April 21-26, 2008
Last spring, we invited Nippon Kan Kancho, Gaku Homma to visit us at the Nikeijin Kaikn (Japan Colombia Association) in Cali, Columbia. The Nikeijin Kaikan is active in many community activities and Japanese cultural programs in Cali including the Cali Nippon Budokan (Cali Japanese Martial Art Dojo). Homma Kancho arrived in Cali on April 21st for a five day visit. I, Ayako Nakata, Director of the Nikeijin Kaikan, along with Jorge Silva Sensei who teaches our Aikido program served as hosts for Homma Kancho’s short but very busy visit.
There are about 150 Japanese Colombian members of the Nikeijin Kaikan in Cali. The history of the Japanese immigrants in Columbia began in 1929, so there are now generations of Japanese living in Colombia. In April 2007, our Japan Colombia Association President, Mr. Sakae Machida was able to raise enough funds through the Japanese Kokusai Kyoryoku Foundation to build our new five-story facility in Cali. Our center is used by both the Japanese community and many other groups for community activities and programs. Jorge Sensei’s Aikido class is held in a large dojo space on the fifth floor.
Jorge Silva Sensei and Homma Kancho.
In front of the Columbia Nikeijin Kaikan building; Ayako Nakata, and Homma Kancho.
Cleaning up the dojo before practice.
Homma Kancho shaking hands with everyone before practice.
With National Television’s “Todays Mirror” anchor.
Preparing to go on air.
Practice at Nippon Budokan in Cali.
Homma Kancho taught three days of Aikido classes to about 50 students at the Cali Nippon Budokan. His teaching was very well received by all of the students who learned a great deal from Homma Kancho not only about Nippon Kan Aikido technique but about Aikido history and AHAN philosophy as well. On the last day of classes, Homma Kancho with Jorge Silva Sensei as uke performed a 30-minute discourse on Aikido including a demonstration on a Colombia National television noon time show called “Today’s Mirror.”
Between classes, Homma Kancho visited a number of local humanitarian organizations in and around Cali as preliminary research for future consideration for AHAN support. After careful review, Homma Kancho and AHAN decided to support by the Dignity and Life Foundation in the Santa Elena slum district. . One of the programs of the Dignity and Life Foundation provides 30 children, selected for their potential as up-coming leaders in their community, with the opportunity to attend the Nippon Budokan Aikido classes once a week at no cost. The training the children receive at the Nippon Budokan not only allows them the chance to practice Aikido, but offers them training in leadership and community awareness. In support of this program, Homma Kancho provided donations of foods and other daily products for the foundation in Santa Elena and pledged to initiate an AHAN campaign at Nippon Kan Headquarters in Denver to provide these children with new uniforms for their practice at the Nippon Budokan dojo.
Delivering food and daily products. From left: Kancho, Founder Juliette, Director Mario.
Kancho with the kids!
All of us in Cali, Columbia very much appreciate Homma Kancho taking time out of his busy schedule to visit us in Cali, and look forward to his return very soon!
Written by Columbia Nikei Kaikan Kancho
All photos were taken with permission.
May 26th-June 2nd,
Practice with the Nepal Army Rangers
Homma Kancho and staff conducted a special training seminar for the Nepalese Army Rangers in Kathmandu, Nepal. The seminar was held at the Nepalese Army Rangers training base under battalion commander Anupiung Thapa. The Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta and Echo battalions all participated in this seminar with approximately 400 Army Ranger soldiers in attendance. Under a blistering hot sun, Homma Kancho led practice outside in three hour sessions; one each morning and afternoon, resulting in 6 hours per day of intensive, hard, physical training. The techniques practiced were developed exclusively by Homma Kancho and Nippon Kan Headquarters Instructor staff for “maximum power/minimum damage” training for use by military and police. This Nippon Kan training method works very well in controlling riots or demonstrations without excessive force. Other countries than Nepal are currently using these Nippon Kan methods with this emphasis.
From left, Instructor Mariusz, Instructor Michael, Homma Kancho, Instructor
Homma Kancho instructing, Michael as uke.
Weapons training safety check, Homma Kancho instructing.
Weapons and body movement training.
Handcuff techniques instructing Michael and Arturo.
Protecting your own firearm training.
Techniques against kicks, instructed by Kancho.
Protecting your own baton training.
Basic physical training.
Homma Kancho, Nippon Kan Headquarters Instructor Michael Barrera and Alturo Alvrez Kawai, Nippon Kan Headquarters uchideshi all traveled from the US to instruct at this special training event. Also assisting was Nippon Kan Nepal visiting instructor Mariusz Ferenc, and Nepal Aikido Association Instructor Rajesh Bista. The schedule for this seminar was grueling, but the instructor team performed well and all classes were conducted safely and successfully. At the closing demonstration, Lt. Colonel Ossim Thebe, Commander of the Shree Jagadal Battalion and representative of the Nepalese Army General, watched the demonstrations and participated in awarding certificates of achievement to all 400 participating soldiers.
To manage such a large group of students, 60 leaders were chosen from the five represented battalions to pass on Homma Kancho’s instruction to the soldiers under their command. Homma Kancho donated 70 keiko gis to the leaders for their achievement. As a result of outstanding achievement in this seminar, Sgt. Gurung of the Nepalese Army was selected by Army commanders to come to Nippon Kan Headquarters in Denver for further training in technical and leadership skills.
Homma Kancho with Lt. Colonel Thebe.
Battalion Commander Thapa explaining about the Army Rangers to Kancho.
Lunch with soldiers.
An Aikido demonstration was also held for the Armed Police where Homma Kancho and assistants exhibited techniques useful in VIP protection and crowd control. Armed Police AIG (Additional Inspector General) Mr. Sanat Kumar Basnet was in attendance.
Armed Police AIG (Additional Inspector General) Mr. Sanat Kumar Basnet and staff
VIP Guard demonstration.
On this visit Homma Kancho and staff also conducted a seminar with 70 Nepal Aikido Association students. The Chairman of the Nepal Olympic committee and other Nepal government activities came to observe this growing program in Kathmandu.
