Haverhill-based Martin Clark 6th Dan Kendo headteacher has been awarded the rank of Renshi — one of the highest in the sport.
This award is in addition to his grade and is in recognition for his teaching, commitment and input to the art within this country and within the British Kendo Association (BKA) over the last 32 years.
The presentation of his Menjo (certificate) will be later this month.
Renshi literally translates as a polished person or one whose character has acquired a level of technical competency and polish and shows a commitment to their practice and teaching.
The award cannot be applied for until after 6th Dan, which Clark — headteacher with the KenYuKan sword school — has held since 2007.
The application must first go through a BKA committee, including the international affairs officer and chairman, before getting permission to apply to Japan.
This requires a CV of all Clark’s accomplishments over the 32 years and includes British and European competition titles, commitment within the British squad, work within the coaching system as coach developments officer and teaching at seminars as well as a discussion among senior teachers (7th Dan) regarding his technical expertise and suitability for the award.
The final part of the examination is an essay which is presented to the Zen Nihon Kendo Renmei (All Japan Kendo Federation) headquarters in Tokyo for review with the question this year being the mind set of Kendo instruction.
The Japanese want to see how you think about how you teach and how you are preparing to take your practice forward.
The next step for Clark is to apply to take 7th Dan with the next opportunity being March next year.
So far over the last seven years, nobody in Europe has managed to make it through and pass, but Renshi is a huge step in the right direction.
KenYuKan Dojo study Muso Shinden Ryu swordsmanship and currently practice out of West Wickham Village Hall.
If you would like to know more you may contact the Dojo through Martin on 01440 763003.