Japan and Me

Japan & me

Alain Ducarme
Renshi 7°dan
EKF President
IKF Vice-president

Maybe I am not the only one who starts practicing judo to feel stronger.
It was in 1960 and I was 16 year old.
The reason why we start something is often the fruit of non interesting reasons.
When it becomes a passion most of the time it is because you have wakened up a sleeping feeling in you.
For sure this was my case. Going from judo to karate and later to kendo, I had the great chance to meet Jacques Casterman who was my karate sensei at the ULB.
His practice, his personality, his teaching introduce me to the Zen philosophy.
Reading the classics in Europe as D.T. Suzuki, Hubert Benoit, Graaf von Durckheim, Sekida… I was seduced by this way of thinking, living, looking to the life so different of mine.

For professional reasons I was use to travel all over Far-East since 1973 often 2-3 times a year.
You can easily imagine how thinks have changed, over there, in 4 decades.
My first trip to Japan was in 1975.
I must confess that I am more interested in meeting persons than visiting places and buildings.
Nevertheless I have visiting with great pleasure many different places from Sapporo to Nagasaki.

Practicing kendo is a marvellous way to enter the Japanese culture. Up to now, the Japanese kendo federation does his best to develop and help the European kendo. This allows us to practice with the top of the top of the Sensei. Since 1980, my sensei came twice a year in Belgium. The international life of kendo allows not only me, but the large part of the European Kenshi to practice with 8°dan sensei at least every 3 months. This is a real chance and the benefit is for all of us.

Today, I am practicing a martial art for 54 years.
I couldn’t imagine my life without it.
I know how this practice changes my life.
I just want to say “Thank you”.
I wish you the same chance.
Don’t loose time, times are changing.