Nippon Kan Instructor Staff
Gaku Homma Kancho
Founder of Nippon Kan
Aikido Nippon Kan was founded in the United States by Gaku Homma Kancho in 1978. Homma Kancho began is practice of Aikido at the age of fourteen in Japan under Shudo Maruyama Shihan (currently President of Kokikai Aikido). At the age of fifteen, he became the last live-in student to the Founder of Aikido Morihei Ueshiba at the Iwama Aiki Shrine (Aiki Jinja) Aiki Shuren Dojo, Iwama, Japan. In the Founder Ueshiba’s last years, Homma Kancho cared for the Founder in all of his daily activities as *Jikiuchideshi. He is the only instructor in the United States that served the Founder Ueshiba as a jikiuchideshi and is one of the few remaining living testimonials of the last years of the Founder’s life and teaching.
After the passing of the Founder Ueshiba, the Aikikai organization of his founding went through a period of internal turmoil and political upheaval. Because of the tumultuous political infighting, Homma Kancho ultimately decided to leave Aikikai and set out on a journey of his own as he began teaching independently. He began teaching independently first at the US Air Force Base in Misawa, Japan (Misawa City, Aomori Prefecture Japan). From here he moved to the United States to found Aikido Nippon Kan dojo in Denver, Colorado.
Nippon Kan Headquarters in Denver has instructed over 20,000 beginning students since its inception in 1978 and Homma Kancho has been a primary pioneer force in the development of Aikido in Colorado. Currently Homma Kancho teaches Aikido internationally and is in high demand around the world. He has taught in over 40 countries and instructed students from over 60 countries. Homma Kancho has always remained an independent instructor and has built friendships around the world, but by policy does not have any branch Aikido Nippon Kan dojos internationally or domestically.
Homma Kancho still lives at Nippon Kan Headquarters in Denver together with uchideshi students from around the world who come to Nippon Kan to learn about the traditional martial art of Aikido. His first purpose is leadership training for students of our next generations. In 2001, Homma Kancho founded the AHAN Nippon Kan International Humanitarian Active Network which supports humanitarian and community development through Aikido and partnership throughout the world. One of the primary focuses for AHAN Nippon Kan is education for children. Three AHAN Nippon Kan Learning Centers have been built and are now running in Bangladesh, Myanmar and the Philippines. Over 600 children and young adults are currently receiving educational support at these new facilities. AHAN Nippon Kan also currently supports orphanages in three countries supplying over 2 tons of rice per month, computers and medical supplies.
Homma Kancho is the author of many articles and books which can be found on the Nippon Kan website. He was born in Akita-ken, Japan in 1950.
*Jikiuchideshi is the Japanese term for a live-in student who also serves as daily caregiver. Homma Kancho served in this capacity as jikiuchideshi for the Founder Ueshiba during the last years of the Founder’s life at Iwama dojo. At Iwama dojo at that time, the late Morihiro Saito Shihan and his family lived next door and the only people living at Iwama dojo were the Founder, his wife Hatsu, their maid Kikuno and Homma Kancho. Homma Kancho took care of the Founder in Iwama until the Founder moved to Aikikai Headquarters in Tokyo where he passed away in 1969.
The only resident living at Aikikai Headquarters at that time in Tokyo was Mr. Tsunoda who served as maintenance man. There were no live-in uchideshi living at Aikikai Headquarters at that time. All of the young Aikikai instructors of the day lived near dojo headquarters in small apartments.
Rudy Landry Sensei
Chief Technical Instructor
Nippon Kan Chief Technical Instructor, Rudy Landry Sensei and supervises Nippon Kan’s technical class, a popular class that offers Nippon Kan’s most serious practice of ukemi and technical execution. Rudy Landry Sensei began his study of Aikido at Nippon Kan in 1996. In 1997 Rudy became a full time uchideshi (live-in student) at Nippon Kan for 4 consecutive terms. After graduating from Nippon Kan’s intensive live-in student program, Rudy instructed the adult beginning Aikido classes from 1998 to 2002. Currently Rudy Landry Sensei holds the title of Chief Technical Instructor. He instructs the technical class for Nippon Kan on a weekly basis. Rudy Sensei has accompanied Homma Kancho as assistant on many trips abroad, especially in South America. Rudy currently holds the Nippon Kan rank of 5th degree black belt.
Bryon Hays Sensei
Senior Technical Instructor
Bryon Hays Sensei started practicing at Nippon Kan in November 1994, at the “old dojo” on Cherokee Street, and has served in many roles since that time. He’s been part of the office staff, taught a variety of classes, photographed visiting instructor seminars and public events, and has travelled with Homma Kancho to several events around the world serving as assistant. Bryon Sensei began teaching in August 1999. He teaches beginning, technical, weapons, and hakama-level courses. He was made a technical instructor in January 2006, and has served on the Monjin-Chou promotions board since 2008. Bryon Sensei is a Nippon Kan 5th degree black belt.
