2010 May-August Activity Report

AHAN Nippon Kan General Headquarter Overseas Activity Report

• Bangladesh AHAN; Construction of the Madrasa Girls Orphanage Completed! Homma Kancho Visits

June 6th-8th, 2010

Nippon Kan

Homma Kancho with the younger girls in front of new facility.

For the last four years, AHAN has been involved with the building of the Madrasa Islamic Orphanage and School for Girls in Dhaka, Bangladesh. This past spring the five story building was finally finished and Homma Kancho traveled to Bangladesh to check on the completed project.

Currently there are on average 370 girls living at the orphanage and about 40% of them are orphans. The rest of the girls do have families, but their families are so poor they cannot take care of them. Many years ago, the original school was burned to the ground and when Homma Sensei was introduced to the orphanage four years ago, the girls were living and studying their lessons in a tarp covered make-shift structure. The goal for the cleric teachers was to build one floor per year, a goal in which they achieved this year with AHAN’s support.

Homma Kancho has visited the construction site regularly over the last four years and has helped supply badly needed building materials for the construction. AHAN has also supported the Madrasa Orphanage with 500 kilos of rice per month and other needed medical and daily product supplies.

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Homma Kancho with Madrasa cleric teachers.

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A simple lunch of soup and rice.

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A smile, for the first time
in the past four years.

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It is custom for the older girls to wear berka, however you can still see the smiles in their eyes.


Nippon Kan Vice President and AHAN International Program Director, Emily Busch is planning to visit Bangladesh at the end of July to check on what might be needed for the next step of development in the Madrasa Orphanages educational programs for the girls.

Homma Kancho was only in Bangladesh for three days this visit, but with Homma Kancho’s energy, we were able to accomplish an amazing number of projects and activities.

Thank you Homma Kancho for coming to visit us in Bangladesh.

Written by
Maji Sarkar
Bangadesh AHAN Coordinator

*Notes from Editor

AHAN has also supported the Dharmarajika Buddhist Orphanage and School for Boys for the last four years by supplying 500 kilos of rice per month, medical, sports and educational supplies.  AHAN and Nippon Kan General Headquarters also donated and shipped 50 used computers to the Dharmarajika Orphanage that were used to open a successful computer lab at the school.

Currently the Dharmarajika Orphanage has become more stable financially with support from many other local and international organizations; especially international organizations in Japan.

AHAN has always defined itself as an organization that offers more triage level of aid to projects and organizations with little means of support. A project term is usually one to three years, depending on the independent development of the project.

Now that the Dharmarajika Orphanage has become increasingly self sufficient, AHAN has closed this chapter of support. The allocated resources will be applied to ongoing and new projects for 2010 and beyond.

• Myanmar AHAN Learning Center; Five New Computers Donated!

May 26-June 5th, 2010

Nippon Kan

The newly donated computers are opened by AHAN Learning Center staff.

Nippon Kan Kancho, Gaku Homma visited Yangon, Myanmar in late May and early June of this year. The purpose of this visit was to research locations for a new permanent facility for the AHAN Learning Center in Yangon.

On this trip, Homma Kancho hand carried five new computers donated by the Minoru Yasui Inn of Court in Denver. A ceremony was held in Yangon to present the new computers. Staff and students celebrated together after the ceremony with a special meal.

Link here to article on the Minoru Yasui Inn of Court computer donation for Myanmar. 

While in Yangon, Homma Kancho also visited the Yadanapon Buddhist Temple Orphanage to check on the current, ongoing AHAN supply of 500 kilos of rice per month and other medical and educational supplies needed at the orphanage.

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Homma Kancho and students; smiles all around!

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Celebrating the new computers with a special meal.

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Yadanapon Buddhist Temple; Rice delivery by Homma Kancho and Saito Jukucho

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Saito Jukucho entertains the boys with tricks of his own!

Written by
Gaku Homma Kancho

• AHAN International Program Director, Emily Busch Visits Bangladesh and Myanmar

July 30th-Aug 10, 2010

Nippon Kan

Shopping for supplies,  Busch Sensei, Vice President.

AHAN International Program Director, Nippon Kan Vice President, Emily Busch Sensei visited Bangladesh and Myanmar for the second time this past July-August.

The purpose of this visit was to check on the status of AHAN supported projects there, to check to see if  goals were be being achieved and to work on projections for future stages of project development. AHAN Nippon Kan General Headquarters requires that all projects be personally inspected at every stage of development to insure that all materials are being used properly and that all project goals are on target.

If AHAN is in support of a project that is not meeting its goals, resource re-allocation is possible. These follow-up procedures have been put in place to help project recipients meet their goals and encourage the work they are doing for themselves. Ongoing dependence is not an AHAN project goal and is carefully monitored.

Written by
David Geras
Nippon Kan Treasurer

Emily Sensei’s Visit to the Madrasa Orphanage, Dhaka Bangladesh

July 31st-Aug 3rd, 2010

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Waiting for lunch with the girls.

Emily Busch Sensei visited the Madrasa Orphanage in Dhaka to check on the installation and use of AHAN supplied building materials and to meet with the cleric elders to discuss material needs for future projects.

Before stopping at the orphanage, we spent the morning at local Dhaka markets purchasing large supplies of body soap, laundry soap, 100 new plates and arranging for the delivery of AHAN’s monthly supply of 500 kilos of rice.

