An up-and-coming kendo star from Knebworth has earned praise for a record-breaking display at an international tournament in Taiwan.

Twelve-year-old Colin Umeyama was already the youngest competitive athlete to ever take part in the UK National Kendo Championships, bagging a gold medal in 2023.

Following his impressive performance last year, the KenYuKan Dojo student head to Kaohsiung Takao in Taiwan on Sunday, March 24, to put on a display at the 2024 International City Kendo Cultural Exchange Tournament.

Welwyn Hatfield Times: Colin is a rising star in the kendo world.Colin is a rising star in the kendo world. (Image: Edward Umeyama)

He showed off his Japanese swordsmanship techniques in front of more than 400 competitive athletes and 50 international referees, with his demonstration also being broadcasted on Taiwanese TV, and covered by newspapers.

At just 12, the display made Colin the youngest athlete to ever perform at an international Kendo event, and he earned plenty of praise for it too.

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Welwyn Hatfield Times: The 12-year-old earned plenty of praise.The 12-year-old earned plenty of praise. (Image: Edward Umeyama)

"It is unbelievable that youngster from Great Britain can possess such level of skill, and it is a privilege for us to have this demonstration at the opening of this international event," said Musashi Chen Sensei, event organiser and the 11th generation of famous Japanese swordsman Miyamoto Musashi.

The chief referee of the event, Yoshio Kawase Sensei, added: "It is very fascinating to see ancient Japanese swordsmanship techniques being performed skilfully by this young lad from England. 

"I wish we can introduce the beauty of the Japanese sword art to the whole world and make international competitions a celebration of the world coming together."

Welwyn Hatfield Times: Kendo is a modern Japanese martial art, descended from the swordsmanship of kenjutsum.Kendo is a modern Japanese martial art, descended from the swordsmanship of kenjutsum. (Image: Edward Umeyama)

Despite being unable to take his dan grades - which measures technical achievement in kendo - until he turns 14, Colin is determined to keep working hard and represent his country.

In fact, despite his tender age, he has already been invited in Team GB iaido and jodo squad training sessions.

Kendo - which translates to the way of the sword - is a modern Japanese martial art, descended from the swordsmanship of kenjutsu, that uses bamboo swords as well as protective armour.

As well as being practiced within Japan, the art has now spread to many other nations across the world.