Ms. Ava Yancha participates in AHAN IISA Beginning Instructor Training at Nippon Kan.


July 10 – Aug 6, 2007

Ava and Nippon Kan uchideshi coach Kazumi.

Ava and Nippon Kan uchideshi coach Kazumi.

While Homma Kancho was visiting Mindanao Island in the Philippines last February , he met local community leader and martial art instructor, Ava Yancha. Ava does many things for her community and works especially hard caring for Philippine youth in the Illigan City area. Homma Kancho suggested that she be sponsored as a candidate to participate in AHAN’s IISA (Instructors in Support of AHAN) Beginning Instructors training course at Nippon Kan, and on July 10th, Ava arrived for a one-month instructor training intensive. Ava was also granted financial assistance through AHAN’s scholarship program.
Photo 42 5175 Ava Yancha with Monday night class members.

The peaceful atmosphere of Illigan City is a far cry from the hustle and bustle of uchideshi life at Nippon Kan, and Ava took on this important challenge with great determination. Denver was a new cultural environment for Ava, and her chore and training schedule was a rigorous one. Nippon Kan staff and students helped her training with strict but supportive kindness. Every morning Ava woke early at Nippon Kan dojo to complete her morning chores and practice. In the evenings she took the uchideshi class plus two to three classes with regular Nippon Kan members. Supplemented with her beginning instructor training.

Homma Kancho spoke of Ava on her last evening:
“I have been to Illigan City on Mindanao Island in the Philippines, and Ava is from the upper levels of society there. Still with this background, she does not spend her time frivolously, working instead to help those in her community, especially in the outlying areas. While in Denver, Ava had to clean toilets, cook, do laundry, dishes, and tend to the gardens, and she has done well executing all of these tasks. In the Philippines, daily tasks like these are performed for the social elite by others of lower social standing. This is one way families of higher standing can help support the community around them. I gave Ava this experience for a reason. Ava will someday be a great leader and I think it is important for her to experience the kind of hard work that is involved in doing simple everyday tasks. It is important for her not to forget the reality of those she supports. Ava has met the goals that I have set for her and I wish her the best. Hopefully she will continue to work diligently to support her community and I will be able to meet her again in the future.

Homma Kancho’s article “Between Earth and Sky” to learn more about life for Ava in the Philippines..

Written by
Nippon Kan Uchideshi Coordinator.