Landmark achievement for Birmingham martial artist

Appointed first female president of the British Kendo Association.

A world-leading martial artist from Birmingham has continued a year of outstanding sporting achievement for women by becoming the first female president of the British Kendo Association.

Fay Goodman aims to follow in the footsteps of tennis champion Serena Williams and the England Women’s World Cup medal-winning football team by inspiring women of all ages to take up competitive sport.

The BKA has been traditionally male-dominated ever since its foundation in 1964 as the governing body for Kendo, Iaido and Jodo in the UK. The three arts, developed over the centuries on the battlefield, are devoted to mastering the skills of fencing with bamboo staves, swordsmanship, and pitting sword against staff respectively.

Fay runs Masamune Dojo, her own dojo (or training centre) at the University of Birmingham in Edgbaston and in the Yardley district of Birmingham. She has a 7th Dan black belt in Iaido, making her one of the highest-ranked females in the art outside Japan, and is the author of the best-selling book The Ultimate Guide to Martial Arts.

Fay was elected to her two-year term in office at the annual general of the BKA, where women make up almost 20 per cent of its 1,800 members. She will be looking to attract and provide even greater support to both men and women members and to enhance the BKA’s brand management through an improved website and the launch of a new BKA international magazine.

She said of her appointment: “I am delighted to be heading the BKA at a time when its membership has never been stronger or more diverse. I am looking forward to encouraging even more women to take up martial arts and to being part of an excellent team who will guide the organisation to even bigger and better things, not least World and European championship success.”

Fay added: “Both men and women are increasingly being attracted to the ‘true martial arts’ of Kendo, Iaido and Jodo, which have traditionally been male-dominated because of their militaristic and even nationalistic context.

“It is excellent to see more women from all walks of life studying these arts as they experience their true value. For example, from a fitness point of view, the arts improve strength, coordination and balance as well as foster the resilience, fortitude and discipline needed to lead a full healthy and meaningful life.”

Anil Sahal, BKA Secretary, commented: “Fay’s gentle compassionate spirit and sense of humour, combined with her vision and ability, are just what the BKA needs to become an even more diverse organisation, in which age, ability or gender are no bar to achievement.”

“The BKA is one of the smaller organisations within the umbrella of the European Kendo Association, but we are often looked on as providing the ‘gold standard’ in the three arts under our jurisdiction. So we have a lot to live up to!”

For more information on the British Kendo Association, click on