Touring the building, I thought about all of the progress that has been made building this new facility and felt proud that AHAN Bangladesh had been part of this tremendous effort. I am also impressed that this small handful of cleric teachers have built this five story building by themselves.

Currently, the clerics have plans to build a second building to be used as an orphanage for boys. Before this project can begin however, we need to make sure that the first building is completely functional and operational.

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Shopping for rice; prices are on the rise all over Bangladesh.

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AHAN supplies delivered at the orphanage.

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The girls sing songs for Emily.

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AHAN Bangladesh Coordinator Maji.

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Barber Rattan and family.


Many thanks to AHAN and to Emily Sensei for visiting the capital city of Dhaka.

Written by
Maji Sarkar
Bangladesh AHAN Coordinator

Emily Sensei’s Visit to the Myanmar AHAN Learning Center

Aug 4-9th, 2010

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Visit to Yadanapon Temple.

With Homma Kancho’s financial support, a facility was found and purchases for the AHAN Learning Center in Yangon in June. The purpose of my visit was to check the progress of repairs to the building and the progress of moving the AHAN Learning Center to its new location. In May, Homma Kancho delivered five new computers to Myanmar donated by the Minoru Yasui Inn of Court in Denver, and we also wanted to see what progress was being made installing the new computers into a new computer-lab. The second reason for my visit was to help purchase a new badly needed generator to supply power for the building and the computer lab.

Upon my arrival, I was more than pleasantly surprised; I was thrilled to see that the new AHAN Learning Center was up and running in its new location! I was very impressed as we toured the new dormitory rooms (one for boys and one for girls) on the first floor, as well as a functioning computer lab, classrooms, meeting room, shrine area and kitchen. The dormitories had been set up for students from small towns outside of Yangon to be housed while they pursued their dreams of higher education and eventually college. Financial means are not criteria to study at the AHAN Learning Center in Myanmar, only aptitude and a positive and motivated attitude!

Teaching at the new AHAN Learning Center are AHAN Myanmar Coordinator and government licensed tour guide, Nilar Than’s entire family. Nilar’s father is currently the editor of a major Myanmar English newspaper and former high school principal. Her mother is a high school English teacher with decades of experience and Nilar’s sibling are all teachers and educational professionals.

The entire family’s dedication and enthusiasm is apparent and goes a long way to insure the success of this newly founded enterprise. I was very proud to represent AHAN in supporting the development of the educational and boarding programs found here at the NEW Myanmar AHAN Learning Center.

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Outside the new Myanmar AHAN Learning Center with Nilar’s family.


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 Talking with students.

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Myanmar AHAN Learning Center new computer lab classroom.

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Studying in the computer lab.

After visiting the AHAN Learning Center, we made a trip to the Yadanapon Buddhist Orphanage to deliver our monthly supply of 500 kilos of rice, school and medical supplies and three refurbished laptop computers.

In September of 2009, we met a boy at the Yadanapon Temple whose worn flip-flop sandals inspired us all.

As a jewelry designer, this summer I designed a necklace charm in the likeness of this sandal to represent AHAN. On this visit I gave two of the silver necklaces to AHAN staff and the priests in charge of the temple seemed pleased with the necklace design.

Plans are in the works to create these AHAN sandal pendants as  a fundraising tool for AHAN projects.

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Buying rice for donation to the Yadanapon Temple Orphanage.

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Everyone is happy with the newly donated lap top computers!


After all missions were accomplished, I was lucky enough to spend a few days with Nilar’s family traveling through beautiful southern Myanmar. We spent time marveling at the beauty of the countryside, thinking up new ideas and projects for the AHAN Learning Center and enjoying time together. Oh, and we met some elephants along the way...

Nippon Kan

Riding elephant! From left; AHAN Myanmar Coordinator Nilar, Emily Sensei

Written by
Emily Busch

*Note from Editor
Emily Busch Sensei has been a graduate gemologist and a custom jewelry designer since 1982. She has run her own successful business for the last 27 years, while managing all of her activities and responsibilities with Nippon Kan and AHAN. www.ebuschingoldandsilver.com

AHAN Nippon Kan General Headquarter Domestic Activity Report

• Japanese Consul General, Kubo Attends 60,000th Meal, 20 Years of Service Celebration

Nippon Kan

The 60,000th  meal is presented by Consul Kubo and Homma Kancho.

Every third Sunday of the month, Homma Kancho and Nippon Kan student volunteers have supplied and served meals for on average, 350 homeless at the Denver Rescue Mission. This past May 16th, Nippon Kan celebrated the passing of a very special milestone; 20 years of consecutive service and 60,000 meals served. To celebrate this landmark occasion, Japanese Consul General Kazuo Kubo at Japanese Consulate to Denver and his wife were among other special guests who gathered at the Denver Rescue Mission for a recognition ceremony.

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Staff and friends celebrate with Homma Kancho.

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From left; Councilwoman Montero, Consul General Kubo, Mrs. Kubo.

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Consul General Kubo stirs the pot in the rescue mission kitchen.

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Preparing for the evening meal after morning practice in the Nippon Kan gardens.

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Regular volunteer Consul Mitsui and Homma Kancho.

Also in attendance were Nippon Kan volunteer staff, Councilwoman Judy Montero, Denver Rescue Mission President Brad Mueli and administrator Greta Walker. Letters of congratulations and proclamations of service recognition were sent by Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and the Denver City Council. The ceremony and meal preparation was covered by major local television networks, Channel 4 and Channel 7.