Many thanks to Homma Kancho and his staff for traveling to Nepal for this groundbreaking event in the teaching of Aikido.
Nepal Aikido Association
Secretary Treasurer Pramod Adhikari
Editors Notes: Many of the commanders and officers of the special rangers could not be photographed by military order. There were a number of officers that worked very hard on this event that cannot be recognized. Thank you very much to these officers. We appreciate your efforts very much.
June 2-6th 2008
In Hmong village with Hmong villagers.
Homma Kancho stopped by Laos for a short visit on a fact-finding mission for AHAN and to discuss future plans for teaching Aikido to the Laotian Military. He began his visit in the capital city of Vientiane where he met with Senior JICA Instructor Kudo Sensei who teaches Aikido to local civilian in Vientiene. The purpose of Homma Kancho’s visit was not to conflict with the teaching of Aikido to civilians by Kudo Sensei but to work with military and police groups of the Lao government.
Guidebook award for “City with least amount of foot traffic” (I agree!)
Senior JICA Instructor Kudo Sensei and Kancho.
The Mekong River, from left; Nghia, K and me, Cindy. Across the river is Thailand.
Homma Kancho was interested in visiting the Hmong hill tribes to learn of their historical roots and see their culture in their own native homeland. The focus of this research for AHAN was also personal for Homma Kancho who had worked with Hmong refugees in the late 70’s and early 80 in Denver.
During the Vietnam war of the 1960’s and 70’s, the Hmong people in Laos sided with the United States military and suffered higher casualties than the US in that region during that time. After the war ended, the Hmong people of Laos became gravely endangered by the newly dominant government and tens of thousands of the Hmong people escaped through Thailand as refugees. After fleeing to Thailand, many Hmong refugees relocated to the US.
Homma Kancho and I traveled by truck about three hours to visit a Hmong village deep in the mountains. There, the traditional lifestyle of the Hmong people was as it has been for centuries. My parents were among the refugees that fled to the US after the Vietnam War, and I was born in Denver. This was my first visit to my original homeland to see the roots of my people in Laos. 30 years ago,
Homma Kancho worked as a manager for an apartment complex that housed about 400 Hmong refugees. The complex was severely overcrowded, and Homma Kancho helped these new US residents by teaching Aikido to the children and forming a night janitorial service company with the adult Hmong men and women called “Samurai Janitorial Services.” This helped provide the Hmong community with a source of income and a chance learn the skills associated with running a business. Homma Kancho was known at that time by the Hmong people of Denver as the “Colorado Tiger.” Now at Domo Restaurant, owned and operated by Homma Kancho, there are including myself, usually four to five Hmong people employed each year.
The hotel we stayed at in Vientiane is owned by the Hmong people and overlooks the Mekong River. We were able to see temples across the river that were actually in Thailand since the Mekong River separates the two countries in this area. The hotel rooms were beautiful and the food was delicious!
Many thanks to Nghia and K for all of their help as drivers and guides.
Someday, I would like to visit Laos again and the Thai-Mhong refugee camps to see if there is a way that I can be of help to them through AHAN.
Hmong family home.
Inside kitchen with Hmong woman.
Making traditional clothing.
K and I at the patchwork quilt store.
12 year old girl doing needlepoint. One piece takes one full week to complete. One week’s wage; $7.00.
Cut under last two photos Children fishing with nets.
Child shadowboxing rainwater.
Kancho in the outside market.
Hmong Language Interpreter
AHAN Nippon Kan Staff
June 7-11, 2008
After spending a few days in Laos, Homma Kancho flew at the invitation of a consortium of Aikidoka to teach Aikido at a global summit in Japan, June 7th-11th, 2008. Enthusiastic about Homma Kancho’s teaching and AHAN activities around the world, Homma Kancho was invited as a guest instructor to this summit of Aikikai and independent instructors, students and former students from all over Japan and the world.
As a guest instructor, Homma Kancho introduced Nippon Kan Aikido technique and practice methods and after practice joined instructors and students in discussions about the philosophy and principles of AHAN and the state of affairs of the Aikido community world-wide scale. Many ideas were discussed about the structure of Aikido practice and the directions of Aikido going forward. It was a wonderful exchange of new ideas and inter-organizational communication. Plans for future summits were made included seminars and study groups with a number of rotating instructors from different styles, backgrounds. Mutual goals were established for further communication between different styles and organizations with mutual respect and hope for the future development of Aikido.
To protect the privacy of all attending individuals and organizations, no photos have been posted from this event.
Nippon Kan Japan Brancho Coordinator
25th -July 1st, 2008
At the invitation of a personal friend, Homma Kancho returned to Iran for his second visit this past June. The following is Homma Kancho’s report about his trip to Iran, 2008.
Such a coincidence. I had already scheduled a trip to Iran for personal reasons, when I received word from Kobayashi Dojo, Yasuo Kobayashi Shihan (Aikikai 8th Dan) that he was planning to go to Iran in June and asked me to accompany him. I was interested in continuing my friendships with the people I had met in Iran last year, and wanted to spend more time in Iran to communicate and understand more about this country and it’s people. This was a wonderful coincidence and I humbly accepted Kobayashi Shihans offer. “Ikimasho” I replied.
When I visited Iran last year for the first time, some people at Nippon Kan Headquarters were worried that MAYBE I would have trouble re-entering the United States if I had traveled to Iran. Some people were worried that MAYBE I would not be able to ever travel to Israel or other nations or that MAYBE I would become a person of interest for US Intelligence. After this first trip, I did find that I attracted a little more attention than usual passing through immigrations upon my return to the United States.
I DO KNOW that the positive stories and messages I relayed to students and friends after my return from Iran last year went along way towards dispelling their fears. This year when I prepared for this second trip to Iran, no one worried about me. In fact, some of my students seriously wanted to accompany me on this trip!
Just one MAYBE casts doubt, igniting the fears that causes the kingdom to shut its own castle gates (Rouyo).
