Asian culture and craftsmanship were shown off in style at the Spirit Of the Samurai exhibit, a new feature at Richland Community College in Decatur, IL this week in the David Erlanson Gallery.
Grand Master Michael Kleppin was on hand to show off some sweet samurai moves and explain the history of the beloved swords to a group of students gathered in the Mueller Student Center. Kleppin is a third Dan in Iaido, a form of Japanese sword art. He is also included in the United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame and specializes in ancient Okinawan weapons.
Kleppin describes the swords as the “soul” of the Samurai. “If you hit at the wrong angle or trajectory, the blade will bend,” he advised. “So it’s not as easy at it looks.”
He then went on to explain the thoughtfulness and intent behind the armor design of Kendo warriors. He described Kendo as a sword style more similar to fencing.
The festival also included other aspects of Japanese culture for crowds to enjoy, such as homemade smoked salmon or ahi tuna sushi, origami, puppets, and pottery.
Representatives from the city of Decatur’s Sister Cities program were also on hand to collect donations for Japan tsunami relief efforts.
The exhibit will remain 0pen in Richland Community College’s David Erlanson Gallery through April 8, 2011.