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 A lot of media coverage at this event!

After the meal service at the Denver Rescue Mission, Homma Kancho, Nippon Kan senior staff and special guests were treated to a special dinner hosted by Sushi Den owner and head chef, Toshi Kizaki. Thank you very much Toshi-san for the special treat!

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Sushi Den owner Mr. Toshi Kizaki (standing) Thank you!

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Letter of congratulations from Mayor Hickenlooper. click to enlarge

AHAN Nippon Kan Homeless Food Service Project Report

May-August 2010

May 16th, 2010 350 meals served
June 20th, 2010 previous Mission schedule precluded our dinner service
July 18th, 2010 270 meals served
Aug 15th, 2010 320 meals served

Total since 1991     60,629 meals served

Minoru Yasui Inn of Court Joins AHAN Humanitarian Efforts in Myanmar

May 3rd, 2010

Nippon Kan

One of the American Inn of Courts, the Denver-based Minoru Yasui Inn of Court is active throughout all of Colorado. On May 3rd, 2010 a ceremony was held at Nippon Kan General Headquarters to accept the donation of five new computers for the Myanmar AHAN Learning Center by the Minoru Yasui Inn of Court Foundation.

The Minoru Yasui Inn of Court is a group of over 127 judges and lawyers in Colorado dedicated to respect, truth, peace, freedom and justice. For more information on the Minoru Yasui Inn of Court, link here.

The donation ceremony was held at Nippon Kan General Headquarters Hombu dojo at Nippon Kan’s Hakama Kai meeting of all senior hakama students. In attendance from the Minoru Yasui Inn of Court was long time AHAN supporter Judge Kerry Hada, current President Judge Loretta Huffine, Vice President Rick Gleason and administrator Tammy Bailey.

At the time of this donation ceremony, Homma Kancho planned to personally deliver the computers to Myanmar during his trip to Myanmar scheduled for the end of May 2010.

In 1996, Homma Kancho was the recipient of the Minoru Yasui Inn of Court award for community contribution.

• Over 1000 Hours Logged in Attendance of Nippon Kan Shochyu Geiko Practice Marathon

Aug 2nd-30th, 2010

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Shochyu Geiko fundraising marathon practice donation pot.

In August, 2010, Homma Kancho led a twenty four day practice marathon at Nippon Kan Headquarters Hombu dojo. In the summertime, some dojos hold week-long camps, but this challenge was held for twenty four days! One class per day was instructed by Homma Kancho as part of this marathon challenge and there were no additional fees charges to students outside of regular monthly membership dues. A large water pot used in many parts of Southeast Asia was used to collect contributions from students based on what was comfortable for them to contribute. Some students donated their daily coffee money or sacrificed their beer money to support the new Myanamar AHAN Learning Center, while other students made much more substantial contributions.

Homma Kancho purposely did not schedule any overseas trips for August so that he could instruct this special marathon practice. He noted that this was a marathon challenge for him too as he taught classes every day for 24 days. He also instructed special classes daily for the twelve new and alumni uchideshi that traveled from all over the world to Nippon Kan Headquarters to attend the challenge.

The close of the marathon challenge was celebrated with “the Great Rocky Mountain Road Trip” to the historical town of Salida, about three hours west of Denver in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

Yama Dojo, instructed by Rick Thompson Sensei, hosted the weekend practice in Salida. The caravan of students from Denver arrived early Saturday afternoon and a three hour practice was held at Yama Dojo instructed by Homma Kancho. After practice everyone headed to the local hot springs for a bit of much appreciated R & R.

Some of the students from Denver camped, some stayed at a local hotel and some stayed at the dojo. On Sunday, practice was held outside in a beautiful high mountain meadow where Homma Kancho led weapons practice followed by a closing meditation. It was a perfect ending to an incredible month- long marathon.

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Motorcycles in the lead as the caravan readies to go!

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Yama dojo practice

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Yama dojo students and staff were wonderful hosts! Great refreshments!

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Students camping in the beauty of the Rocky Mountains.

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Harley Samurai.

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Uchideshi and Homma Kancho hunting mushrooms.


This practice marathon was held as a fundraiser for the AHAN Learning Center in Myanmar and raised $4,500.00. Homma Kancho stressed, “In hard economic times it is better to organize an event at home in our dojo so that everyone can participate without financial strain. This way everyone can contributing what they are able. I thank all students for their support and participation, making this  event a tremendous success”.

Written by
Emily Busch

Report on the Shochyu Geiko Marathon by Alumni Uchideshi Banu Alisverisci

To be at Nippon Kan as an uchideshi again after 2 years made me so happy. With the invitation of Homma Sensei to come to Nippon Kan and practice was another important step for the development my Aikido. 

This time was a little different. We were 10 uchideshi staying at Dojo. I heard from some others before that everything is different when there is more than one uchideshi. We together realized how important is communicating, sharing, helping each other and the most important was to liaise. And we arranged special 60th birthday ceremony (kanreki celebrate) for Homma Sensei, this was awesome experience.

