Today, July 28, 2021, marks April’s 8th anniversary at IGA Kendo Club Philippines. This 1-dan Kendoka, also known as Kendo Kitty in the club, began training in July 2013. While she’s an otaku and an organizer for major cosplay events in the country, her foray into Kendo happened by chance – or maybe it was fate? She was actually looking to try Fencing in UP Diliman but Google led her to the last free trial post of IGA-Ken. The next day, she went to the Arena Fitness dojo in Quezon City and the rest is history.
While her appearances in the dojo is a yoyo since 2015, April continues to spearhead IGA Kendo Club’s promotional campaigns during her spare time. The #IGAKenMemories is her latest online initiative to take everyone on Kendo throwback mode while dojos remain closed. She works in tandem with Kutch on the club’s PR/marketing and digital content management. Meanwhile, her go-to partner for producing publicity materials is Rikki.
She ain’t regularly training even before the pandemic but what makes her still stay in the club? Let’s check her reasons below.
15th Hong Kong Asian Open Kendo | Feb 27-Mar 1, 2015 | Tin Shui Wai Sports Centre, Yuen Long, New Territories
This event marked a lot of first for me: first international flight, first major tournament abroad in any of the circles I involved myself with, first sports promotional exams taken (and passed, thank God coz I’m not the athletic type), and my first taste into international networking. All these I experienced because of IGA-Ken.
IGA-Ken’s first official visit to the Iloilo Kendo Club | July 1-2, 2014 | The Masonic Temple, Plaza Liberta, Iloilo City
I was just 11 months into training when I joined a 17-man delegation for a cross-training with Iloilo Kendo Club. It was an all-Kihon session, exciting shiai, delicious-I-want-more food trips, awesome weather for a Guimaras tour and island hopping, and fostered great relations between our clubs. Credits: Don Laczi Photography
#ExperienceIGAKen Campaign with John Tronco Photography
To this day, I am sure that most, if not all, of my club members still don’t know why the photoshoot we organized in May 2016 is actually a big deal. I’m going to take this opportunity to share.
Through one of our members, Darwin Flores (thank you again!), we were able to connect with Mr. John Tronco and his team for a possibility of a shoot in the Arena Dojo. You can’t believe how excited I was with this project. I was hyped to high heavens as we conceptualized how the whole campaign’s going to be. I worked closely and meticulously with Rikki on the preps and the pegs just so we could get the most out of this chance for a coverage. Because why the hell not? Tronco is a mountaineer-cum-wedding and adventure photographer who covered many events here and abroad, most notable of which is a once-in-a-lifetime coronation celebration of Bhutan’s Thunder Dragon King in 2008. Talk about whoa, right?
5 years later, the #ExperienceIGAKen campaign still gets me stoked. (More photos on the official page if you’re curious!)
Kendo Demo Through the Years
Being PR Manager, of course I had to, you know “P-R” outside the dojos whenever opportunity arises. IGA-Ken is blessed to have good network relations that we are invited to do live Kendo demonstrations. If Igarashi-sensei is not available and I am, I host/do the voice-over while Kutch leads the others to do the demonstrations. Some of the demos we did were in partnership with the Japan Foundation Manila, Geisha’s Blade, Cosplay.ph, Shangri La Plaza, and Megaworld, among others.
Second Dojo FTW
Going to the gym just wasn’t cutting it for me so I pursued Kendo training to maintain my weight and not get bored with routine exercises. But as it turned out, club culture cultivates close relations between members through food. Second dojo is eating after a rigorous training then followed by a third dojo, which is playing board games or just another round of eating, this time specifically for desserts. Some of the good times made it to the IGA-Ken Instagram, most went to my personal Instagram. Anyway, those days were full of food and fun.
So if you ask me why I’m still here even if I’m just a rare Pokemon in the dojo even pre-pandemic, I’d say more than five years of training (hitting each other lol), eating together and having fun with the members does it for me. In fact, I miss the things we used to do together that’s why I came up with the IGA-Ken Memories campaign. I want to take everyone on throwback mode. So that when we are able to go back to the dojos, we can make new memories again. (And yes, I need new materials to post XD).
Have you been with April in any of these? How about sharing with us your memories too? Message us! We’d love to hear your stories.
Next week, we’re going to have one of the silent but steadfast members of the club who catches anyone’s attention with his lightning-speed kirikaeshi in the dojo. Stay tuned and keep safe!