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The 2023 Kendo Expedition to Mauritius

Kendo represented by South Africa, Mauritius and Reunion Island
Kendo represented by South Africa, Mauritius and Reunion Island

A team of 4 Ryū Ken Chi Dojo Dojo members led a Kendo expedition to Mauritius from 20-23 April 2023!

The 4-person South African delegation team consisted of Warren HO (Kendo 5th Dan, Iaido 2nd Dan, Jodo 2nd Dan), Ray FLEMING (Kendo 5th dan), Cedric JACQUES (Kendo 5th Dan) and, Quentin BARKHUIZEN (Kendo 2nd Dan, Jodo 1st Dan).

Kendo was pioneered in Mauritius back in 2018 by Rishi BUNDHOO, the founding member and current president of Kendo Federation Mauritius (KFM). Mr BUNDHOO contacted the then SAKF President, Warren HO, stating that it was his intention and goal to one day to have KFM be a part of and recognized by the international Kendo community.

HO Sensei advise to him to attend as many of the South African Kendo Federation (SAKF) seminars as possible, learn the basics of Kendo from these seminars, and begin teaching them to his prospective students back in Mauritius.

BUNDHOO sensei, who is already an accomplished Shotokan Karate exponent (and will challenge for his Karate 5th Dan in Japan later 2023), had a large karate student base back in Mauritius, and was able to encourage some of his karate students to also persue his Kendo journey with him.

Fast forward to 2022, and through hardwork, discipline and leadership, BUNDHOO sensei was to accomplish his kendo 1st dan in 2022, as well as lead a small group of dedicated Kendo students.

The invitation to the South African delegation to conduct a 3-day seminar, kyu grade examination and a taikai, was the result of months of planning by both BUNDHOO and HO Sensei. It was the first of its kind in Mauritius!

The focus of this seminar was to install a good foundation for future kendo growth by reviewing the kihon (basics), kata (set patterns) and some wazza (techniques). There was also a short section on how to do referring of Kendo matches (shiai).

A special mention and thank you must go out to the Reunion Island Delegation who assisted not only by taking part in the seminar, but also providing assistance when required! Thank you especially to Stepen TIMMERS sensei (Kendo 6th Dan) who instructed one of the sessions.

On the Saturday afteroon, there was a grade examination which gave an opportunity to those members who wished to receive a formal kendo "grade". 13 Mauritians recieved their Kyu grade. A big step towards further growth in Mauritius Kendo.

Sunday was competition day, where 3 categories of competition would take place at the world-class, Multisports Complex of Côte d'Or.

Many VIP's were in attendance, including the Japanese Embaseder to Mauritius, HE KAWAGUCHI Suichiro, and prominant Mauritius businessman, Maxime KING.

The competitions were preceeded by demostrations of Kendo Kata, Kendo in Bogu and Iaido Kata.

The Open Championship was opened to all participants with armour (bogu) up to the level of 2nd dan. Quentin BARKHUIZEN from RKC Dojo (South Africa) took 1st Place, followed by Maxime Stableforth Carré (Mauritius) in 2nd Place, and joint 3rd Place by Lindsey PAUL (Mauritius) and Vladimir BERGFELD (Reunion). The Fighting Spirit Award was given to Avinash POKHUN (Mauritius).

The Team Championships had a 3-person team from each of the countries fight against each other. The South African team of Quentin BARKHUIZEN and Warren HO (only 2 members) bested the teams from Mauritius and Reunion Island by taking 1st place.

The final competition of the day was for members with no armour yet. 1st Place went to Kohal SEEBURN (Mauritius), 2nd Place went to Davilen RAMASAWMY (Mauritius), Joint 3rd places went to Ester MALABAR (Mauritius) and Seerouven PARIADHAVEN (Maritius), and Fighting Spirit to Ritka TAPSEE (Mauritius).

Well done to all!

In conclusion, the 2023 Maritius Kendo Seminar, Grading and Competition was a success and is one step closer in helping the Kendo Federation Mauritius's dream of making it to the world kendo stages a reality.

