A woman from Cornwall has won a ‘fighting spirit prize’ at the British Open Kendo Championship, writes Ben Phillips.

Annalies de Leenhere was representing Cornwall Kendo Club and took home the award in the ladies’ individual content.

Although Annalies wasn’t able to finish in the top three of the competition in Reading, her efforts were recognised by the referees with a ‘fighting spirit prize’.

Competitors are chosen to receive such a prize based on factors such as technical skills, overcoming the odds, keeping calm under pressure and not giving up.

Philip Booth, leader of Cornwall Kendo Club, said: “Though knocked out in the closing stages, this was, none the less, a significant achievement and she looks forward to being able to take part again next year.”

Kendo is a modern Japanese, semi-contact martial art, which utilises sticks made from bamboo. The word “Kendo” means “Way of sword” in Japanese.

The open championship competition featured ladies individuals and mixed individuals tournament,s with one fighting spirit award per category.

Competitors could sign up not just from around the country but internationally, with people coming from Tora Dojo London, KCL Kendo Club, Wakaba, Edinburgh University Kendo Club, Shozankan (Birmingham), Manchester Kendo.

Cornwall Kendo Club practises on a Monday at Falmouth School and on a Wednesday at Ludgvan Community Centre near Penzance. 

The club offers an induction session and then classes for beginners and experts. The club also provides equipment.