Kennedy, Centre Manager, STCSC
Although many of us have been itching to get back to the dojo, we are acutely aware of the fact that the longer people are not able to practise, the more difficult it will be for them to restart. We also need to attract new members to flourish in the future.
In order to encourage and incentivise members of the community to restart and join us to practice we offer introductory sessions as well as various membership and practice fee reductions.
We will organise a week-long kendo practice to celebrate returning to the dojo as soon as possible after the COVID restrictions are lifted.
Reaching out to new members and to promote our activities, particularly in the local community of NW1, London, where Hizen Dojo is located, require improved communication and online presence. With more funding we will be able to redesign and relaunch our website, send out regular updates on our social media channels and contribute to promotional campaigns arranged by our host organisation, the STCSC.
Hizen Foundation and its dojo have had a long history of outreach to support budding kendo clubs and student groups interested in the art of kendo, such as the Queen Mary Kendo Club at Queen Mary University, London (https://qmkendo.wordpress.com; https://www.facebook.com/groups/queenmarykendo) or students of the Alperton Community School, London.
Students of the Alperton Community School
We intend to continue the outreach, but in order to enhance the impact, we would like to start a coaching and development programme to provide better quality training and secure the future growth of our martial arts community.
Your support would help us to fulfil Hizen Foundation's mission to enable people of all ages and abilities to practice kendo and taisoken.
We would be grateful if you could donate to our Crowdfunder campaign and amplify our efforts by promoting this campaign among your family, friends and colleagues.
Have a look at the reward section of this page where you can choose from a carefully curated set of rewards. We hope that you will find something to your liking.
Last but not least, we also hope that you will consider joining us practising the physically and mentally rewarding martial art of the Japanese sword!
Hizen Emblem and Bokken (Wooden Sword)
Further to our campaign, please read about kendo, taisoken, and check out some of our members' videos and testimonials on what Hizen dojo means to them and how they benefited from practicing martial art.
What is Kendo?
Kendo is a combination of two Japanese words – “ken” meaning “sword” and “do” meaning “road” or “way”. The result is “the way of the sword”.
Kendo Practice in Japan in the Edo Period (17th-19th Century)
The earliest written reference to Japanese swordsmanship dates from the 7th century. By the end of the Age of War in 1573, many different schools of swordsmanship had formed based on tried-and-tested
techniques developed over the centuries. In the Edo period (1603–1867) the aims of martial arts changed under the influence of Buddhism and Confucianism, and came to emphasize the development of good character and the
cultivation of mental discipline. The basis of modern kendo, along with the shinai (bamboo sword) and bogu (armour) were all developed during the mid-Edo period.
Shinai (Bambo Sword) and Bogu (Armour)
Modern kendo that has gained social and international recognition is not the martial art of feudal Japan, but a new sport-like physical training system that encompasses aspects of the Japanese
Kendo Practice at the 30th Anniversary Celebration at Hizen Dojo
What is Taisoken?
As well as kendo, Hizen Foundation also supports other activities related to the Japanese sword. Taisoken is one of these. It is formulated and developed around traditional sword movements
and drills to suit all levels of health in women. The female-only classes continue to grow under the supervision and guidance of our senior instructor, and have been successful in offering women the opportunity to practice
this unique form of total body and mind training within a safe and supportive environment.
Benefits of Practicing at Hizen Dojo
Please take a look at some statements and videos from our dojo members who speak about their experience:
“Anyone spending any amount of time at Hizen Dojo can tell you that it's a very special place to be a part of. It's the dedication of the students and our sensei (teacher of
martial art in Japanese) that makes it about more than just sport, where everyone shows up week after week come rain or shine because they want to improve themselves.” Francesca, Hizen Dojo Member
“I entered Hizen Dojo almost twenty years ago, almost as soon as I first came to London. It quickly became a linchpin of my life here, my practice only interrupted since then by parental
commitments (indirectly also thanks to Hizen Dojo – as I met my wife at practice), and, less happily, the recent restrictions on social life. The high quality of teaching, of the students and the social dimension makes
it a special place not only as a school of martial arts, but as a social space, too. If we want to recover what has been lost during the pandemic, we should make an effort to preserve such places in London.” Peter, Hizen
“For me, kendo is the ideal combination of beautiful dynamic movements, physical challenge and constant development of perception, alertness and presence. I believe that Hizen brings
out the best of everyone and I consider myself very fortunate that I have the opportunity to train here.” Christian, Hizen Dojo Member
“What makes kendo at Hizen special for me is that I feel the teachings can often be applied to personal life as well, and has helped me grow into a better person by increasing my strategic
thinking, confidence and self-control. If you are looking for a practice that brings you more than fitness, but also has spiritual, cultural and philosophical dimensions, kendo at Hizen Dojo is the perfect place to experience
this unique discipline.” Antoine, Hizen Dojo Member
My husband and I have been practicing kendo at Hizen Dojo for 7 years. I asked him recently: "How has kendo changed you, in one word?" He said: “confidence”. I asked
myself and I said: “resilience”. Kendo has given us a lot of positive influence that we did not even realize in the beginning. Female kendoka are commonplace in the dojo, the energy out of the female kendoka is
nothing less than the male kendoka. I feel equal. Hizen is a great place to start kendo, because our sensei and senpai are willing to share their learning during the practice.” Jing and Junlin, Hizen Dojo Members
“Please check out our video and support Hizen Dojo!” Celia and Valerie, Hizen Dojo Members
“Taisoken, and my fellow students have become an important part of my life over the last three years. I had stopped working out and was looking for an exercise that would engage my
mind and keep me motivated. Making new friends and feeling so welcome was an additional bonus. At work, it quickly became a great topic for Monday morning meetings and client ice-breakers. Now I see it as an all-round exercise
for weight loss, toning, cardio and flexibility. I look forward to every class and bought my own bokken to practice during lockdown. My health, confidence in my physical abilities and the way I hold
myself has improved so much in my 40s. I believe taisoken has a lot of credit for this, due to its holistic approach I continue to be motivated and inspired in improving my health and fitness.” Tammie, Taisoken Group
“I started coming to taisoken in 2014 and haven’t looked back since! Taisoken gives me a great workout that pushes my body and helps me train muscles I didn’t know I had.
Sessions are always really varied with a mixture of paired work and circuits which means you never get bored (and often forget you’re exercising). I’m particularly grateful for the support the club receives from
the Hizen Foundation. This support helps keep the club affordable, means we can train with bokkens and have access to a consistent, high-quality place to train in the centre of London. Other than giving me a great workout,
taisoken is really social. Everyone at taisoken is really friendly and welcoming and the club has a real sense of community. After sessions we all go to a local café, grab a drink and have a chat. I’ve met some
of my closest friends in London at taisoken” Anna, Taisoken Group Member
Group Chat of the Women’s Taisoken Group
Kendo Competition and Social Life at Hizen