April-June Activity Report 2006.
Written by Nippon Kan Headquarter website editing staff.
AHAN Instructors in support of AHAN, (IISA) are instructors of many different styles and affiliations who support AHAN’s philosophy of service to the community through projects in their own towns and cities. The only requirement for becoming an AHAN IISA Instructor is to be involved with one’s students in any service project of their choosing in their community at home.
As part of AHAN’s IISA program, Instructor education is very important. Especially for instructors who exhibit an enthusiasm for learning and a dedication to their own practice, we encourage development with projects such as these training tours.
|Shopping at the market.||At the temple inn|
This spring Ali Uludag Sensei, President of the International
Uludag Aikikai Federation of
Istanbul, Turkey accompanied Homma Kancho on a multi-country IISA tour to Japan and Mexico. Ali Sensei was invited to go to Japan and Mexico with Homma Kancho as an opportunity for him to experience first-hand different instructors and different dojos to expand his perspective as an instructor and a role model in Turkey.
Ali Sensei is a direct student of Kenji Kumagai Shihan of the Hidaka dojo in Wakayama, Japan. Kumagai Shihan lived in Turkey for seven years and was the first Japanese instructor to teach Aikido in Turkey.
This IISA Tour was sponsored by AHAN Nippon Kan General Headquarters Foundation IISA division which paid for all travel and other tour expenses.
April 24th-May 5th, 2006
|Ali Sensei at Mount Koya.||Joining in morning exercise in Ueno Park.|
Ali Sensei arrived on April 21st, 2006. This
was his second visit to Nippon Kan Headquarters in Denver.
After a few-day stay in Denver, Homma Kancho and Ali Sensei
left for Japan. As the departed, Homma Kancho commented, “This
should be a very interesting trip. We are two middle aged men,
one who speaks only Turkish and one who speaks only Japanese
and English! Communication could be quite a challenge”.
Link here to Homma Kancho’s Ten Day Travel Diary; in Japan with Ali Uludag Sensei.
May 11th-22nd, 2006
After completing the Japan “leg” of this multi-country IISA tour, Homma Kancho and Ali Sensei returned to Denver for a couple days of rest. Before they could even recover from jetlag, the two left for Mexico to visit AHAN Mexico, Mexico Aikido Take Musu Aiki for the second part of the journey. This AHAN Mexico tour was coordinated by Fernando Roman Sensei, Chief Instructor of Mexico Aikido and IISA coordinator for AHAN Mexico.
The AHAN Mexico tour consisted of visits to five different dojos in different parts of Mexico City and outlying towns. One focus of the tour was to enrich the cultural experience for Ali Sensei by allowing him to meet many new Aikido “amigos’ and experience different parts of Mexico.
|Relaxing at the Xochimilco National Heritage Canals in Mexico City.||A welcome toast with home stay host, Sr. Jose!|
|Dancing the night away
welcome party at Sr. Jose’s.
|Sr. Jose and Ali Sensei enjoying the same sense of celebration!|
With representatives from four different countries; Mexico, Japan, the United States and Turkey, communicating in four different languages; Spanish, Japanese, English and Turkish, it was not surprising that we ran into a few communication difficulties, especially considering that before the tour began, all communication and planning was done by email.
Because this was such an international project, these kinds of communication challenges were to be expected and in the end, all communication obstacles were overcome. We all learned many lessons about communication with so many countries, cultures and languages involved.
Homma Kancho spoke of this AHAN Mexico project, “Usually we conduct fundraising seminars for AHAN humanitarian projects only in Mexico City which leaves out many Aikidoka who cannot travel to Mexico City due to time or financial constraints. Once in a while I think it is important for Aikidoka from Mexico City and instructors to travel to home dojos outside of Mexico City. Therefore the idea for this AHAN Mexico bus tour was born. My idea is to reach out to students who cannot reach out to us, it is opposite from most seminar plans. With Ali Sensei with us it is a good chance for him to see the Mexican countryside and practice with Aikidoka in their own hometown dojos.”
All travel expenses were funded by AHAN Nippon Kan Headquarters so as not to burden local dojos financially. Local dojos and their Instructors were of course allowed to charge a nominal fee to attending students to cover any expenses that they might incur. It was an important part of the AHAN philosophy of the tour for local dojos to make the class fees as reasonable as possible so that the classes offered would be accessible to as many students possible.
