A Man of Many parts: Portrait of an Inimitable Swordsman - Ronald Alexander Lidstone
by paul budden

R.A. Lidstone’s story is as unique in its own way as that of “Master Spy” Charles Boxer in that it catalogues an unrivaled study of the sword and the weaponry associated with it. From military origins as a master European fencer, Lidstone began practicing kendo in London. This was after returning to England from New Zealand, where he first witnessed a display of kendo in 1928. It intrigued and fascinated him and was to have a lasting effect on him throughout his life.

Lidstone served as an officer in the Royal Navy at the battle of Jutland in the Great War. He was also a fencing instructor extraordinaire; one half of Isolde and Alexis, a highly acclaimed Adagio dancing duo in the 1920s; a fight arranger for film, stage and television; a Squadron Leader in the RAF during the Second World War; and an accomplished author of several volumes that includes the first book published in English on kendo in 1964.

All of this presents R.A. Lidstone, known as Charles to his friends, not only as a father figure of British kendo, but undoubtedly as “An Inimitable Swordsman” of the 20th century and a “Man of Many Parts”.

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