NOTE: HE Dr Hlamalani Nelly Manzin, the Mauritius South African High Commission, presented a gift to Warren HO in honour of a successful inagrual Kendo event in Mauritius.

Various media coverage of the event:

The Kendo competition is covered by Maritius newspaper. RKC Dojo represented!

Translation of news article by NIRI:

The Mauritian Federation made history, on Sunday, at the Multisports Complex of Côte d'Or. For the first time of the existence of the discipline here, some Mauritian kendokas fighted foreign opponents.

Well organized, the event will be repeated every year.

After the allocution of the Japan Ambassador, His Excellency Kawaguchi Suichiro, that opened the competition, the day consisted in four main parts.

First a demonstration of Iaido Kata, followed by Nippon Kendo Kata, and to finish, a demonstration of Bogu Kendo.

Soon after, the public enjoyed three competitions: the first one was an open individual tournament with Bogu; which was won by the South African Quentin Barkhuizen against Maxime Stableforth Carré who represented Mauritius.

The second competition consisted in teams joust; was won by the South African Warren Ho and his teammate Quentin Barkhuizen. Finally the last competition, with no Bogu, which only consisted in Mauritians, saw Kohal Seeburn winning.

Rishi Bundhoo, from the Mauritius Kendo Federation, expressed satisfaction of this first international friendly competition on our soil. We are delighted that the Ambassador of Japan Kawaguchi Shuichiro was present and that the Mauritian Kendokas had the opportunity to fight against opponents with an international level. This event will be repeated in the years to come. I hope it will help us in the future, he said.

It is to be noted that a seminar was dispensed to the Mauritian kendokas by South African and Reunionese Senseis during two days (21 and 22 April) at the Frank Richard State Secondary School at Tour Koenig. During the 2 day seminar with foreign kendokas, we learned several things at the technical level, shimpan and shiai levels. In addition, thirteen Mauritian, except myself, gained for the first time certificates for their grading with an international panel here, added, radiant, the President of the Mauritius Kendo Federation.


Quentin Barkhuizen:

I have been to Mauritius before, but it is the first time I am taking part in a Kendo Competition here. I have been practicing this discipline for three years. I am Kendo 2nd Dan. There were 2 days seminar at at the Frank Richard State Secondary School. Because it is a new discipline in Mauritius, there is still a lot to be done. But there is a lot of potential. Within 2 or 3 years, Mauritian will reach a good Kendo level. I have already practiced Kendo with Maxime Stabbleforth Carre in South Africa but at another level. We never fighted before. He fighted very well during the final.

Maxime Stabbleforth Carre:

If I am fighting against someone who has less experience than me, I can take advantage of his shortcomings. But I am fighting someone more experienced, such as Quentin Barkhuizen, I will pay more attention and will focus on defending and counter-attacking.

Warren Ho:

I was impressed by the infrastructure of Côte d'Or and its potential to host kendokas at the International level. Our Dojo helps the Mauritius Kendo Federation. (Warren Ho is Kendo 5th Dan, Iaido 2nd Dan and Jodo 2nd Dan)

Vladimir Bergfeld:

The seminars went well. Rishi Bundhoo and Warren Ho have been preparing them for several months. During the seminars, different Senseis, including Stephan Timmers from Réunion, contributed in the training. The goal of the seminar was to get the Mauritian students ready for grading. Therefore training from the South African and Reunionese was focused on certain exercises. Some specific exercises were carried out for certain levels. That being said, the international competition was very good.

Stephan Timmers

It is always very interesting, everyone has his own vision, mentality, to gather around a common passion Kendo. We manage to create events, with people at different levels, and to rally around a concrete sporting event, a competition, to give a certificate, which is very valuable, with a brilliant organisation from the Mauritius Kendo Federation and the South African Kendo Federation. We came to support and participate in all of this. We were very well welcomed. We shared very much. We experienced the event as an occasion to bring together and boost Kendo in the Indian Ocean. Stephan Timmers is a Kendo 6th Dan and has been practising Kendo for 36 years. He was part of National Kendo teams.


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