Homma Kancho did not receive any monetary compensation for his teaching and also discouraged large or expensive welcome parties or extra curricular activities to keep the costs down in keeping with the AHAN philosophy of the tour.
Each dojo on the tour welcomed Ali Sensei graciously and everyone practiced together with a wonderful spirit. Ali Sensei, to the delight of all attending students entertained everyone with country folksongs from his homeland of Turkey. It seemed that the Turkish and Mexican sense of song and celebration was a match!
|Queretaro Aikido dojo.||Takeda Ryu Aikido students.|
|Ali Sensei teaching Takeda Ryu students.||Ali Sensei teaching at Mexico Aikido, Take Musu Aiki.|
|Ali Sensei, Homma Kancho,
guest from Argentina, Fernando Sensei
|Ali Sensei teaching at UNAM University.|
|UNAM Aikido members.||Ali Sensei in the Cuaulta Aikikai dojo.|
|Alberto Sensei, Ali Sensei, Rebecca Sensei.||With Alberto Sensei’s students.|
Many thanks to Fernando Sensei, Rocio Sensei, Alberto and Rebecca Sensei of Cuaulta and all other instructors and students for supporting this joint AHAN experience. Special thanks to Mexico Aikido Take Musu Aiki Advisor Mr. Jose Alvarez for his special efforts.
April 29-30th 2006
Fernando Roman Sensei, Chief Instructor of Mexico Aikido, Take Musu Aiki and AHAN Mexico coordinator, accompanied by ten students traveled to Guatemala for the first AHAN Guatemala fundraising seminar. Fernando Sensei and accompanying students paid for their own travel and lodging expenses in keeping with the AHAN philosophy of the trip. This seminar raised funds to support SOS Aldeas Infantes de Guatemala, a relief organization for homeless children in Guatemala.
Like the ripples in a pond from the drop of a pebble, the spirit of AHAN is expanding around the world.
Link here to this Guatemala seminar report written by Fernando
Roman Sensei at
Written by Luc Leoni Sensei-AHAN Rio de Janeiro
I am happy to report that AHAN Brazil and Nippon Kan Brazil are becoming part of CONSEG (The National Security Council of Brazil). Thanks to the help of Walmir Miranda (Nippon Kan Sao Paulo), I have been invited to go to the House of Congressmen in Sao Paulo to be part of this national project.
As you know, Brazil has enormous problems with security and crime, and especially among the young, access to drugs, drug money, and organized crime has become a huge problem. One of the roles of CONSEG is to try to form a better connection between the police and local communities. What has been missing has been a network of social organizations with social activities focused on educating Brazil’s young people and creating a better sense of responsibility and civic awareness. Also the CONSEG is giving new directions to the police authorities, in showing better knowledge of conflict resolutions.
We feel that Aikido can help achieve some
of these goals by adding solutions between conflicts.
Being part of the CONSEG gives the opportunity to be closer to our community in search social recognition and respect, and also to the authorities willing to find complementary directions to maintain social balance. We are proud to have the opportunity for AHAN to help serve our community by making a commitment in helping to reduce crime among the young.
We are at the beginning of the process. A lot of mentalities are to be change to accept each other and find better social harmony. We will keep you all posted of progress in setting up programs to help achieve these goals.
June 1st, 2006
Nippon Kan General Headquarters Cross-Cultural Exchange Program with the village of Higashi Naruse in Akita Prefecture, Japan has been in operation since 1990. Higashi Naruse Village is small remote village in mountainous region of Northern Honshu whose cultural heritage and lifestyle has been perpetuated for centuries. Higashi Naruse village offers a very special opportunity to experience traditional Japanese culture untouched in many ways by the effects of our modern day world.
Since 1990, 100 students have visited Higashi Naruse as part of Nippon Kan’s Cross-Cultural Exchange Program. In the last sixteen years, 25 students have participated in long-term study internships in conjunction with the Higashi Naruse Village Office Department of Education and Cultural Affairs. This program offers students a chance to work with children in elementary and middle schools and to participate in local event and program project planning.
Applications are now being taken for Nippon
2006 through 2007 three to six month semester Internship Program.
Semesters open for application are:
Fall semester ‘06 Oct-Dec
Spring semester ‘07 April-June
Summer semester ‘07 July-Sept
Fall semester ‘07 Oct-Dec
21-30 years of age.
A college degree or current enrollment in college level programs.
*Accepted applicants are required to spend one month at Nippon Kan Headquarters as a live-in student.