Just one MAYBE causes the kingdom to shut off access to another’s castle; isolating the other castle through sanctions (Hyoryozeme).
Acting on fears of what MAY BE can actually result in those fears becoming reality.
It is always important to be prepared, but remaining open and
communicating freely is the best solution for making what MAY
BE into what CAN BE peaceful and beneficial for all.
I am a civilian traveler and had no problems obtaining a visa at the Tehran airport. The process went very smoothly, and all of the fears I had about MAYBE not being able to get a visa at the airport and being turned away disappeared. In this case, acting by going to Tehran in spite of my fears of MAYBE triumphed over them. There can be MAYBE’s at every turn, in every moment. If we fall prey to the fears of MAYBE, we will not be able to accomplish anything. We will not be able to believe in anything.
On this visit like my last visit to Iran, I met only wonderful people and had an enriching and positive experience. I want to sincerely thank all of the Iran Aikidoka, hotel staff and other assistants who were so kind and gentle with me.
From 3rd from left: Arai Shihan, Kobayashi Shihan and Ali
Sensei at the Tehran airport.
Kobayashi Shihan’s demonstration. (photo by Mr. Farshad)
Instruction by Kobayashi Shihan.
Arai Shihan teaching at the former American Embassy dojo.
Kobayashi Shihan came to Iran at the invitation of Islamic Republic of Iran Aikikai Aikido (IAA) and IAA founder and chief instructor Ali Aghsaghloo Sensei, www.iranaikido.com. in honor of IAA’s 10 Year Anniversary Celebration. Accompanying Kobayashi Shihan was Aikikai Gunma Prefecture, Toshiyuki Arai Shihan (Aikikai 7th Dan).
This was an official AIKIKAI project seminar and as the leader of an independent dojo, I understood very well that it would be a major violation for me to participate in this seminar in any other capacity than in assisting Kobayashi Shihan in fulfilling his needs as a personal assistant. The only time I honored a request to assist in classes was to work with the women’s practice. This was not part of the anniversary seminar program and was scheduled for the day that Kobayashi Shihan had arrived from his long trip from Japan.
Under Iranian religious law, men are not allowed to teach the women’s practice without special permission from the religious police. Since I had worked with the women’s practice before, I was given permission, and I filled in to assist with the women’s practice. At the women’s practice, I led Japanese exercise games and watched the women’s karate demonstration. I did not teach Aikido to the women’s classes.
Kobayashi Shihan and Arai Shihan instructed all of the classes for the men at the IAA 10th Anniversary Seminar. I calculated that both Shihan combined, their years together equaled 146! After such a long journey and with such a demanding teaching schedule, my job was to make Kobayashi Shihan as comfortable as possible. My goal was to have them complete the days of the seminar in good health and in good spirits. My experience in traveling to Muslim countries helped me in assisting them in understanding the different culture and customs and being able to facilitate communication. I was very honored and proud to be able to serve in this capacity of facilitating in the communication between these two very different cultures.
During the demonstrations that were held at the seminar, in front of a large audience of students and the public, I was asked to do a demonstration. With permission from both Shihan, I demonstrated a three minute Kashima Shinto Ryu styled Jo demonstration; I did not demonstrate Aikido. I did this demonstration as I was asked with pride and respect as a martial artist.
Kobayashi Shihan is 73 years old, but his teaching style in
Iran was commanding and very well received. He even took ukemi
for students as part of his teaching method which also included
the techniques he is famous for; suwarewaza. I learned a great
deal by watching Kobayashi Shihan (my practice was mitorigeiko-watching
practice) and also watching the Iranian students who were powerful
and skillful in their technique, sincere and dedicated in their
practice and respectful in manner. Ali Aghsaghloo Sensei has
done a superb job with amazing effort in building IAA as an Aikikai
organization. Aikikai did not make IAA; the people of Iran and
their spirit together made IAA as strong and powerful as it is
today. I have a lot of respect for Ali Sensei, his staff and
students for their efforts and achievements in Aikido.
Practice in Iran.
Kobayashi Shihan teaches gently with the children.
Kobayashi Shihan interviewed for Iran National TV.
Ali Sensei gives Kobayashi Shihan a massage on a trip to countryside.
Dinner at with countryside homestay family.
Powerful karate demonstration by the women’s class.
I accompanied Ali Sensei to the airport to receive Kobayashi Shihan as he and his party landed in Tehran. Ali Sensei said to me as we waited for the plane to arrive, “It is hard for me to believe that Kobayashi Shihan is really coming to Iran. I have waited 10 years for this moment. Kobayashi Shihan understands my efforts”. With these words, and without thinking of other staff and students surrounding him, Ali Sensei shed tears of joy at the thought of receiving his teacher in his home land.
I agree that Ali Sensei’s efforts have been many; from the time he spent studying Aikido in Japan to the years he has spent in the founding and building of the IAA organization in Iran. There of course have been other instructors involved, but since the beginning—until this day, as we stood at the airport waiting for the impending arrival of his teacher Kobayashi Shihan—it was Ali Sensei who has worked so hard and run the entire way. Ali Sensei’s achievements deserve to be acknowledged.
When I left Iran, many of my Iran Aikido friends came to the airport to see me off. Together they had collected money among themselves and gave me the money with these words. “Homma Sensei, you do a lot of good work in other poor Muslim countries around the world and you help many people. Please take this money and use it for your projects from u.s. I was very touched by this offer but said quietly, “Take this money you have collected and use it to attend the International Aikido Federation Seminar to be held in Wakayama, Japan this September.” It was my turn to feel great joy as I gave the money back to them for this purpose.
When I returned to the United States, I learned that Mr. Masaki Tani had sent word to the IAA in Iran, complaining about my participation in the IAA 10th Anniversary Seminar Celebration. Mr. Tani complained to IAA in reference to me that “you have invited an instructor to teach at this event who was not Aikikai and this is confusing to Aikikai students all over the world”.
This saddened but did not surprise me. Over the past 43 years, I have experienced and heard about many incidents and problems with Aikikai Headquarters. This time however was a huge misunderstanding on the part of Mr. Tani’s.
