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Japanese Kendo Experts In City

Four Japanese experts in the ancient sport of kendo, a form of sword fighting, will give a training session in Christchurch tonight.

The four, from Amagasaki city, near Osaka, are in the city as part of a nation-wide trip seeking all-sports ties.

The city is seeking reciprocal visits with Christchurch sports people and the translator for the Amagasaki Sports Promotion Group, Alex Bennett, said in Christchurch today that the four kendo experts would welcome the public at the training sessions from 6.30pm tonight.

They will be coaching the 20 members of the Christchurch Kendo Club at the Hammersley Park School, Amos Place, off Marshland Road, for two hours. Kendo experts, known as sensei, dress in traditional Japanese costumes, including armour and helmets. They use bamboo swords in competition. Mr Bennett said the group was interested in connections with all sports and had already forged a rugby link with Sport Manawatu.

The group had talks with the Christchurch's deputy mayor, Lesley Keast, today.

Mr Bennett, a Christchurch-born kendo expert, who lives in Kyoto while studying for his PhD in Japanese, said the group was interested in sports relationships and he could be contacted while in the city at 021 134 3729 or at 3859 223.

He said Japanese kendo experts made the tour to increase interest in the sport that also places emphasis on personal discipline and spirituality.

Further information: Alex Bennett: 021 134 3729.

Sam Fisher Corporate Communication Co-ordinator Christchurch City Council 03 371-1762 025 229 3552

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