The Dublin Kendo club began in the 1990's with a small number of people practising Kendo and Iaido. In 1998 Shunji Hasanuma Sensei, a Japanese kendo-ka who was living in Dublin at the time, began teaching at the club. It was around this time that the club was formalised with the name Dublin Kendo Kobukai and the design of the club logo.
The Dublin Kendo Club was one of the driving forces, along with the Cork Budokai club, in creating Kendo na hÉireann, the governing body for Zen Ken Ren (ZNKR) Kendo, Iaido and Jodo in Ireland. Through our membership of Kendo na hÉireann, we are a recognised Kendo, Iaido and Jodo dojo under the European and International Kendo Federations, as well as the Irish Martial Arts Commission (IMAC), the official National Governing Body for Martial Arts in Ireland.
Since its humble beginnings the club has grown to become the largest Kendo, Iaido and Jodo Club in Ireland, with several training locations throughout the city. Our club has hosted many national and international events over the years, including the Irish National Championships and the Irish International Goodwill Taikai competition.
Over the years, the club has maintained a strong tradition in Kendo, but also has expanded at times to complementary arts of Iaido and Jodo. Members of the Dublin Club have represented Ireland at the European & World Kendo Championships and, in 2012, we sent our first delegation to the European Iaido Championships, with Dublin Kendo instructor Kathryn Cassidy taking the Fighting Spirit Award followed by a delegation to the European Jodo Championships in 2018, with Dublin Kendo Jodo Member, Gavin O'Reilly taking the Fighting Spirit Award in 2018 and 2019.
With several training locations throughout the city and sessions four days a week, we have endeavored to make our arts as accessible as possible to both veterans of the sport and those looking to try them for the first time.
We are active in the local communities in which we train and regularly run demonstrations and workshops to promote Japanese Martial Arts in Ireland.
The Current Dublin Kendo Kobukai Board was elected during at the DKK Annual AGM Sunday Nov. 28th 2021:
President: Kathryn Cassidy
Secretary: Batman O’Brien
Treasurer: Martin Kiosew & Ilias Vrachnis
Vice-President: John Kennedy
Technical Officers: John Doherty & Raul Fernandez
Subsequently the following Non-executive roles were appointed:
Child Protection Officers: Mark Kawa & John Kennedy
Anti-doping Officer: Ivan Gendelman
COVID Officer: Batman O’Brien
Kathryn Cassidy is a Godan (5th Dan) level instructor in ZNKR Kendo, and Sandan (3rd Dan) level instructor of ZNKR Iaido. Cassidy is the highest graded woman in both arts in Ireland and actively supports a number of Women in Sports initiatives.
Cassidy began studying martial arts as teenager, first starting in Kung-fu and later western fencing while in college. In 2006 she started training in Kendo in the Trinity College Kendo Club before joining Dublin Kendo in 2007. She started studying Iaido under Kohei Uetoko in January of 2012.
Cassidy has competed at the highest level of international competition in both Kendo and Iaido, representing Ireland in 3 World Kendo Championships, 4 European Kendo Championships, 5 European Iaido Championships, and dozens of other national and international events.
Cassidy has received multiple 1st place awards and trophies in Kendo and Iai, including 7 1st place trophies and 4 Fighting Spirit awards in Kendo as well as the Fighting Spirit Award at the European Iaido Championships in 2017.
In addition to her active roles in instruction and competition, Cassidy is also instrumental in the continuation and promotion of martial arts in Ireland and internationally. She has severed on the board of Kendo na hEireann since 2009, the board of Dublin Kendo Kobukai since 2010, the board of the Irish Martial Arts Commission and is currently General Secretary of the European Kendo Federation.
Cassidy is certified in First-Aid, holds Safeguarding Level 2 certification and is a recognized IMAC instructor and Level 2 Sports Ireland Coach.
You can read a full interview with Kathryn discussing her love of Kendo and Iaido in the Media Section entry Irish Fighter Magazine, Issue 2 , 2017. "Kathryn Cassidy - Ireland's Warrior Woman"
Paul 'Batman' O'Brien, is a Yondan (4th Dan) level instructor of ZNKR Iaido, and Yondan (4th Dan) level instructor in ZNKR Jodo. O'Brien is also a Sandan (3rd Dan) level instructor of Musō Jikiden Eishin-ryū (無双直伝英信流) under the International Division of the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai. He is a direct Iaido student of Peter West, 7th Dan Kyoshi, studying the Harasuke-ha line of MJER under the direction of Oshita Masakazu Sensei, 8th Dan Kyoshi. Within Jodo O'Brien is a direct student of Elena West, 6th Dan Jodo, studying under the direction of Ueda Kayako Sensei, 8th Dan.
O'Brien is a two time Bronze Medalist in Iaido, has represented Ireland at multiple European Iaido Championships and received the Fighting Spirit Award from Oshita Masakazu Sensei at the Masamune Taikai in 2015. In 2023, he won Fighting Spirit (Teams) at the Europen Jodo Championships.
O'Brien is also dojo-cho (dojo leader) for Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu in Ireland, having studied the style since 2011 and receiving direct instruction from Kajiya Takanori Soke, (12th headmaster of Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryū) from 2014 onward and was authorized to open a study group for Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryū by Soke in 2014.
O'Brien is a dedicated martial artist who began training in the martial arts in 1985. He has been in consistent training since then, studying a variety of traditional martial arts and systems; including Shotokan Karate, Aikido, Kobudo, and more. In addition he has made a serious study of modern martial arts and reality based systems. He has a number of high ranks in these ryū’s and systems and is a recognized combat instructor.
O'Brien is certified in First-Aid, holds Safeguarding Level 1 certification and is a recognized IMAC instructor.
John Kennedy is a Yondan (4th Dan) level instructor of ZNKR Iaido, and Yondan (4th Dan) level instructor in ZNKR Jodo. Kennedy is also a Nidan (2nd Dan) level instructor of Musō Jikiden Eishin-ryū (無双直伝英信流) under the International Division of the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai.
Kennedy is a student of Peter West, 7th Dan Kyoshi, studying the Harasuke-ha line of MJER under the direction of Oshita Masakazu Sensei, 8th Dan Kyoshi. Within Jodo Kennedy is a direct student of Elena West, 6th Dan Jodo, studying under the direction of Ueda Kayako Sensei, 8th Dan.
Beginning in 2014, Kennedy has received direct instruction in Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryū from Kajiya Soke, (12th headmaster of Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryū).
John began studying traditional Japanese martial arts in 2005. He began his study of iaido at Kenseikai dojo in 2013 before also becoming a member of Dublin Kendo Kobukai in 2015.
Kennedy has represented Ireland at multiple times at the European Iaido Championships and European Jodo Championships. He was awarded Bronze medals at the BKA Jodo National Championships 2017 in the Shodan category and 3-person Team Category.
Kennedy is certified in First-Aid, holds Safeguarding Level 1 certification and is a recognized IMAC instructor.
The following are some recent clips from our seminars and public demonstrations.
Taking a behind the scenes look at the recent Kendo Seminar, part of the 20 year anniversary celebrations. You'll see some great Kendo, great instruction, and even greater friendships.
Dublin Kendo were delighted to welcome old friends and new with a visit from the National Polish Kendo Team! The joined us for a wonderful training session celebrating International Women's Day!