At my first years in Aikido my Sensei once told me that "we are a big family". At that time I couldn't understand what he was implying. But with the passing time and more sharing I understood what he meant.  Thanks to Nippon Kan I now have ten brothers and a sister (Rose was not staying at the Dojo). Now I have brothers and sister walking the same path with me. I'm very sure that one day I will meet again with them, the ones who share the same feelings with me.

The things we shared were not only among the uchideshi. I sincerely appreciate our trainers and friends who spend their time cooking and bringing their marvelous meals to Dojo for us. I will never forget different and wonderful foods I have tasted..

The Homeless Dinner, an event of help and support, which was organized with the pioneership of Homma Sensei was my second experience. To prepare and serve to food to the ones who need them was a different kind of happiness. In fact if you look from a different perspective Aikido is like a meal and we are the people who needed. The Marathon meal that Homma Sensei organized was unbelievable. In the seminars in Turkey Homma Sensei always says " the real meal is your Sensei's meal, today you just tasted from a different cousin.". I believe that to understand and live Aikido better we need to taste different flavours.

I thank Homma Sensei for his invitation for Marathon and his special birthday ceremony that I appreciated very much. And my Sensei Ali Uludag who always supports me in my long path, both as a Sensei and a father.     

Banu Alisverisci


Turkiye Aikikai Aikido
Torii Dojo

• Denver City Council Recognizes Homma Kancho and Nippon Kan

May 12, 2010

Nippon Kan

Receiving proclamation in Denver City Council Chambers,
Homma Kancho and Vice President Emily Busch.

Homma Kancho and Nippon Kan were recognized in chambers at the Denver City Council monthly assembly at the Denver City and County Building on May 12, 2010. Councilwoman Judy Montero read the proclamation recognizing Homma Kancho and Nippon Kan’s 20 years of service and 60,000 meals served at the Denver Rescue Mission to the televised assembly. In attendance to accept the proclamation were Homma Kancho, Nippon Kan President Michael Mirabella, Vice President Emily Busch, Treasurer David Geras and Consul Mitsui from the Japanese Consulate in Denver.

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After proclamation reading. From left, Emily Busch, Consul Mitsui, Michael Mirabella, Councilwoman Montero, Homma Kancho.

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Denver City Council Proclamation. click to enlarge.

This was the third proclamation received by Homma Kancho and Nippon Kan from the Denver City Council. City Councilwoman Judy Montero introduced this resolution and we are honored by her recognition and support.

Today was also Homma Kancho’s birthday, and this was a great way to celebrate!

Written by
Michael Mirabella

• Nippon Kan General Headquarters and Homma Kancho highlighted in the Denver Post Newspaper

May 15th, 2010

Colorado’s largest daily newspaper, the Denver Post, did a feature article on Nippon Kan and Homma Kancho, published May 15th, 2010. The interview was conducted by Tina Griego, a popular Denver Post reporter and editorial contributor. Link here to read the article. http://www.denverpost.com/search/ci_15090772 .

• State of Colorado Governors Proclamation; Nippon Kan Day

May 16th, 2010

Nippon Kan’s long-time dedication to community service in Denver was recognized by Colorado Governor, Bill Ritter with a proclamation declaring May 16th, 2010 “Nippon Kan Day”.

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Governor’s proclamation(click to enlarge)

• 19th Annual Spring Volunteer Project

June 5th, 2010

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The painting group.

Nippon Kan students gathered in the early morning hours at Bear Creek Park in south Denver on June 5th, 2010.  About 70 students, family and friends set about spreading crusher fine on paths, clearing river trails and painting railings along the Bear Creek bike path and park. This project was organized in conjunction with the Denver Parks and Recreation Department as part of National Trails Day.

The volunteer student leader this year was Madalyn Shalkey who did a great job keeping all of the student teams coordinated and supplied while they worked on the miles of trail throughout the park.

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Trail grooming group.

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Tree trimming group


Homma Kancho commented, “Often, martial artists center their training and their practice only on themselves. I think that true practice, and true training of the self happens when you take your training out into the world, out into the community; out into reality. Use your body and your mind and your heart in your practice”.

It was a good day at Bear Creek Park, and as usual, the Nippon Kan “Army” got the job done (and more) in record time!

Written by
Madalyn Shalkey
Spring Volunteer Project Leader

AHAN Nippon Kan Overseas Seminar Report

• Shin Shin Aiki Shuren Kai, Saito Jukucho Visits Aikidoka in Myanmar

May 26-June 5, 2010

Nippon Kan

Saito Jukucho at Sein Sensei’s dojo.

Homma Kancho was accompanied by Shin Shin Aiki Shuren Kai no Saito Jukucho on his trip to Myanmar in May. Saito Jukucho accompanied Homma Kancho as an observer of AHAN international humanitarian projects in Myanmar.

Saito Jukucho also met with Umya Sein Sensei, Chief Instructor of the Myanmar Aikikai New Organization in Yangon. www.myanmaraikikai-neworganization.com. This meeting was actually a reunion for Saito Jukucho and Sein Sensei, who was the first uchideshi from Myanmar to train in the original Iwama Dojo under the late Morihiro Saito Shihan (Hitohiro Jukucho’s father). Saito Jukucho joined practice at Sein Sensei’s dojos in both Yangon and Mandalay. After practice, Homma Kancho, Saito Jukucho and Sein Sensei toured the historical and beautiful areas of Myanmar on a five day tour.