Aikido experience requirement:
6 months to 1 year. (link here for information about Nippon Kan’s uchideshi program).
Available Volunteer Employment:
Opportunities are available with the Higashi Naruse Village Office of Education Department of Cultural Affairs, working with schools and village government organizing and promoting local cultural events.
Roundtrip airfare (will be reimbursed at the completion of the term).
Accommodations (home stay and private accommodations).
Monthly living expense allowance.
How to apply:
Summit personal resume, photo and term starting date requests to Nippon Kan 1365 Osage Street, Denver, Colorado 80204 USA. or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Nippon Kan staff will respond promptly to completely submitted resumes only. No telephone inquiries please.
**IISA Instructors needed for teaching internships in AHAN associated third-world countries. Send resume including reasons for applying, availability and experience to the addresses listed above.
June 17-18 2006
Written by AHAN President Emily Busch
Nippon Kan’s Homeless Meal Service Project has been ongoing at the Denver Rescue Mission for the past sixteen years. This seminar was organized to raise funds to provide local meal service to homeless Denver residents for the coming year. IISA Instructor Stephanie Yap Sensei, Founder and Chief Instructor of Aikido of South Florida www.aikidosouthflorida.com was invited this year to be our special guest instructor. About eighty Nippon Kan students were in attendance for this special seminar and over $3000.00 was raised to support this ongoing project.
Stephanie Yap Sensei’s dynamic teaching style, infectiously positive attitude and powerful technique were a hit with Nippon Kan students, making her the number one favorite guest instructor Nippon Kan has hosted in many years! Yap Sensei delighted in helping with this project and showed great insight and understanding for the purpose and scope of the event. Stephanie Yap Sensei has been involved in other Nippon Kan AHAN projects in Mexico and Brazil in the past few years.
|Stephanie Yap Sensei teaching
at Nippon Kan dojo.
|Stephanie Sensei made a lot of
new fans at Nippon Kan!
|A very powerful bokken practice.||Hard practice in the hot, hot sun.|
The seminar schedule included an actual meal service at the Denver Rescue Mission. On Sunday after completing a two hour morning weapons class outside, Nippon Kan students, Stephanie Yap Sensei and her assistant Jose Figueroa traded in their bokkens for peelers and cooking knives to prepare the vegetables and meats in the Nippon Kan gardens to be used for the evening’s homeless dinner. Later that evening at the Denver Rescue Mission, Yap Sensei, assistant Jose Figueroa, Homma Kancho and our Nippon Kan volunteer staff served the evening meal to 300 homeless guests in great Nippon Kan style!
Nippon Kan’s Homeless Meal Service has been held almost every third Sunday of the month for the past sixteen years. After morning practice on each designated Sunday, students gather to prepare the foods for the evening meal. About 80% of the meal takes about three and a half hours to prepare at Nippon Kan. The meal is then transported to the mission where the final touches are added before the evening meal service.
Over the years we have “fine tuned” the menu for this meal, taking into consideration special requirements for our special guests. First, we have learned that the foods served need to be soft or easily eaten (soft enough to chew with bad or missing teeth and to be eaten quickly as most guests want to leave as soon as they have finished). Second, we have learned that the meal needs to be flavorful and spicy! (Drug and alcohol abuse in many cases has dulled the taste buds of some of our guests). All ingredients need to be economical, available year-round and of course FILLING!
After years of trying different menu ideas we have come up with
the following menu that seems to be a big hit with our rescue
Chicken curry with rice
Fried chicken dumplings
Bacon and cabbage sauté
Desert and bread
|Students help prepare vegetables between classes dressed in their keiko gi.||Stephanie Yap Sensei chopping onions so fast even “onion tears” couldn’t catch up!|
Many sincere thanks to Stephanie Yap Sensei, Jose Figueroa and all attending students for making this Homeless Fundraising Seminar a wonderful success!
|Yap Sensei and Nippon Kan volunteers
at Denver Rescue Mission.
|Inside the kitchen; the true power
of Nippon Kan!
21st meal service 275 meals served
June 19th meal service 325 meals served
Total since 1991 43,293 meals served
June 3rd, 2006
Written by Project Leader Jim Bailey
This year marks the 15th anniversary of Nippon Kan’s bi-annual volunteer service project with the Denver Park and Recreation Department of Denver. To celebrate, Nippon Kan students, family members and friends took on an especially big project this year!