At the time this article was written, there has still not been an acceptable official contraction of these remarks by Mr. Tani of Aikikai Headquarters International Division.
My most sincere hope is that these misguided and small-minded
actions of Aikikai do not embarrass, disappoint or disillusion
the innocent and good hearted Aikidoka in Iran.
There were other accusations about me in this letter of complaint that had nothing to do with IAA in Iran. I have not forgotten; These points too, need to be answered with an acceptable explanation.
Aikido Nippon Kan Kancho
August 1st, 2008
July 2nd -9th, 2008
The pyramids loom in the background.
Alexandria Aikido Group
From left: Gawad Sensei, Riad Sensei, Homma Kancho, Uludag Sensei and Ziad.
Homma Kancho explains bokken relationships to open hand movement.
Four hours by car north of Egypt’s capital city of Cairo is Alexandria; the second-largest Mediterranean city n Egypt. Alexandria is famous as the home of Cleopatra and the history of this city goes back to 334 BC.
My name is Gawad Adham, and I am the instructor of Alexandria Aikido here in Alexandria. A friend and student of mine, Ziad Ysuf Abuamer invited Homma Kancho to visit us. Ziad originally met Homma Kancho in East Timor where he was stationed as a member of the UNPOL. In February 2008, Ziad served as host for Homma Kancho’s second visit to East Timor, making all of Homma Kancho’s arrangements for this visit. Link here to Homma Kancho’s most recent visit to East Timor this past February.LINK #2 .
Homma Kancho came to Alexandria accompanied by his assistants, Nippon Kan Headquarters Instructors Bryon Hays and Jason Lowry on July 2nd, 2008.
My family owns a hotel in Alexandria called the Adham Compound Hotel. http://www.adhamcompoundegypt.com/ Our hotel is family run and has many amenities including the gym facility where our dojo holds practice. Homma Kancho taught classes here for about 30 students who practice Aikido here. Between practices, I served as host and guide for Homma Kancho and party, showing them the many wonderful historical sites of our city. I hope everyone enjoyed exploring our ancient and alluring city! Thank you to Homma Kancho and staff for coming to visit with us here in Alexandria.
Written by Gawad Adham
July 10th, 2008
We met Homma Kancho in Alexandria after Homma Kancho returned from Iran with a short stop in Istanbul to work on book publishing projects. Gawad Adham Sensei’s family showed us the best in hospitality and the Adham Compound Hotel was a wonderful facility with a full sized gym and outside pool where you could even take scuba diving lessons! Many thanks for the wonderful experience and for showing us the rich and magical history of Alexandria.
Nippon Kan Headquarters
In front of the Pompei column, Homma Kancho, Instructor Jason Lowrey and Gawad Sensei.
Instructor Jason has a good appetite and an adventuresome spirit!
A traditional way of making water cold.
Large “condos” for pigeons can be found everywhere. Pigeons are a popular dish in Egypt.
Cairo Shooting Club Aikido group photo.
After the seminar in Alexandria came to an end, Gawad Sensei drove Homma Kancho, Ali Uludag Sensei, Bryon and I, the four hours back to Cairo. The dojo in Cairo was located in the Cairo Shooting Club; originally a club designed exclusively for shooting. Now the Cairo Shooting Club houses many other sports activities.
The club currently has two open air dojos; one 300 tatami mat dojo and one 150 tatami mat dojo. The Cairo Aikido Club is instructed by Hisham Riad Sensei who practiced Aikido in Osaka, Japan and retains a very good command of the Japanese language. This second seminar in Cairo was scheduled by the Cairo Aikido Club after hearing from Gawad Sensei that Homma Kancho would be visiting them in Alexandria. The Cairo Aikido Club is in regular communication with Alexandria Aikido and they often practice together. Riad Sensei asked if Homma Kancho would consider teaching in Cairo and this second seminar was arranged.
Homma Kancho and Hissam Riad Sensei.
Practice in Cairo.
Next to the aikido class, a senior’s exercize class was in session!
Daily prayers are the first priority, a higher priority than practice.
Egypt is a very religious Muslim country, and practice in Cairo was stopped at specific times so that students could participate in their daily prayers. This showed to us the dedication of all of the Muslim students to their faith. The students in Cairo were very good at bokken and jo practice. This was because they used to be instructed by an Iwama Ryu JICA Instructor under Osaka Seiseki Abe Shihan.
Gawad Sensei took us to see the Pyramids and the Sphinx. Mr. Muhamed Elaskalany who practiced at the Cairo Aikido Club also took us sightseeing to many places we would not have been able to see as normal tourists. We were allowed a fascinating experience of the culture in Cairo and Alexandria, which was a very special experience.
In front of pyramids, from left: Bryon Hays, Homma Kancho and Uludag Sensei.
Homma Kancho in front of sphinx.
Ali Uludag Sensei also joined us on this trip to both Alexandria and Cairo from Istanbul, Turkey.
Currently Aikido practice in Egypt is organized under Kenji Kumagai Shihan of Wakayama, Japan, as is Aikido practice in Turkey. Thinking towards the future, the meeting of Instructors from both Egypt and Turkey who both practice under Kumagai Shihan was a positive development. We hope that this new relationship between these two countries will continue to develop in the future.
To all of the Aikidoka we met in both Alexandria and Egypt; many thanks for all of your generous hospitality. We were all awed by the wonders of your beautiful and historic country.
Nippon Kan Headquarters
Photo Album of Old Cairo.
View of Old Cairo.
May 20th -27th, 2008
Our hired river boat.
Six hours by night train northwest of the capital city of Dhaka, Bangladesh is the city of Rajshahi on the banks of the Badma river. I had heard about the impact of changing climate conditions on the lives of the people of Rajshahi and traveled to Rajshahi to learn about conditions there myself…
Link here to Homma Kancho’s new article “Chasing Out the Poor and the Young Take a Stand for the Future; Reflections on Bangladesh”.
Homma Kancho with traditional opera and theater minstrel’s troupe.
