The Kendo Adventure: Part 1 By Alex Bennett A series in which Alex Bennett reminisces how he became involved in kendo, and the various things he has learned along the way.  As far as I can remember, I first discovered the country of Japan when I was 7 or 8 years old. I would spend hours in the school library reading books about fairy tales from around the world. Although the title has long since disappeared from my memory, one particular book which grabbed my attention was a Japanese story about ‘fireflies’. I wondered about the curious characters and the mysterious country in the book,Read More →

Examiner’s Report on Alexander C. Bennett’s Ph.D. thesis: “The Cultural Politics of Proprietorship: The Socio-historical Evolution of Japanese Swordsmanship and its Correlation with Cultural Nationalism” This is an excellent thesis, well-written, well-argued and well-structured, and it makes an important new contribution to scholarly knowledge about its subject. The author, Alexander Bennett’s, mastery of the subject is obvious on every page — clearly he has studied it and thought about it over many years, far more so than the average PhD candidate. It is also important to note that the author proves his ability to read the Japanese language at an advanced educated level and toRead More →

Blooming heck. Six years it took, but I finally finished my second PhD thesis, and submitted it yesterday to the University of Canterbury. The title: “The Cultural Politics of Proprietorship: The Socio-historical Evolution of Japanese Swordsmanship and its Correlation with Cultural Nationalism”. I finished my first one at Kyoto University about “bushido” in 2001 which can be bought here if you can read Japanese. The one I just finished is all in English (much easier to write) and is a detailed socio-historic analysis of kendo. The TOC is as follows. Hopefully I can find a publisher for it… Actually, before that, I hope it passes!!!Read More →

The Chuseikan Dojo in Christchurch, New Zealand See Chuseikan Video Here!! The earth didn’t rock, it exploded under our feet. That was the February 22 earthquake in Christchurch last year. Not long after that, when I had arrived back in Japan, the March 11 Great Tohoku Earthquake happened, followed by a massive tsunami and the unnerving nuclear disaster. In terms of scale, the Japanese earthquake was far bigger, and the casualties inconceivable. How do you come to terms with entire villages being swept away, thousands of casualties, and then the on-going menace of radiation? Well, you can’t really, but life goes on for the living.Read More →

When I wrote this, the FIFA World Cup was in full swing. Apart from the early exit of some of the highly regarded teams, and the fantastic showing of the underdogs, perhaps the biggest on-going stories at this competition surrounded the glaring mistakes made by the world’s top football referees. What about that goal scored by a blatantly offside Tevez in the match between Argentina and Mexico? Who can forget the goal scored by Lampard against Germany that bounced over the line and out again, but was not awarded by the ref? I can only imagine the intensity of profanities screamed out simultaneously in OldRead More →