I am really excited. I am going to the 16th WKC in Tokyo as a referee, which is both a great honour and a big responsibility, particularly when on court in front of a highly knowledgeable kendo audience and in the world famous Nippon Budokan. This will be an opportunity to take part in a one of a kind kendo event, to witness some great kendo and to meet old friends from all around the world, so I am looking forward to it immensely.
I have attended many of the previous World Championships in a number of different roles but I have the feeling that this one will be special. The venue alone is enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, and for competitors to take part in the home of the All Japan Championships will be a life changing experience. In the same way, as a referee, I expect that the seriousness of the job in hand will be counterbalanced by the excitement of the occasion.
Referees tend to keep themselves to themselves during the days of the competition to maintain impartiality, but I aim to build in some time before or after the event to meet old friends. Hopefully there will be lots of keiko opportunities and I am really looking forward to returning to Tokyo after an absence of a few years.
There is a referee seminar in Narita before the competition and another refresher in Tokyo at the beginning of the championship, so the AJKF are doing their utmost to ensure that we are all ready for the task. In the meantime I am trying to fit in as much practice as possible. In fact I am writing this having just returned from Malmo, and refereeing the Swedish National Championships.
I have not yet seen the l list of referees, but I met with Matts Wahlquist in Sweden and he also received the news on Friday morning informing him that he had been selected. I believe that the full list of officials will be announced today.
So as well as having the Christmas holiday to look forward to, I am already thinking about next year’s kendo schedule and how to prepare for such an important kendo event. Having seen some of the pre-event publicity, I have the feeling that this could be one most exciting World Championships ever.