Professional Kendo athlete Kwangyul (Daniel) Jeong has always been keen to pursue a career in the fast-moving world of sport technology.
As a master student in International Sports Technology, Jeong’s particular interest is in sensor technology in sports equipment.
“I was a professional Kendo athlete back home in South Korea and have won several competitions in Australia over the past few years,” Jeong said.
“Sport has always been my main interest and it’s a dream come true to be able pursue higher education in sport technology.”
Jeong’s background in the Japanese martial art of Kendo is helping drive his motivation and inform his philosophy for success.
“As an athlete, I am well-practised in the mindset to ‘think like an elite’ and so for me, this also applies to ‘work like an elite’ in the field of sports technology,” he said.
During his postgraduate studies at RMIT, Jeong is also employing his Kendo know-how to focus on the development of Kendo equipment under the supervision of Professor Franz Konstantin Fuss from the School of Engineering.
“For my major project, I integrated sensor technology to a bamboo sword to measure grip pressure in different postures,” he said.
“I’m currently working on the development of an automatic scoring system for Kendo competitions.”
Jeong started training in Kendo when he was 14, which led to his interest in the wider world of sports and sport equipment.
“I learned early that good equipment design not only makes it more attractive for people to participate in sport, but it also helps prevent injury," he said.
“Nowadays, the ability to use smart equipment which communicates performance results to smartphones has really revolutionised the way we play and will continue to help develop the future generation of athletes.”
When Jeong graduated with a Bachelor of Physical Education (Sport Science) in South Korea he found there were not many postgraduate programs in sports technology or engineering available.
“Although this is a fairly niche area, RMIT offers a lot of opportunities to learn both academically and practically, and even provides the chance to undertake an industry placement in the third semester,” he said.
“A highlight for me personally was the opportunity to present my work at the 2015 Asia-Pacific Congress on Sport Technology in Barcelona – which was an invaluable experience.”
In the fast and exponentially growing area of wearable technology and smart sports equipment, the challenge is to try and stay at the forefront.
“Sports technology has dramatically changed in the past few years, mainly due to improvements in electronics and sensor technology, as well as the increased use of mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets," he said.
“As a result, wearable technology is the most popular fitness trend at the moment, with annual market capital now approaching six billion dollars.”
Jeong hopes to complete his PhD at RMIT when he graduates from the master program.
“I want to continue my research in this field because there are huge opportunities to develop superior and easy-to-use equipment for all to benefit and enjoy.”
Jeong has won gold medals in the Victorian Kendo Championship (2014 and 2015); the Australia Unigames (Kendo 2014 and 2015); the Nagae Taikai (2015) and the Mumeishi 3’s Kendo competition (2015).
At the end of last year, he was selected as assistant coach to the Australian national Kendo team which is now in training for the 2018 World Kendo Championships in South Korea.
Story: Rebecca McGillivray