One morning of the tour, at the entrance of a 700 year old cave temple, under the shade of a 500 year old Bodaiju tree, Saito Jukucho instructed Sein Sensei in bokken technique. Sein Sensei listened carefully to Saito Jukucho’s instruction and both instructors practiced with serious intent. It was a memorable moment in such a beautiful and historical setting.

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At Sein Sensei’s home. Center: Saito Jukucho. Left: Sein Sensei, Right: Homma Kancho

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 Under the bodaiju tree, Saito Jukucho and Sein Sensei.

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At Sein Sensei’s dojo in Yangon.

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With Sein Sensei’s Mandalay dojo students.


 The purpose of this visit for Saito Jukucho was to do research for project development abroad for his own non-profit organization in Japan. A mission well realized on this memorable visit to Myanmar.

• Homma Kancho’s Overseas Seminar Instruction Report

Islamic Aikido Federation Seminar Casablanca, Morocco

June 24-27, 2010

Nippon Kan

Country flags of attending students decorate the seminar.

About 1000 aikidoka attended this seminar sponsored by the Royal Maroc Aikido Federation under Chief Instructor Alaoui M’Barek Sensei. This Islamic Aikido Federation seminar was the second seminar this year I have instructed in Casa Blanca. The seminar was held at the Mohammed V Sports Arena and attended by Islamic students from all parts of Morocco, the neighboring Islamic countries of Iraq, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Nigeria, Egypt, Turkey, Yemen, Syria, and Spain, France and the USA.

See video of this Islamic Aikido Federation Seminar in Casa Blanca, June 2010.

In the world today, there are many Islamic aikidoka practicing in many countries. The technical level of  students at the seminars I have attended in this region is quite sophisticated and all students are in good physical condition. Suwarewaza (kneeling techniques) are well practiced in this region and ukemi is also practiced at a very high level.

One thing that I have noticed in my visits to this region is that information from Japan about Aikido is not quite as accurate as it should be. Most information about Aikido, especially from Japan is first translated from Japanese to English or French and then translated again into Arabic: resulting in a bit of factual coherency being lost in the translations. When I have listened to student and instructor discussions about Aikido or history in Japan, there have been at times gaps or in congruencies in the information they have accepted as fact. I have heard many discussions about Aikido that melded fiction with non-fiction, true biographical information with author embellished representation, especially about Japanese samurai and martial arts.

Today in Japan, there are many Aikidoka from this region that speak very good Japanese. I would encourage these students to work on creating more direct translations of available materials on Japanese history, samurai and the martial arts in Japan.

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Alaoui Sensei and Homma Kancho.

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Prayer is a most important priority.

In attendance at this seminar were Turkey AHAN Coordinator and Aikikai nidan, Megumi Machi, and Nippon Kan graduate uchideshi from Izmir, Turkey, Cihan Karaogluol. Megumi stayed at Alaoui Sensei’s home during the seminar and Cihan served as my attendant. Also in attendance were Turkey Aikikai’s Ali Uludag Sensei and his students.

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Traditional Moroccan hospitality.

The hospitality of our Moroccan hosts was spectacular, affording our entourage with kind attention and provided lavish Moroccan feasts. Unfortunately on the morning of the second day of the seminar I awoke with a high fever. While I was able to continue teaching the morning and afternoon classes, I was disappointed that I was too ill to attend the well planned events scheduled for the evening.

Luckily with good care through the night I recovered quickly and was up and around by the following day. I heard that there had been much discussion at the previous evening’s gatherings about Aikido politics. I actually do not like to be involved in political discussions about Aikido, so maybe it was a blessing that I was unable to attend.

It was a bit overwhelming for me to teach 1000 Aikidoka at one time. It was a humbling experience and a good opportunity for learning. I sincerely thank all of the people of Morocco, especially Alaoui M’Barek Sensei for allowing me this opportunity.

Nippon Kan

Alaoui Sensei works his skillful massage techniques on Homma Kancho.

Written by
Gaku Homma
Nippon Kan Kancho

United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi Aikido

June 22-23rd, 2010

Nippon Kan

Before attending the seminar in Morocco, I made a quick stop in Abu Dhabi, UAE. While in Abu Dhabi I was able to practice with UAE Judo Wrestling Federation-Abu Dhabi Aikido and Jihad Francis Sensei. Aikidoka from Dubai also traveled to Abu Dhabi for an enjoyable practice together.

I was surprised however to see that one of the students who had practiced with Abu Dhabi Aikido last fall, had apparently struck out on his own. Apparently he had been awarded the rank of Aikikai shodan by a South East Asian instructor, and while I was teaching practice, he appeared in the corner of the sports center and began teaching a class of his own! Since Abu Dhabi Aikido is not an official member of Aikikai, I am still a little confused as to how he obtained the rank of Aikikai shodan in the first place.

The more I travel in the world, the more I meet new self-proclaimed “instructors” with questionable certification. Anyone can teach Aikido, especially since there seems to be an increasing ability for anyone to “buy” a certificate. I have seen this growing phenomenon with my own eyes, and it is a concern for me. Personality, experience and technical proficiency do not seem to be qualities that qualify one for promotion and certification these days and I see this as a growing problem. In my opinion, instructors that “buy” their certification need to have their “license to teach” revoked!

Nippon Kan

Practice with Abu Dhabi Aikidoka.