On June 3rd, the “Nippon Kan Army” headed to Weir Gulch, a 100 year old waterway system in Denver cordoned in many parts on both sides by thirty foot concrete walls. Over the years a vast portion of these walls have been covered with graffiti, making them an eyesore for the surrounding community. The challenge for our sixty plus volunteers was to paint over a mile of walls on both sides of the waterway.
120 gallons of paint, donated by the Home Depot Corporation were used by volunteers wearing Government Issue rubber boots and wielding 12 foot paint rollers! The Denver Parks Department had thought that we might be able to cover about seven blocks of walls in one day, but we surprised them by covering an additional five blocks before noon!
Homma Kancho told the “troops” before the project began, “Looks like today we will be having jo practice outside. Our jos today are a little funny in shape but they should do fine!
This is an Aikido Nippon Kan style weapons seminar. With this project we can help others as we practice. This is a good a chance to fulfill our civic responsibility to our community. Once in a while, standing up to your ankles in creek water, facing a mile of walls of graffiti is a good time to reflect on our position in the community. This kind of activity can be more beneficial than paying a high price to attend a seminar in a resort somewhere!
Many of our students have brought their children to help today. I think this is such a positive lesson to teach our young people, and it makes me proud to see these lessons being passed on to a second generation of Nippon Kan students.”
With that, Homma Kancho and the Nippon Kan army marched into the gulch, paint rollers held high! Thank you everyone for doing a fantastic job!
|Trading in jo’s for paint rollers.||The beginning of 12 blocks of painting.|
|A long way to go…||Our “cutest volunteer” dressed in his “Government Issue” Parks Dept. yellow boots!|
|Nippon Kan’s finest volunteers! Mr Morris Brown 83 (in the shades) and Mr. Heinz Schlue.|
|Before painting.||After painting over the graffiti.|
|Kids learning the lessons of the day helping mom and dad!|
|Homma Kancho treats volunteers to lunch.||Of course Homma Kancho worked too!|
Written by AHAN Computer Redistribution Coordinator Erik Moore.
AHAN’s Used Computer Redistribution Program sends refurbished computers to countries such as Mongolia, Mexico, Brazil and Nepal to name a few. In Mongolia, over 100 computers have been distributed to schools, monasteries and other humanitarian service organizations. Students, family members, individuals in the Denver community and sometimes businesses and organizations generously donate used computers for use in this international redistribution program.
On May 14th, Nippon Kan Headquarters received a very large donation of sixty seven CPU’s, forty five monitors and fifteen printers and other assorted accessories from the Stapleton Rotary Club. We were very surprised when the truck used to deliver the donation turned out to be a semi! (slight exaggeration).
Currently AHAN is researching distribution methods to deliver refurbished computers to Bangladesh. Homma Kancho will be visiting Bangladesh in July to work personally on the details of this new distribution project.
May 30th, 2006
This year over 1500 school children from the Greater Metro Area came to Nippon Kan to experience Japanese culture, architecture, history, arts and cuisine through Nippon Kan’s School Field Trip Program. Many schools use this special experience as a tool for Asian studies, and each tour is modified to focus on the age level of the children involved and any specific studies they are involved in. The tours offer hands-on activities and live demonstrations which hopefully give students an experience they won’t soon forget.
In the lead on more than thirty tours this season was Nippon Kan Advisor and Instructor John Cruise who brings a wealth of information to these tours not only of Japanese culture and history but about Nippon Kan history and philosophy as well. John Cruise, Emily Busch and other Nippon Kan students all volunteer their time to assist in bringing this enriching program to the Metro area school systems. This School Field Trip Program is one of our most important Nippon Kan’s cultural- exchange activities in Denver.
April 15-23 2006
The current Nippon Kan gardens were designed and the initial foundation put in place over eleven years ago by Homma Kancho in fourteen hours. The heavy earth-moving equipment that had been rented that day was quite expensive and eyes were on the clock knowing that we could not keep the earthmovers one minute more than needed.
The time constraints lent themselves to a more impromptu rather than carefully laid garden design. It turned out to be quite an inspired work complete with two ponds, pathways, bridges and waterfalls. The late Morihiro Saito Shihan participated in part of the planning after the initial equipment had been returned by lending his skillful eye. He spent an entire day directing uchideshi students to move boulders just “so” to face the proper directions at the proper angles.
Less than five years later, Zagats National Restaurant Review named the Nippon Kan gardens in Domo Restaurants award for #1 Restaurant in Décor in the United States out of over 8000 Japanese Restaurants. The gardens have been a focal point for Domo Restaurant and have attracted patrons over the years from all over the world.
