On April 1st in Kathmandu, Nepal, the Aikido Wahei Kan Inauguration Ceremony was held at the Ranger Battalion headquarters ANTC facility. In attendance from Nippon Kan were Gaku Homma Kancho, Bryon Hays Sensei, Nippon Kan instructors Jason Breitzman and Josh Baker, along with Jerry Kishiyama, Nippon Kan President and his wife, Carol. In addition, Hiroaki Kobayashi Shihan, Aikikai 7th Dan and Aikido Kobayashi Dojo-cho attended along with nine of his students from Japan to open the Wahei-Kan Civilian Wellness Partnership between the Nepal Army Ranger operations and civilian outreach project.
Instruction of Aikido for the Nepal military will continue under the watchful eyes of Gaku Homma Kancho and Nippon Kan. Overseeing the new civilian Aikido instruction will come from Kobayashi Shihan and Aikikai.
A great seminar was held with Nepal Army instructors from three bases around Kathmandu, instructed by Kobayashi Shihan. The energy and enthusiasm was hard to contain as students from three countries came together to learn from each other. So much fun!
K9 Dojo Renaming Ceremony April 2
On April 2nd we went to the K9 Training Facility and dojo. A demonstration of the dog training was presented with German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers and Cocker Spaniels put through their paces. This facility also trains both male and female dog handlers. Emily Busch Sensei visited this facility a few years ago and admired the work being done here. Emily Sensei’s love of dogs and pride of the women handlers brought her to ask Homma Kancho about building a dojo for the soldiers. Homma Kancho then donated this dojo which has co-ed facilities.
A memorial seminar was held for Emily Sensei, who passed away February 25th. The seminar was instructed by Kobayashi Shihan, and was attended by men and women from the base. We were then informed that this dojo is being renamed the Emily Busch Sensei K9 Dojo in honor of her!
Visit to Local Geetamata School April 3
The whole crew attended a WWY (We’re With You) activity presentation at Shree Geetamata Secondary school. The theme of the presentation was protection against domestic violence. It was full of demonstrations including a WWY student aikido demonstration as well as women’s self-defense techniques against domestic violence. Alcohol abuse, women’s rights abuses, and even acid attacks can be prevalent in Nepal. The demonstrations showed defending against many possibilities without causing significant damage to the attacker.
One of the members from Kobayashi Shihan’s dojo, Dr. Kato, is a dentist. He brought over 100 toothbrushes which were distributed to the students. He also gave the students a dental health demonstration and training on proper oral hygiene.
At the end of the event over 500 lunchboxes were delivered to the students and staff. It was a delightfully successful event!
Homma Kancho – COAS Commendation Badge Presentation
On April 3, 2017, Gaku Homma Kancho was presented with the Nepal Army Chief Of Army Staff (COAS) Commendation badge in a formal ceremony at General Headquarters in Kathmandu. The award was presented by 4-Star Gen. Rajendra Chehhtri with all the top military brass in attendance to congratulate Homma Kancho on his award. This badge was presented in recognition of the assistance Homma Kancho and AHAN has given and continues to give in earthquake recovery efforts since March 2015.
In addition, it was announced that, starting this year, Aikido will become part of the training for the Nepal Cadet Corps, or NCC. 100 new cadets from each of Nepal’s 75 provinces each year will now be trained under the Nippon Kan System, totaling 7500 new cadets every year. Aikido keeps growing in Nepal!
UN Nepal Peacekeepers
One of the largest countries to send Peace Keeping Organizations is Nepal, and Aikido travels with them. Nippon Kan Aikido is a unique opportunity to not just train in combat techniques but a philosophy and strategy of working within the countries and all other troops that are deployed. All soldiers must practice and learn ways of working with every situation to create the best outcome.
Recently, South and North Sudan, Haiti and Iraq have all received UN Guard units from Nepal. Soldiers must continually practice to keep their minds and bodies ready. 300 training mats were donated by Homma Kancho to use during their deployments.
Gaku Bread Now Available – April 5
The Nepal Rangers have opened a bakery! Lt. Col. Sameer Rana, commander of the Ranger Division, came up with a clever way to use a donation from Homma Kancho. The bakery is in a corner of the Ranger Battalion chow hall and will be used to feed the Rangers. It is planned to also help feed the WWY school and, in the future, may be sold to the public.
The first loaves were presented to Homma Kancho, Kobayashi Shihan and the rest of the travelers. Lt. Col. Rana decided to name the loaves Gaku Bread so that they will always be honoring Homma Kancho. The Kobayashi Shihan students said it was delicious!
Thai Bilay House – Emily Busch Memorial April 6
This trip was concluded with a visit to Bilay House, located in Ta Ko Lang, Thailand, near the Myanmar border. Bilay House is a Karin Tribe children’s support facility, privately built and supported by Homma Kancho. In recognition of Emily Busch Sensei’s passing on February 25, Bilay House held a wonderful Christian Memorial service. Homma Kancho and Bryon Hays Sensei, along with Nippon Kan instructors Jason Breitzman and Josh Baker made the four hour drive to attend. It is tradition that when Homma Kancho visits, he and the staff prepare a meal of chicken curry which was served after the service. It was a great way to end the trip and celebrate the many successes of AHAN, Nippon Kan, Emily Busch Sensei and Gaku Homma Kancho.
By Bryon Hays, Nippon Kan Vice President