Forty-five minutes by car from Rajshahi, close to the border between Bangladesh and India is the town of Chapai-Nawabganji. This quaint countryside village looks peaceful, but as this area so close to the border, drug and weapon smuggling and even human trafficking is a major problem. This makes Chapai-Nawabganji and the surrounding territory more lawless than peaceful.
To combat the negative effects these dangerous and illegal activities have had on the people in these local communities, a traditional opera and theater troupe has created a traveling performance that teaches young and old alike many lessons about social wellness through song, dance and theater.
US Army Special Teams, the Bangladesh Army, local Bangladesh Police and local NGO organizations have joined together for the first time in Bangladesh history to institute projects for community development…
Link here to Homma Kancho’s new article “Chasing Out the Poor and the Young Take a Stand for the Future; Reflections on Bangladesh”.
Nippon Kan Editing Staff
Third floor construction site.
The new facility being built is behind current facility.
A goal of 5 floors!
While in Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, Homma Kancho visited the Madrasah Orphange to check on the implementation of the last AHAN support donations of cement, blackboards, ceiling fans medicines and an administrative computer in October 2007. AHAN also supports the Madrasah Orpanage with 500 kilos or rice every month, and is currently helping the Madrasah Orphange to rebuild and expand their facility.
I, Maji Sarkar, AHAN Bangladesh coordinator and AHAN staff member
Ratan Kumar Bhowmik accompanied Homma Kancho during his time
spent in Dhaka. We were happy to see that construction had resumed
with the cement donated by AHAN last October, and showed progress.
The first floor office area had been completed and much progress
had been made on completing a third floor to the facility.
Madrasah Orphanage staff.
Meeting to discuss new iron doors and window frames; Maji, (behind) and Ratan (in white shirt).
They say they can fix this bus and use it!
There are 250 girls currently living at the orphanage. Plans
have been made to expand the facility to house up to 500 girls
with more comfortable accommodations. Not all of the girls that
live at the Madrasah Orphanage are actually orphans. Many of
them have living parents, but the conditions at home are so critical
that they cannot be supported at home. There are many different
reasons why the girls live at the orphanage including poverty,
child abuse, family illness or other family hardships. Living
at the orphanage, the girls are provided with a safe place to
live, simple foods, limited medical attention and an education;
all very valuable commodities in Bangladesh. During the major
holidays like Ramadan, many of the girls return home for the
holidays. Some families cannot afford the long trip home to the
countryside for their girls to visit during the holidays so some
of the girls remain at the orphanage year round.
Donations delivery supervised by Maji.
The construction showed great progress, but there were no current funds available for windows and doors for the classrooms. Homma Kancho arranged to deliver six doors, seven window frames and windows and 12 fans to the orphanage. It is AHAN policy not to donate money directly, so Homma Kancho personally arranged for the purchase and delivery of the doors, windows and fans directly from the manufacturers. I personally supervised the deliveries and obtained receipts for all donated items. Homma Kancho told the leaders of the Madrasah Orphanage, “The first time I visited here, you opened your doors and welcomed me. Our relationship and the development of projects here have been growing ever since that day. This time we will be providing doors and windows for your facility. Once the doors are in place, please do not shut them to us.” Everyone laughed at Homma Kancho’s joke and one of the elders replied, “Don’t worry; the new doors will be mounted on hinges so they will always be open.”
AHAN Bangladesh Coordinator
Delivery of computer parts.
The 50 computers
donated by AHAN Nippon Kan General Headquarters to the Dharmarajika
Orphanage have been used successfully to set up a computer
skills program for the young people in their care. Homma Kancho
and I stopped by to check on the development of the computer
education program and to deliver replacement power supplies
and other replacement parts needed for the computers. Homma
Kancho was very happy with the progress of the computer program
and the enrichment the computers were bringing to life at the
Dharmarajika Orphanage. Hopefully someday we will be able to
upgrade these computers as the program grows. Until then, we
will continue to deliver 500 kilos of rice per month to the
Kancho with the Dharmarajika monks.
At last!. The ladies of the kitchen finally know us well enough to pose for a picture together.
AHAN Bangladesh Coordinator
Paris Elementary School drawing award ceremony
Last holiday season, the Nippon Kan General Headquarter Youth
Program began a picture exchange with children at the Paris Elementary
School in Dhaka by sending hand drawn New Year’s cards
to Bangladesh. In return, the children at Paris Elementary School
sent cards back to the students in the Nippon Kan Youth Program
this past spring. A contest was held at Nippon Kan Headquarters
and the top three drawings were selected. On this visit, Homma
Kancho awarded plaques and ribbons to the top three children
artists. Nippon Kan Headquarters also donated art supplies to
the Paris Elementary School teacher Mr. Rubuer and a collection
of new drawings from the Nippon Kan Youth Program and their classmates
at the Free Horizon Montessori school of Denver.
AHAN Bangladesh Coordinator
July 3rd-9th, 2008
Maji with students in Nepal. From left: Dayangi, Instructor Rajesh, Maji and Instructor Mariusz.
AHAN Bangladesh Coordinator Maji Sarkar traveled to Nepal July 3rd-9th to visit with the Nepal Aikido Association to practice Nippon Kan Aikido with students there. Currently, at Homma Kancho’s direction, only AHAN activities were developed in Bangladesh but no Aikido program. As soon as a Nippon Kan instructor is qualified for the position in Bangladesh, an Aikido program will begin. “As soon as the time is right” says Nippon Kan Kancho Gaku Homma.
by Nippon Kan Editor Staff
May 25th, 2008
This April Homma Kancho visited the Nippon Budokan in Cali, Columbia
and as a new support project selected Santa Elena’s slum
district’s “Dignity and Life Foundation” for
AHAN support. Homma Kancho contributed foods, and daily supplies
to the “Dignity and Life Foundation” while in Cali
and pledged to send 40 keiko gis for the children in the Foundation’s
Aikido program upon his return to the US. When Homma Kancho returned
from Colombia, he hand-carried 40 kilos of Colombian coffee beans
as gifts to donors in the new AHAN Colombian Keiko Gi’s
for Kids fundraising drive. Thanks to the generosity of Nippon
Kan students, in only one week’s time, enough funds were
raised to purchase, print and ship 40 light weave keiko gis to
Cali, Colombia for the Santa Elena kids. The fresh Colombian
coffee beans needless to say were a big hit with all of the coffee
lovers at our Nippon Kan dojo! Many thanks to everyone for their
Keiko Gi campaign coffee contribution board.