On this visit to Abu Dhabi, I was able to visit with Consul Haruo Yamagami from the Japanese Consulate in the UAE. Consul Yamagami graciously opened his home where I stayed, and even missed a day of work to escort me around the city of Abu Dhabi.
Thank you very much for your gracious hospitality.

Written by
Gaku Homma
Nippon Kan Kancho

Ankara, Turkey Torii Dojo Seminar

June 17-21, 2010

Nippon Kan

From left: Banu Sensei, Homma Kancho, Elsin Sensei, Baris Sensei.

Torii Dojo http://www.herkesicinaikido.com/ is located in downtown Ankara, the capital city of Turkey. It had been a while since I have been to Torii dojo in Ankara and it was good to see Banu Sensei, a unique woman instructor in Turkey. Banu has been to Nippon Kan General Headquarters Hombu dojo in Denver twice in the last few years, but it was good to see her in her own dojo environment.

Teaching with a woman’s touch, Banu also coordinates classes and dojo projects with partners Baris Sensei who works as a planner and Ersin Sensei, an Ankara banker. The combination of all the unique talents of these three instructors has resulted in Torii dojo growing in size and stability. Today Torii dojo has a student base of over 120 students.

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Torii dojo students. 

Practice was divided into two classes; one general class for all students and one class for yudansha.

I was impressed with the Torii dojo students; especially their buki waza was very strong. It was very apparent that Torii dojo practices bokken and jo technique regularly; their students know it well!

After the seminar in Ankara, I drove back to Istanbul with Nippon Kan graduate uchideshi Cihan from Izmir. The scenery was beautiful, and much more enjoyable than what you can see from a plane!

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Uludag Sensei’s new dojo in Istanbul.

In Istanbul, we held practice in Ali Uludag Sensei’s new dojo. Many thanks to AHAN Turkey Coordinator Megumi Machi and her husband Behiji for all of their preparations and work behind the scenes.

• Guatemala Aikido Seminar-Scott Olson Sensei Visits

Aug 6-10, 2010

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Olson Sensei and uchideshi Michele visit to the day care center.

An Aikido seminar practice was held in Guatemala City, Guatemala for Aikidoka led by Pablo Benafe Sensei. The practice was instructed by Nippon Kan General Headquarters, Central and South America Division Coordinator, Scott Olson Sensei, and assisted by Nippon Kan General Headquarters senior uchideshi, Michele Zanrei.

Nippon Kan

Practice in Guatemala.

It is Nippon Kan policy and philosophy not to have branch dojos; Nippon Kan encourages all dojos and organizations to develop and maintain their own independence. If staff is sent from Nippon Kan Headquarters to an out-of-country dojo, the purpose is to support a dojo activity or AHAN project there. On this visit, a portion of seminar proceeds were donated to the Guardaria Infantile Virgen del Camino day care center for single mothers.

Written by
Emily Busch
AHAN International Program Director

• Nippon Kan AHAN International Seminar Policy

At Nippon Kan AHAN Headquarters we receive many requests from dojos and other organizations all over the world to become part of the AHAN network. It has become necessary to outline guidelines for association to ensure that all organizations maintain the same philosophy and purpose of activity as Nippon Kan AHAN Headquarters. Official AHAN status is granted to organizations with verifiable projects and a personal inspection of local operations.

Request for AHAN support:
Dojo organizations requesting AHAN OFFICIAL SUPPORT for a FUNDRAISING SEMINAR must meet the following criteria and provide the following information:

  • Purpose of fundraising Seminar, intended recipient contact information. 
  • Realistic estimates on pre-registered attendance
  • List of sponsors donating advertising, space "rentals, t-shirt printing (for example).
  • At least 50% of funds raised must be given directly to the fundraising cause with an official receipt from the receiving organization.
  • Fundraising seminar financial report of income and expenses must be sent to Nippon Kan Headquarters.
  • Seminar staff organizer expenses may NOT be compensated by fundraising seminar proceeds.*

*IF a seminar is an AHAN Official Fundraising Seminar, minor seminar expenses such as space rentals, water, signs, registration supplies etc. MAY be taken from seminar proceeds. Welcome parties, dinners or other entertainment expenses MAY NOT be taken from seminar proceeds, and violations will result in the loss of an organizations AHAN status.

AHAN status is usually given for a period of one to two years and good standing certification must be maintained.

Nippon Kan AHAN General Headquarters does not give cash donations to any organization nor does it solicit donations outside of the Aikido community. If someone ever solicits money in the name of AHAN please report immediately to info@nippon-kan.org.

Emily Busch
AHAN International Project Director

AHAN Nippon Kan Branch Activity Report

• Mindanao AHAN Activity Report

July 25th, 2010

Mindanao AHAN Learning Center Construction Begins

Nippon Kan

New Mindanao AHAN Learning Center construction site.

Plans have been in the works for awhile to build a new AHAN Learning Center in Mindanao, and this July, the project began in earnest. This construction has been organized into nine stages, and my students are helping to build the new AHAN Learning Center from the ground up. This fall, Homma Kancho is planning to visit the site in person to check the progress of the construction. It is hoped that the building might be finished sometime early next year. This project is being supported by Homma Kancho personally and AHAN Nippon Kan Headquarters in Denver.

Food Support for the Bajai People of Mindanao

Nippon Kan

Bajai children delight in treats given them.

