Started with a Single Stitch: Darrelle Matienzo

Darrelle Matienzo joined MKC in 2019. He actively participates and supports our events. He is also dedicated kendoka despite the sudden hit of the pandemic.

Read how he started and his journey with us so far!

(Darrelle with his first and new set of kendo-gi and hakama)


I'll never get tired of telling people that my first Kendo uniform is made by Mama (photo on left). We couldn't afford something brand new, but somehow managed to start from scratch. The fabric for the upper part is literally flour sack cloth. In the lower part, fabric for trousers should do.


We knew nothing about Japanese clothing construction, so I did some quick research and figured that the upper part of the uniform is similar to a certain kind of infant clothing: a jacket of sorts that folds over one side at a time and held by straps.


The pants were a challenge (to Mama), all I did is search for a rough draft and explained to her that it's literally a mix of split skirt and heavily pleated pair of pants. The front and back strap length were estimated based on my waistline while watching how-to-wear-kendo-uniform videos on YouTube.


While working as a high school teacher, Mama used her free time working on my kendo uniform. It was finished around 2 months before I joined Manila Kendo Club, just in time for the Creative Shot portion of my Graduation Pictorial. I was still building up courage before starting my kendo journey then. One might call it a cosplay piece turned actual training clothes.


It served me well through basic training until I earned my first internal rank. At one point during the 2nd year of my kendo journey, I inherited Claudine-senpai's uniform, an actual kendo uniform (photo on right). Alas, it was time for my first kendo uniform to retire. Being a homemade piece, it couldn't keep up with movement during training. I won't wait for the uniform to break while in use so it was kept in a safe place, along with the thought:

How many kendoka in the world can proudly say, "Mama made my first Kendo uniform."?

#whywekendo #manilakendoclub #manilakendoclubph

Darrelle (2nd row; standing; 5th from left) group photo of our 2019 January beginners.

(L to R) Darrelle finishing his Saturday Class, With the other 4th PKNT volunteers, With MKC during 4th PKNT after party, Darrelle and Celine.