Homma Kancho with all of his travels for AHAN, brings back many fresh teas, coffees, and native handicrafts to Nippon Kan Headquarters. Proceeds from the sale of these exotic items at Nippon Kan goes a long way in supporting AHAN activities and projects around the world.
Nippon Kan General Headquarters never solicits outside support from the general public or any other outside organizations or foundations. All Nippon Kan official AHAN associates in other countries are also forbidden to solicit cash donations from outside public sources. Please notify Nippon Kan Headquarters immediately at firstname.lastname@example.org if you ever become aware of any organization soliciting funds in the name of AHAN.
LINK to Homma Kancho’s article “Aikido and Community in Cali, Columbia” about his experiences on this first AHAN trip to Columbia.
AHAN General Headquarters
Assistant International Coordinator
May 23-25th, 2008
AHAN Guatemala Staff
AHAN Nippon Kan Central America and AHAN Mexico Coordinator Fernando
Roman Sensei, Chief Instructor of Mexico Aikido Takemusu Aiki
www.mexicoaikido.com.mx traveled to Guatemala City this past
May to award formal acceptance of Escuela Central de Aikido de
Guatemala into AHAN as an official AHAN affiliate. This acceptance
comes also with the recommendation of AHAN Nippon Kan General
Headquarters Senior Instructor, Scott Olson Sensei who traveled
to Guatemala last year to evaluate the group. Dojo Instructors
Pablo Buenafe Urritia and Juan Carlos Garoz Garrido, the new
leaders of AHAN Guatemala were presented with their official
certification at this special seminar instructed by Fernando
Roman Sensei. The seminar was held in Delfine’s Gym for
thee days with about 35 students attending. The first official
activity of AHAN Guatemala was this donation of this seminar’s
proceeds for the Virgin del Camino Day Care Center for single
Practice in Guatemala City.
Fernando Sensei with the children of Virgin del Camino.
AHAN International Director
Lots of young people, every body happy!
AHAN Nippon Kan Mindanao, Philippines Coordinator, Instructor Ava Yancha has been very active in the promotion of Aikido in Mindanao. Instructor Ava just recently opened a new dojo in Illigan City where she resides. She has also been very active teaching Aikido at the Mindanao State University (MSU ITT) and at Saint Peters College in Illigan City. Instructor Ava also travels to remote areas of Mindanao to teach young people in Muslim villages about Aikido and the spirit of AHAN. Instructor Ava is a very unique, energetic and positive influence in Mindanao.
On August 1st, Nippon Kan graduate uchideshi and instructor abroad, Mariusz Ferenc, will travel from Kathmandu, Nepal where he has been teaching Aikido with the Nepal Aikido Association for the last five months to join Instructor Ava in Illigan City, Mindanao. Mariusz is being sent by Nippon Kan General Headquarters to work with Instructor Ava and her students on Nippon Kan basic technique. The joint goal and purpose of this mission is to strengthen the foundation of Instructor Ava’s teaching and support her growing student base with instruction reinforcement from Nippon Kan Headquarters.
AHAN International Director
Supervising the children during “Sports Month” in celebration of Independence Day.
Yoshikada Wada Sensei, Instructor of Aikido in East Timor since 2005 sent the following reports on current activities in East Timor since Homma Kancho’s last visit in February, 2008.
June 13th, 2008
May 20th was Independence Day in East Timor. During the month of May, many sports competitions and demonstrations were held to celebrate. Our Aikido students also wanted to put on a demonstration for this national celebration and on June 1st, the demonstration was held. As it was a Sunday, not too many spectators came, so the demonstration turned into a regular practice. The Minister of Sports and Education and personnel from the Japanese Embassy did attend, which was good exposure for our Aikido dojo.
This year’s Independence Day demonstration was performed by local Timor residents, but last year, Sung Ju-Hwan and Ziad Ysuf Abuamer both UNPOL officers stationed in East Timor at the time performed the demonstration along with East Timor students. The Japanese Embassy personnel commented that compared to last years demonstration, the East Timor local students show much improvement in their practice.
June 27th, 2008
A few days ago, an honorary peace ambassador from Unicef, Mr. Jackie Chan came to visit east Timor. Mr. Chan is a popular action movie star and attracted a lot of attention in East Timor. Many young people came to watch him perform. The theme of his demonstration was “Using Martial Arts for Peace. Fighting only leads to more fighting. Don’t fight. I want to see peace through the Martial Arts, not fighting.”
Every time, Mr. Wada leads by example.
Mr. Wada has been part of the JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) office staff in East Timor for the past four years. He and his wife have lived through many hard times and seen many struggles in East Timor. Both Mr. Wada and his wife have made many sacrifices and given a lot of effort to assist the people of East Timor.
JICA Headquarters has ordered Mr. Wada to return to Japan this summer. For all that Mr. Wada has given to the people of East Timor this will be a great loss for this new and struggling democracy. I hope that Mr. Wada will be able to continue his support and keep the relationships he has built in East Timor.
Thank you very much for all of your efforts. You made a difference in this land.
Nippon Kan Headquarters
Nippon Kan Kancho
May 18th, 2008
Consul General Kubo and wife presents 50,000th meal.
Since January 1991, Nippon Kan has served monthly meals to the homeless at the Denver Rescue Mission. This May, an important milestone was reached with the service of the 50,000th meals in 18 consecutive years. On May 18th, a ceremony was held at the Denver Rescue Mission attended by Consul General of Japan, Kazuyoshi Kubo, Japanese Consul Haruo Yamagami, Denver City Councilwoman Judy Montero and her staff, Denver Rescue Mission Staff and Nippon Kan Volunteer Staff. Consul General Kubo personally presented the 50,000th meal at the dinner service that followed the ceremony.
