The Sei Tou Ken Yu Kai Nelson Kendo Club is a sister branch of the Canterbury Kendo Club. The name of the club "Sei Tou Ken Yu Kai" comes from the Kanji characters that made up the name of the high school which was attended by the club founder of the Christchurch branch, Alex Bennett, on his original exchange trip Japan. Roughly translated the characters form an idiom about rice plants; when a rice plant is young it shoots up from the ground full of life, but as it gets older, it appears to bow down and becomes humble.
The Nelson Kendo Club have trainings that cater for all levels and abilities. Trainings vary from philosophical kata sessions through to fast paced shiai (competition) practice. Outside of trainings we organise social activities like dinners and barbeques as well.
The Sei Tou Ken Yu Kai Nelson Kendo Club was formed in 1992 by Sam Hopkinson. Sam previously learned Kendo under Alex Bennett, the founder of the Sei Tou Ken Yu Kai Canterbury Kendo Club. Alex had started one of the first Kendo clubs in New Zealand following a rotary exchange to Chiba, Japan. He is now based in Japan and holds the rank of 7th Dan in Kendo, 5th Dan in Iaido and 4th Dan in Naginata. Sam was one of Alex's original students at the Canterbury Kendo club. After achieving 1st Dan, he moved to Nelson and formed a branch of the Sei Tou Ken Yu Kai Kendo club so that he could continue to practice and teach the great martial art of Kendo. Sam remains the head instructor of the Nelson club and now holds the rank of 5th Dan.