Cheerleading Club "SPIRITS"


Riho Motohashi, captain of the SPIRITS, the Chuo University Cheerleading Club

 チアリーディング部SPIRITS 部長 本橋理穂さん


   Few people seem to know precisely what cheerleading is. It is actually a competitive sport in which athletes vie for better performances in physical expression to attract and impress the audiences. Their performances are judged by detailed standards, such as cheerfulness, smile, accuracy of skills, degree of perfection, difficulty, continuity, speed, synchronism and so on. In a formal competition, each team is given two minutes and thirty seconds to display 100% of its performance by keeping up good teamwork and concentration. It is indeed a real fight with a smile intended to move the people who watch it.


チアリーディングがどんな競技なのか、ご存じない方が意外に多いのではないだろうか。  チアリーディングは、「いかに観客を魅了し、惹き付けることができるか」を競う表現競技スポーツである。審査基準は、元気さ、笑顔、技の正確性、完成度、難易度、連続性、スピード感、同調性など非常に細かい。持ち時間は2分30秒。チームワークと極限の集中力を持続させながら100パーセントの演技を成し遂げ、観るものに感動を与える「笑顔の真剣勝負」なのだ。


 “We would like to produce a good result, of course, because it’s a competition after all. Our aim is to qualify for the final heat in the Japan Championships. Top 12 teams can go there,” said Riho Motohashi (a Faculty of Commerce junior), who has just assumed the captaincy of the SPIRITS, the Chuo University Cheerleading Club. Club members practice for four hours on every Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. They start with warm-ups consisting of stretching and flexibility exercises and then go through a round of muscle training and physical workouts, which are so hard as to put a male athlete to shame.


「もちろん勝負事なので結果は残したいです。目標は夏の全日本選手権決勝進出(上位 12チームが進出)」と語るのは、今年から中央大学チアリーディング部「SPIRITS」の部長になった本橋理穂さん(商学部3年)。SPIRITSは、毎週火、木、金、日に4時間の練習を行う。練習は、柔軟をはじめ、筋力トレーニング、体力トレーニングなど基礎体力づくりに多くの時間をかける、男子顔負けのメニューである。


 “To tell the truth,” she said, “We haven’t made any good results in recent years. But a new coach will begin training us regularly this year, so I think we just have to do it.”



 By the way, cheerleading in Japan has been faced with some problems in recent years. Essentially, cheerleading used to be a part of a pep squad organized to direct spectators to cheer on sports teams at games. But because of its glamour and gorgeousness, it has begun to steal the limelight as a sport rather than a cheering party. This has brought some confusion to the raison d’etre and the purpose of a cheerleading team.




 Motohashi’s comment on this point sounded encouraging and convincing. She said, “Our club SPIRITS attaches much importance to cheering. We give our affectionate cheer to Chuo students in other sports clubs when they do their best to win the championships. Their hard work gives us a lot of motivation. I think it’s one of the most attractive things in cheerleading. The same can be said of cheerleading as a sport. In a competition, we cheer our opponents rather than compete with them. Actually, we cheer our rival teams from other universities in the championships.”



 April is the season when newcomers join various clubs in the school. What kind of newcomers does the SPIRITS expect to have? 




 “We don’t care if they had no experiences in cheerleading or any other sports at all. Any girls who love cheerleading and who are keen to cheerlead will be welcome. I hope many will join us in April,” the captain said.




 Toward the end of the interview, Hakumon Herald asked her to express her club in a single kanji character. She replied at once, “It will be “tamashii” (spirit, soul) because the name of our team is the SPIRITS. We work with all our heart and soul every day!”




 Chuo’s SPIRITS is a must-see this year. There’s no doubt about it!





Writte By: Kento Isogai & Riku Saito