At the 50,000 meal celebration seminar, students join in the meal preparation.
50,000 Meal service staff; Back row, second from right,
Council Yamagami, General Council Kubo and his wife.
5:00 pm. Resident meal service at
Denver Rescue Mission.
Everyone happy to volunteer!
8:00 pm. Setting the tables for the outside guest dinner service.
Homma Kancho and Councilwoman Montero.
The most famous sushi bar in Denver--Sushi Den’s owner Toshi makes and delivers sushi for this special meal himself.
Homma Kancho and Nippon Kan were awarded a Proclamation by the Denver City Council on May 12th in Council Chambers at the Denver City and County Building for outstanding service to the community, specifically honoring Homma Kancho and Nippon Kan for their work with the homeless in Denver. This was the third proclamation that has been awarded to Nippon Kan by the Denver City Council for service to the community.
Denver Mayor John Hickenlouper and Colorado Governor Bill Ritter
also awarded letters of recognition to Homma Kancho and Nippon
Kan for this milestone by. Nippon Kan as a private non-religious,
non-political organization has received more recognition for
community service than any other Japanese organization in Colorado.
We thank all of the volunteers who have helped support this project
for the homeless faithfully for the past 18 consecutive years.
Many thanks as well to all for attending this special commemoration
AHAN Nippon Kan
International Project Director
AHAN Nippon Kan Homeless Food Service Project Report
2008 350 meals served
June 15th, 2008 325 meals served
July 20th, 2008 307 meals served
Total Meals Since 1991 50,775 meals served
May 18th, 2008
AHAN Nippon Kan Central America and AHAN Mexico Coordinator Fernando
Roman Sensei, Chief Instructor of Mexico Aikido Takemusu Aiki,
was invited to Nippon Kan Headquarters in Denver to teach at
the special celebration seminar held in commemoration of the
18 consecutive years and 50,000 meals served to the homeless
on May 18th. Fernando Roman Sensei is the most active Aikido
instructor teaching in Mexico and Central America and is recognized
for this achievement by Nippon Kan Headquarters. Fernando Sensei
was the perfect choice to join us for this special occasion.
Roman Sensei also attended the ceremony held at Denver Rescue
Mission later that evening and brought with him the well wishes
of all of his students in Mexico.
Meal prep was part of the seminar curriculum. Fernando Sensei pitches in too.
At the Denver Rescue Mission.
Nippon Kan Junior Vice President
June 7th, 2008
Nippon Kan has held an annual spring volunteer project for the last 17 consecutive years. The origin of this project you might assume was altruistic in nature. In actuality, Homma Kancho initiated this project for personal reasons.
Previously, Homma Kancho’s birthday in May was always celebrated with a large party. There were a few memorable parties that were held at a local restaurant that began at 11:00 am and did not end until the restaurant closed at 2:00 am. the following day!
The, 17 years ago, Homma Kancho announced to all of his students and friends, “NO PARTY this year! Birthdays only come once a year, and to spend a birthday just partying the day away is a waste of time, energy and money; there is no lasting value to this kind of celebration. This year I want to celebrate my birthday doing something more productive; something that will benefit the community.” Ever since that day, Nippon Kan has spent one day every spring planting trees, cleaning up trails, and painting graffiti with projects in conjunction with the Denver Parks and Recreation Department of Denver. Nippon Kan actually does two projects a year with the Denver Parks Department; one in the spring and one in the fall. The fall project, which began with Nippon Kan, has become a city-wide project turning the flower beds for winter in the Denver City Parks. This project is now run by the Denver Parks Department Hands on Denver Volunteer Department and has been named “Put the Beds to Bed in Denver.”
The Denver Parks Department affectionately calls Nippon Kan
volunteers the Nippon Kan “ARMY.” and always saves
the largest and hardest projects for our very hard working students,
family members and friends.
A tradition; first Nippon Kan style exercizes!
The painting crew.
Collecting trash and clearing underbrush.
The youngest ones learning early from their parents.
Morning weapon practice.
This spring in conjunction with National Trails Day, Nippon Kan volunteers worked to clean up the Lakewood Gulch area. The project began at 8:00 am with Nippon Kan style warm-up exercises and Nippon Kan teams of volunteers worked throughout the morning to clear underbrush, paint guardrails, trim trees and clear mountains of trash.
Thank you to all Nippon Kan Volunteers for a JOB WELL DONE!
Nippon Kan Senior Vice President
April 13th, 2008
A spring party was held at the Nippon Kan Gardens for Nippon
Kan Hakama members (members of rank 3rd kyu and above), their
families and friends on April 13th, 2008. Nippon Kan operations
and activities are supported in great part by Nippon Kan student
volunteers and the support of their families and friends. This
party was held to recognize all of the support Nippon Kan receives
by so many.
The kitchen was so busy! Homma Kancho concentrates.
Beautiful garden, beautiful day, wonderful food!
Ali playing a Mongolian morin hur string instrument.
Special guests of honor at this spring gathering were the Nippon Kan OB’s (old boy’s) who don’t practice so regularly any more but are a great part of the Nippon Kan support network. This was a great chance for many of our younger members to learn about dojo history and hear the old stories from our Nippon Kan OB members.
Written by Nippon Kan Office Staff
April 6th, 2008
This year was the 13th consecutive year this fiercely competitive
competition has been held between Aikido Nippon Kan dojo and
Enshin Karate dojo. For the past few years, Nippon Kan has emerged
the victor, but this year, our dojo went down in defeat. Nippon
Kan did not return to the dojo with the winning trophy this year.
It doesn’t matter who wins or loses, both Kanchos smile!