For a combination of reasons, social, economical and political, the Bajai as a people of Mindanao, struggle desperately to survive. It is hardest for the poorest of people to be caught up in the middle of a political, social and economic crisis, a crisis that robs a people of the simplest human dignity and respect.  

Mindanao AHAN provides hot meals for the Bajai people on a regular basis and what we have found that good food is not the only benefit of this service. By providing for the Bajai people, we are also teaching our young people in Mindanao AHAN to open their minds and their hearts to the plights of others.

Nippon Kan

Young volunteer staff.

Nippon Kan

Cooking the meal for the food service.

Nippon Kan

People line up, waiting for food.

A Peaceful Martial Art for Young People

Nippon Kan

Ava Sensei with new students.

The Pilipino people are a happy people by nature, happy and filled with grace and an appreciation for nature. The big open moves of Aikido I think reinforce well what is in our genes. There are many young people at my dojo. The future of the Philippines lies in the power of these youths, both as a nation and as a people. Day by day, we seek to nurture that nature through our practice of Aikido on and off the mat.

Nippon Kan

Ava teaching beginning students.

Nippon Kan

Young people practicing seriously.

Written by
Ava Yancha
Mindanao AHAN Coordinator

• Sudan AHAN Activity Report

August 22, 2010

Nippon Kan

Nepal Army Ranger Forces have been part of UNAMID efforts in Sudan. This report was submitted by Sgt. Dan Gurung who has been stationed in Sudan for the better part of a year. UNAMID is made up of soldiers from all over the world, and recently Sgt. Gurung received permission from his superiors to open Aikido practice for all soldiers where he has been stationed. Sgt. Gurung has been very active promoting Aikido in the armed forces in Sudan and has organized and executed many Aikido demonstrations for military parades and ceremonial assemblies for military officials.

Nippon Kan

Nepalese UNAMID soldiers. Aikido is part of their regulation training.

Nippon Kan

Weapon practice with live M16 rifles.

Nippon Kan

UNAMID Commanders watch Aikido demonstration.

Sgt Gurung is scheduled to return to Nepal soon, where he will continue his Aikido training with the Nippon Kan Nepal Army Ranger Aikido program.

• Bangladesh AHAN Activity Report

July 11, 2010

Materials Delivery Report from Bangladesh

AHAN Bangladesh Coordinator, Maji Sarkar sent a delivery report in July of materials supplied by AHAN for the final stages of construction of the Madrasa Orphanage for girls in Dhaka.

Nippon Kan

Delivered construction supplies from AHAN.

Aikido Nippon Kan General Headquarter News

• Minoru Yasui Inn of Court 5th Annual Garden Party at Nippon Kan

June 10th, 2010

Nippon Kan

Over 125 Denver judges, lawyers and other members of the legal community in Denver gathered in the Nippon Kan gardens for this annual event. For the last five years, Judge Kerry Hada, a long time supporter and friend of AHAN has hosted this prestigious event.

Every year, Homma Kancho, who is also head chef at Nippon Kan’s Domo Restaurant, cooks and supervises a gourmet Japanese buffet for this group of distinguished local leaders. This year, it was a close call however as Homma Kancho’s return from Bangladesh was delayed and he arrived back in Denver less than twenty four hours before the event was to begin! Homma Kancho and his Domo staff cooked throughout the night and the evening buffet of  beautifully prepared and arranged Japanese foods was served on time and in elegant style!

Nippon Kan

Homma Kancho reports on Minoru Yasui Inn of Court donated computer delivery in Yangon.

Homma Kancho reported to the gathering with a gallery of photos about the delivery of the five computers donated to the AHAN Learning Center in Yangon by Judge Hada and the Minoru Yasui Inn of Court in May. This event was highlighted in an article published in the July issue of ASIA Avenue Magazine. 

Link here for more information on the Minoru Yasui Inn of Court computer donation.

Link here for more information on the delivery of the Minoru Yasui Inn of Court donated computers to Myanmar.

Written by
Nippon Kan Treasurer
David Geras

• Tokyo Pop “Best Otaku in the USA”- Filming at Nippon Kan Headquarters

July 11th, 2010

Nippon Kan

Tokyo Pop bus.

Japanese anime, cosplay (costume play) and otaku have all become quite popular in the United States and recently the Nippon Kan office was contacted by “Tokyo Pop” staff seeking to film at Nippon Kan for an upcoming special on the “Best Otaku in the USA”. Some of the younger Nippon Kan staff thought this was very cool and most of the senior staff had no idea what this meant. Obviously we had a generation gap in our Nippon Kan office…

I was one of the ones that was not sure what this was all about, but the Tokyo Pop filming crew arrived that Sunday ready for filming. They interviewed me on camera, filmed Aikido practice and lunch served at Domo before the filming day was done. Just as quickly as they arrived, the crew drove away in a huge anime-character painted bus…like rock stars heading for the open road.

One of our younger members excitedly reminded me that “Tokyo Pop” was very big in Hollywood and had fans all over the world. This Tokyo Pop, otaku filming and production crew, I was told, was one of the largest and most popular in the USA.