In April, Homma Kancho and student volunteers expanded the Nippon
Kan gardens to include a meditation and massage area and a permanent
home for the Mongolian ger (traditional yurt-like nomadic dwelling).
April 19-23rd, 2006
Written by Emily Busch
Enshin Karate, headquartered in Denver has branch dojos all over Japan, indeed all over the world. Founder and Chief Instructor Joko Ninomiya Kancho and Nippon Kan Kancho Gaku Homma are good friends. Homma Kancho first met Ninomiya Kancho early one Sunday morning in a local park in Denver many years ago. Homma Kancho was in the park practicing bokken and jo, (mainly because he did not have a large enough dojo space for weapons practice at the time) when he spotted a very athletic black haired oriental martial artist practicing kicks and punches with tremendous concentration on a punching bag he had hanging from a tree. It was a few more years before Homma Kancho was to discover that that oriental martial artist had been Joko Ninomiya Kancho. It was soon after that that the two became friends. Both Ninomiya Kancho and Homma Kancho came to Denver as young men to follow their own path in the world of Japanese martial arts.
At the Enshin Kaikan (headquarter) dojo, the front altar is made from the same tree as the front altar at the Nippon Kan dojo. The tree was a gift to Ninomiya Kancho by Homma Kancho when Nippon Kan was building its current permanent dojo on Osage Street.
For the past eleven years, Nippon Kan and Enshin Karate have joined together to celebrate Ninomiya Kancho’s birthday with a “fiercely” competitive bowling tournament! It is tradition for the uchideshi students of the losing dojo team to be doused with gallons of ice water at the end of the day. For decades, Homma Kancho has known and supported many uchideshi students of Enshin Karate during their training here in Denver. Many of these Enshin Karate uchideshi have since returned to Japan to become instructors themselves with branch dojos of their own.
Every year many of these original uchideshi return to Denver to participate in Enshin Karate’s annual Sabaki Challenge Tournament. When they return, they come to visit Homma Kancho at Nippon Kan. This April, four former uchideshi with four of their best fighting protégé came to Denver for the Sabaki Challenge Tournament and with the permission of Ninomiya Kancho all eight stayed in Nippon Kan’s uchideshi quarters. True to the training they all received from Ninomiya Kancho they all were wonderfully mannered guest to have and we enjoyed their stay with us at Nippon Kan.
June 19-30th 2006
Nippon Kan mid-term Soran (promotion review) was held this past June 19th-30th. Since Nippon Kan’s inception, promotion testing has never been held. This has always been part of Homma Kancho’s and Nippon Kan philosophy.
At Nippon Kan, student attendance and participation in AHAN community service projects count a great deal in promotion evaluation. These factors along with age, physical ability and recommendations from the Nippon Kan Instructor staff on student technique development all determine the promotion schedule of each individual student. During Soran, Homma Kancho personally reviews the practice of all students eligible for promotion. In this manner mid-term promotions were finalized and announced at July Hakama Kai meeting of senior students.
Usually martial art dojos of all kinds focus
their promotions on testing for technical proficiency only.
It is common also for dojos to use testing and certification
fees as a great means of income. Nippon Kan philosophy prohibits
both practices. We believe that Nippon Kan’s unique promotional
system is a contributing factor to the overall well being of
the dojo and the growing number of practicing students at all
Written by Uchideshi Coordinator Jim Haugen
The length of each term of our uchideshi
students spends at Nippon Kan can vary depending on an uchideshi’s
personal goals and other life commitments they might have such
as school, work etc. While the length of an uchideshi stay
may vary, while the uchideshi students are living at Nippon
Kan they all practice an average of four hours per day and
have daily dojos chores they are responsible for as part of
|Hiking with Homma Kancho in the Rockies.||Uchideshi in the pioneer village on 4th of July.|
Many Aikidoka traveling through Denver come to Nippon Kan to practice. Nippon Kan welcomes all Aikidoka to practice with us regardless of style or affiliation. A visiting Aikidoka’s rank is always respected at Nippon Kan and we have classes at all levels that visitors are welcome to join.
This past June, Nippon Kan had a visitor from the East Coast who was here training with us for a few weeks. He was a gracious guest that we enjoyed training with very much and his sense of manners and etiquette reflect well not only on his own character but the training he has received from his instructors.
If you are ever in Denver, you are always welcome to practice at Nippon Kan!