I am speaking of course about Nippon Kan and Enshin Karate’s annual BOWLING TOURNAMENT! As is tradition, the losing team’s uchideshi are doused with buckets of ice water as students and friends cheer them on. This year since Nippon Kan lost the tournament it was our uchideshi’s turn to take the ice water dousing. As luck would have it, our newest uchideshi at the time was Arturo from Bolivia who had just arrived in the United States to become a Nippon Kan uchideshi two days before the tournament. I can imagine that Arturo might have been having thoughts about getting on the next plane home after this introduction to practice at Nippon Kan!
It really doesn’t matter who wins and who loses, this
tournament is a great way for Nippon Kan and Enshin Karate students
to share time together. As always, Homma Kancho and Joko Ninomiya
Kancho enjoy spending the time in a little friendly competition
with lot of laughs.
This year Nippon Kan uchideshi take the ice water bath!
April 19th, 2008
2008 Sabaki Middleweight Champion, Koichi Ninomiya.
The 28th International Sabaki Challenge Karate Tournament took place April 19th, 2008. The Sabaki Challenge is an international Enshin Full Contact Karate competition organized by Enshin Karate Do Founder and Homma Kancho’s long time friend, Joko Ninomiya Kancho. www.enshin.com. Competitors from all over the globe participate in this tournament, and Ninomiya Kancho gave special recognition to Homma Kancho at the Sabaki Challenge this year, introducing him to the attending crowds as an honored guest. Koichi Ninomiya, (Joko Ninomiya Shihan’s second son), who has worked at Nippon Kan’s Domo Restaurant for the past 7 years, won this year’s middleweight division. He was also awarded Westword Magazines Best Colorado Solo MC Rapper. Ichiban (Koichi’s stage name) is now in the spotlight and his 1st CD Psycle Analysis has just been released. Congratulations Koichi!
Ichiban, award winner rapper in Denver!
Since Enshin Karate is headquartered in Denver, the Sabaki Challenge brings Enshin graduate uchideshi “home” for the busy days of the tournament. It has become a tradition for the Japanese graduate uchideshi coaches and fighters to stay at Nippon Kan during this visit.
Most of the Japanese coaches that return from Japan for this
tournament were Enshin uchideshi students in their younger days.
Homma Kancho spent time with these uchideshi at the Enshin dojo,
offering advice, council and of course a few bottles of beer!
Homma Kancho explains that someone had to teach them how to drink!
Every year Homma Kancho waits for his “kids” to come
home; at least for the week of Enshin’s Sabaki Challenge.
Enshin fighters and coaches with Homma Kancho at Nippon Kan.
May 10th, 2008
It is unique to see a traditional authentic Japanese Kendo Tournament
in Denver, Colorado. For this local tournament hosted by Ito
Dojo, 5 high-ranking Kendoka traveled from Japan to serve as
instructors, officials and judges. The tournament was well orchestrated
and the Kendoka competing in the tournament were powerful and
very skillful. I was very impressed with the training and performance
of the competitors and the production of the tournament. Ito
Dojo in Denver, www.denverkendo.com, is instructed by Yasuo Ishikawa
Sensei and has many serious and skilled students practicing there.
After the tournament, participants and officials came to Nippon Kan’s Domo Restaurant for a celebration dinner, sponsored by Domo Restaurant. It looked as if everyone had a good time after such a long day of training and competition.
I thank you very much for the invitation to attend to attend this competition and appreciate all of the efforts and contributions the Ito Dojo is making to the community by bringing the traditions of Japan to students in Denver. I hope for your continued success.
Nippon Kan Kancho
Nippon Kan General Headquarters receives many visitors who come to join us for practice at the Nippon Kan Dojo. Below are links to letters from students and visitors about their experiences at Nippon Kan. These letters reflect the attitude, manners and philosophy of Nippon Kan students. Included is a letter from a dojo in Topeka, Kansas with projects of their own, inspired by AHAN.
Emrah, banker- from Turkey
Michele, on sabbatical -from Italy
Arturo, attorney, from Bolivia
Alberto, student, from Mexico
Far left; Instructor Mariusz at the Kathmandu Monkey temple.
After spending the last five months in Nepal as a Nippon Kan Instructor Abroad, two term-graduate uchideshi, Mariusz Ferenc is on his way to Illigan City, Mindanao, Philippines. Mariusz was very successful in assisting the Nepal Aikido Association in building a solid foundation for their organization in Kathmandu, and is very highly thought of by NAC administrators and students alike. Nippon Kan Headquarters is very proud of Mariusz’s accomplishments in Nepal not only in teaching Aikido technique but also for his communication skills and the positive reputation he has built for himself and for Nippon Kan in Nepal. Nippon Kan staff is very appreciative of Mariusz’s hard work, many efforts and outstanding contributions to the NAA and the people in Nepal.
Nippon Kan Kancho
Homma Kancho relaxes in dojo with the littlest uchideshi, Yonta.
Homma Kancho travels all over the world but when he is in Denver he spends time counseling Nippon Kan Headquarter senior instructors and staff. “I won’t be around forever,” he warns good naturedly. “The time I have spent traveling the last few years is actually good training for the Nippon Kan staff. If something were to happen to me without in warning, it could be very traumatic if new systems had not already been put into place. All of my traveling is good in more ways than one! It gives our senior staff and students a “dress rehearsal” for running operations on your own.
I know this sounds serious but look at what has happened to other dojos who have suddenly lost their leadership without notice. Many dojos do not survive this sudden transition, especially if the chief instructor took care of all of the operations and instruction themselves. In this kind of situation, students do not have any experience in leadership which can result in the breaking apart of the organization. “IF a father is too nice and does everything for his children, the children may not grow up to be competent adults. Maybe that is why I am not such a “nice father” some of the time…”
Homma Kancho taking care of the Nippon Kan garden.
Listening to Homma Kancho speak made all of feel like he was getting ready to pass away! Actually this is far from the truth. Homma Kancho still jogs one hour every morning, does all of the dojo garden and building maintenance and has just finished a personal five month fitness challenge which resulted in a loss of 30 lbs!
What is the secret to his good health? Homma Kancho says that his recipe for health is a simple one; work hard and practice hard every day. This, he says, is the secret of success.
Nippon Kan President Doug Kelly