The Hamilton Kendo Club was founded by the late George Kumagai in 1978. The club was, and still is, a course offered by the Canadian Japanese Cultural Centre Hamilton. The Centre and Dojo was in a vacant school located at Upper Wellington and Fennell Streets. The Centre moved to its current location in 1995. The building was a former textile factory and the floors were tile over concrete - unsuitable for kendo. The kendo club stayed for a couple of months and moved around searching for a location with wooden floors. The club moved temporarily to Brantford, then McMaster University, and finally relocated to Tansley Woods Recreation Centre in Burlington in 1996. The club became the Burlington Kendo Club.
Kumagai Sensei learned kendo in Vancouver and was unranked when he started the Hamilton club. He later achieved the rank of 4th dan. Sensei's M. Tsumura, R. Asa, R. Ohnami, and the late Ken Oda, came to teach and help establish the Hamilton Kendo Club in its early stages. In July 1988, Sensei Hiroshi Nakagawa, 70, (7th dan) from Kokubu City, Japan was a guest at the Hamilton dojo. He was a kendoka of the old Japanese Imperial Army and a retired captain of Japan’s Self-Defence Forces. Nakagawa Sensei said that he was pleased to see the harmony that existed between Kumagai Sensei and his students. He observed the happiness and enthusiasm the students brought to the dojo. “Harmony is very important” he said.
There are 5 members of the early Hamilton dojo still in kendo. They now are all sensei. M. Arai (Carleton University Ottawa Ontario), P. Morgan (Milton Ontario), D. Mori (London Ontario/Forest City), M. Robertson (Halifax Nova Scotia), E. Yamashita (Burlington and Etobicoke Ontario).
After an 18-year absence, kendo returned to Hamilton in 2013. The current Hamilton Kendo Club celebrated its 5th Anniversary in May 2018.
George Kumagai Sensei