I am still not quite sure why they chose me and Nippon Kan to be included in their “Best Otaku in the USA” documentary. To find out more about what otaku is, maybe try Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otaku

An interesting day, but definitely not my world…

Written by
Gaku Homma
Nippon Kan Kancho

• A Show of Support from Nippon Kan for the Ito Cup Kendo Tournament in Denver

July 15, 2010

Nippon Kan

Even with a busy schedule working at the Japanese Consulate in Denver, Kosei Ishikawa Sensei still finds the time to teach traditional Japanese Kendo in Denver. Ishikawa Sensei and Denver Ito dojo, www.denverkendo.com sponsors the Ito Cup tournament with competitors from Japan, all parts of the United States and Canada.

In a spirit of kinship in the martial arts, and in support and respect for Ishikawa Sensei’s efforts to teach traditional Japanese Kendo in the United States, Homma Kancho opened the Nippon Kan dojo for a reception for all Ito Cup tournament competitors and staff. Close to 100 people gathered at Nippon Kan for a dinner party held in the dojo. I could appreciate the high level of accomplishment and great attitude in both the instructors and students who attended the event. I encourage anyone interested in this traditional Japanese martial art to contact Ito Dojo.

Written by
Lara Royer
Nippon Kan Staff

• New Patio Addition Finished

May 23rd, 2010

Nippon Kan

New addition.

For the last few years, a traditional Mongolian ger (Mongolian nomadic house) has been on display in the Nippon Kan gardens. This year Homma Kancho decided to change the exhibit, turning the space into a traditional Japanese styled garden gazebo. The ger was first erected in 2004, for a visit to Nippon Kan by the President of Mongolia. The President and his delegation had come to visit Denver and stopped by Nippon Kan for a dinner reception held in his honor. Nippon Kan was chosen for the site of this dinner because of Nippon Kan’s AHAN humanitarian service projects in Mongolia and our service to the Mongolian community in Denver.

After so many years on display outside, having surviving harsh Colorado winters and other elements of nature, the ger and its authentic traditional décor were packed for preservation and storage.

The new gazebo was built in preparation for the upcoming August Shochyu Geiko practice marathon and the return of alumni uchideshi from all over the world.

Written by
Senior Nippon Kan Uchideshi

• Editor’s Corner

Working on His Tan…

Nippon Kan

Homma Kancho  visits Turkish ruins.

After Homma Kancho finished a hectic teaching tour of the Middle East region, he finally took a few days for himself and spent a little “R & R” time in Izmir, Turkey on the Aegean sea.

He said upon his return, “Once in a while it is nice to travel without such a hectic teaching and project schedule to attend to…”.

New T-Shirt Designs

This summer Nippon Kan Headquarters produced two fundraising t-shirts. Sorry, both commemorative limited edition t-shirts are all sold out!

Nippon Kan

T-shirt artwork
  60, 000 meal 20 year service commemorative

Nippon Kan

 T-shirt artwork   
Shochyu Geiko marathon
fundraising marathon


• Sempai Return to the Dojo

Nippon Kan

From left: Olive sensei, Homma Kancho, Landry Sensei.

About seven years ago, Jeremy Olive Sensei served as Technical  Instructor for Nippon Kan along with Rudy Landry Sensei. Jeremy took a leave of absence to attend to his training at the Denver Police Academy, start a family and then to embark on a new career as a Denver Policeman. Currently Olive Sensei’s daughter attends Youth Program classes at Nippon Kan, so we see Jeremy regularly on his days off at the dojo. Homma Kancho said, “Now with all of the life experiences that Jeremy has had, he is ready to continue his practice of Aikido with a fresh eye”. Welcome back!

• Uchideshi News

Nippon Kan Uchideshi Practice at Enshin Karate

August 20th, 2010

Nippon Kan

Ninomiya Kancho teaching Nippon Kan uchideshi.

Nippon Kan uchideshi had a special challenge one day in August as they traveled to Enshin Karate www.enshin.kan.com. (home of the Sabaki Challenge full-contact international karate tournament) Headquarters in Denver for a special practice. Kancho Joko Ninomiya and his son Koichi Ninomiya Sensei personally instructed our Nippon Kan uchideshi in the art of Enshin-style Karate. All of our uchideshi were honored that Ninomiya Kancho and his son would take the time to teach them personally, and learned valuable lessons in the vulnerabilities of Aikido against skillful punches and kicks. This was a good lesson learned, even for our advanced uchideshi.

Many thanks to Ninomiya Kancho for welcoming our visiting alumni uchideshi at your dojo for this special training.

Nippon Kan

Hard practice at the Enshin Karate Dojo

Nippon Kan

Lower row, From second left: Koichi Ninomiya Sensei,
Ninomiya Kancho, Homma Kancho and uchideshi

Written by
Gaku Homma Kancho

Nippon Kan Uchideshi Practice

August, 2010

Nippon Kan

Posing after practice; Nippon Kan uchideshi.

This summer Nippon Kan Hombu dojo was home for a total of twelve alumni and new uchideshi, all who had traveled from other states in the USA, and from the countries of Bolivia, Turkey, Mexico and Japan to attend  the Nippon Kan August Shochyu Geiko Practice Marathon. These uchideshi practiced six hours a day for the entire twenty four days of the marathon. Homma Kancho cautioned, “Aikido practice is not flower arranging. In the old days, people in general were stronger with all of the physical labor they had to endure to survive. Today, things have changed and everyday life is much easier now. Today, physical training and determination are very important in maintaining energy and power  in our bodies”.

The following video depicts Homma Kancho’s methods for uchideshi strength training. Link here to watch Nippon Kan uchideshi strength training practice.