San Ong Sensei
San Ong began studying Aikido in the Beginner’s Class at Nippon Kan in 1997. Upon completing the Beginner’s class, she joined as a regular member and has been practicing aikido at Nippon Kan steadily ever since. San currently helps Rudy Landry Sensei instruct the Technical Class. San also has a daughter who trains in the Saturday Youth Aikido Program. Outside of Aikido, San splits her time between a consulting firm and a preschool classroom. San currently hold the Nippon Kan rank of 5th degree black belt.
Emily Busch Sensei
Emily Busch Sensei is a Colorado native that began her practice of Aikido at Nippon Kan in 1985. She has been instrumental in the development of the Nippon Kan facility and the program offered and has been teaching general classes since 1990. Emily Sensei also serves as Nippon Kan Vice President and the AHAN Nippon Kan International Program Director. Emily loves to travel and learn about peoples and cultures around the world. She has accompanied Homma Kancho as assistant for Aikido seminars and AHAN projects in 5 continents. Emily Sensei currently holds the Nippon Kan rank of 5th degree black belt and has served on the Monjin-Chou promotions board since 2008.
Michael C. Barrera Shidoin
Michael practiced Aikido for several years in Texas before he began practice at Nippon Kan in 2003 after transferring from Texas to Colorado. He has been an advanced class instructor and uchideshi instructor at Nippon Kan since 2005. Michael has accompanied Homma Sensei as assistant to several countries. Michael is one of Nippon Kan‘s most rigorous instructors, but on the personal side, Michael enjoys salsa dancing, old Sci-Fi movies and Texas BBQ! Michael Sensei holds the rank of Nippon Kan 4th degree black belt.
Chris Abeyta Shidoin
Chris is a Denver native and began studying Aikido in 2003. In 2004 Chris participated in the Nippon-Kan Cross Cultural Exchange Program in Higashi Naruse Mura in rural Japan, for a three month term. "I love practicing Aikido. Chris serves as Nippon Kan’s Weapons Class Instructor, a class that focuses on the relationship between open-handed Aikido movement and technique and the sword movements from which they were developed. Chris currently holds the Nippon Kan rank of 3rd degree black belt.
Anthony Dolan Shidoin Shidoin
Beginners Class Instructor
Anthony Dolan has been a member of Nippon Kan since 2003 and has been instructing the Monday/Wednesday Beginners class since 2005. Nippon Kan Beginning classes focus on kihon waza (basic practice) which encourage a strong Aikido foundation for students of all skill levels. In 2006 Anthony accompanied Homma Kancho to Ireland as assistant. Anthony is a Denver native and a proud father who enjoys snowboarding and 4-wheeling. Anthony currently holds the Nippon Kan rank of 3d degree black belt.
Jason Breitzman Shidoin
Beginners Class Instructor
Jason Breitzman began instructing the Tuesday/Thursday Beginners class at Nippon Kan in 2005. This class focuses on basic Aikido techniques, presented in a light-hearted and accessible manner, benificial to students of all levels. Jason began studying Aikido at Nippon Kan in 2003. Jason has been a resident of Colorado since 1982 and currently lives in Denver with his wife and 2 children where they enjoy horseback riding, camping and other outdoor activities.. Jason currently holds the Nippon Kan rank of 3rd degree black belt.
Noel Camp Shidoin
Youth Program Coordinator and Instructor
Noel Camp began his study of Aikido at Nippon Kan in 2005. Currently Noel instructs the Nippon Kan Youth program on Saturday each week. The Youth Program includes both a general class to introduce younger Nippon Kan members to Aikido and the advanced Youth Class in which more complex techniques are explored.Youth weapons seminars are also held once each month to help our younger members connect open hand techniques with the weapons techniques at the root of our art. For the last several years, Noel has worked with Homma Kancho serving meals to the homeless at the Denver Rescue Mission, and has also accompanied Homma Kancho on trips abroad. Noel currently holds the Nippon Kan rank of 2nd degree black belt.
Roger Failor Fuku Shidoin
Youth Program Assistant Instructor
Roger has been practicing Aikido at Nippon Kan for 8 years and has been assisting in teaching the Nippon Kan Youth Program since 2008. Roger has also traveled abroad with Homma Kancho and AHAN and has a passion for motorcycles.
Jeff Legwold Fuku Shidoin
Youth Program Assistant Instructor
Jeff Legwold began his study of Aikido at Nippon Kan in 2005 and currently assists with the youth and advanced youth program classes. Jeff is a sports writer in “real life” for the major Denver newspapers and brings wit as well as insight to his teaching of Nippon Kan’s younger members.