January-June 2011 Activity Report
February 29-March 7th, 2011
Homma Kancho, Nippon Kan Instructor Rick Thompson, and graduate Nippon Kan uchideshi, Hiroki Yagi traveled to Nepal last February to join the Nepal Army Rangers for Aikido training. In the newly completed AHAN Nepal dojo, 80 future Aikido instructor candidate cadets from six battalions joined in this week long, six-hour-a-day training intensive. Over 1000 other Nepal Army Ranger infantry also practiced daily under Nippon Kan instruction. During practice, General Ura Kouraltupu and Vice General Sarh Polora stopped by to observe practice and watch aikido demonstrations performed by the Rangers. The Nepal Army Rangers practice a special Nippon Kan Aikido application which includes attacks and defenses against techniques from other martial arts and disciplines and a variety of weapons. Homma Kancho and AHAN allocated funding for further development of the new AHAN Nepal dojo for Ranger training on this trip.
General Ura Kouraltupu talking with Homma Kancho Behind; Vice General Sarh Polora
Aikido instructor cadets in front of the new Army Ranger dojo
After riot control training with Ranger cadets
Enjoying a snack after a hard practice
Homma Kancho sits down to a meal with Ranger staff
In front of the Himalaya mountains, from left: Instructor Bista, Instructor Gurung, Thompson Sensei, Homma Kancho, Assistant Instructor Yagi
Homma Kancho and his assistants also traveled to the Ranger mountain training base in Nagarkot to visit Rangers involved in a three day jungle survival training course. While in Nagarkot, AHAN staff and soldiers plant a tree to memorialize soldiers lost in battle between Nepal government forces and anti-government insurgents five years ago. Today this peaceful and beautiful area has been opened to visitors under the direction of Nepal Army Ranger Colonel Tapa.
Active peace keeping patrol in Nagarkot
Two Aikido Instructor cadets finish their survival training and head for home!
Homma Kancho joined the group of well wishers congratulating two Ranger cadets and future Aikido instructors on completing their three day survival course.
Nippon Kan Nepal Army Ranger Chief Instructor
March 7th-11th, 2011
The first Aikido seminar held to commemorate the opening of the AHAN Mindanao Learning Center in Illigan, Mindanao, was held over three days in March and was attended by over 150 students. The mood was uplifted and joyous, as students celebrated this historic event. Many thanks and accolades to AHAN Mindanao Coordinator and Nippon Kan Aikido Instructor Ava Yancha whose tireless efforts made this dream become a reality.
Instructor Ava Yancha with Takahiko Endo as uke
with Illigan Police dept trainee
practice with Illigan police
Training with Illigan Prison guards
While in Illigan, Homma Kancho was also invited to teach the prison guards at the Illigan Prison and was accompanied by Nippon Kan graduate uchideshi Hiroki Yagi and Takahiko Endo to work with prison guards on Aikido approaches to control situations.
March 12th, 2011
After leaving Illigan City in Mindanao, Homma Kancho and his assistants made a stop in the capital city of Manila to conduct a one day Aikido seminar there. The classes were held at Fudoshin dojo located in a very exclusive business district of Manila. The property sandwiched between high-rise buildings also included a much coveted large parking lot which can be a rarity in the bustling city of Manila. The property we were to learn was inherited from past generations of the current dojo’s owner’s family. The seminar was also attended by five instructors and students from other dojos in the Manila area.
Written by Takahiko Endo, Tokyo, Japan
Nippon Kan Graduate Uchideshi
April 10-13th, 2011
I have had the opportunity to visit Ireland to teach AHAN Support seminars on two occasions in the past, but it has been four years since I last visited Ireland. One reason I have not visited Ireland in recent years is that prior AHAN host, Simone Chierchini Sensei moved back to Italy.
Nippon Kan graduate uchideshi Mariusz Ferenc, after graduating from Nippon Kan General Headquarters Uchideshi Program and completing assistant instructor training in Nepal and the Philippines, moved back to Ireland, where he has continued his Aikido practice in Dublin.
with Kathmines Dojo students
with Heron Dojo students
with Dockland Dojo students
Mariusz and Aikidoka in Dublin arranged seminars in three different dojos. It was a very interesting visit, and students and instructors from all of the dojos moved beyond any Aikido political boundaries to come together for these fundraising seminar events for AHAN projects worldwide. Special thanks to Public Aikido Service Club Principal Instructors Lorcan Gógan, Jean Pasley, Paul Bregazzi and Heron Dojo Instructor Fiona Kelty.
I was very touched by the concern and sympathy offered to me for the earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan by students and instructors in Ireland. Thank you very much to all for your concern, generosity and hospitality!
Nippon Kan Kancho
April 14th-18th, 2011
Homma Kancho teaching in Parma
This seminar was the second seminar instructed by Homma Kancho in Parma, Italy. The seminar held in April was organized by Aikido Inseme Dojo instructed by Michele Nehime Sensei and helped to raise funds for local family support of individuals with disabilities. Over 150 students and instructors from different dojos and organizations in Italy attended this weekend seminar.
Center: Homma Kancho, right: Michele Nehime Sensei and associated instructors
A founder of Aikido in Italy, Inceme Dojo Instructor, Dr. Mehine Sensei and his organization do not belong to Aikikai yet Aikido Inceme Dojo is one of the largest independent Aikido organizations in Italy. In this part of Italy, most Aikido dojos prohibit their students from practicing with students from other organizations, but Dr. Mehine Sensei holds a different philosophy. Aikido Inceme welcomes students and instructors from other organizations and lives under a philosophy of open exchange through Aikido, and Aikido Inceme dojo is frequented by a growing number of students.
Proceeds from this seminar were donated to an organization in Parma that assists the disabled with family support.
Organizers for disabled family support organization attend seminar closing
Professor Robert Antoniete of Parma, recently translated and assisted in the publishing of Homma Kancho’s book, “Aikido for Life” into Italian, and the new translation made its debut at this seminar event. Currently “Aikido for Life” has been translated into seven different languages.
For this seminar, Homma Kancho was accompanied by three former Nippon Kan graduate uchideshi; Cihan Karaogluol traveled from Turkey, Mariusz Ferenc traveled from Poland, and Michele Zanrei served as our host from Italy. We all stayed comfortably in Michele’s home near Parma, and I appreciate being able to have this opportunity to meet and train with so many new Italian friends and Aikidoka.
Since this seminar took place not long after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami disaster, Homma Kancho spoke during the seminar about email solicitations that had been surfacing all over Europe; emails from organizations asking for donations to repair damage to the Aiki Shrine and parts of the original Iwama dojo associated with the Founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba in Iwama, Japan.
Homma Kancho commented on these email solicitations with the following story:
“One snowy day, a man lost in the mountains discovered a small temple. He approached the temple with relief and made the acquaintance of the attending priest. The priest began to prepare the man a meal however with all of the snow there was not enough wood to kindle a fire. There was not enough wood to even try to keep the man warm. The priest went into the temple sanctuary and brought back a wooden statue of the Buddha. He took the statue to the fireplace and proceeded to chop the statue into kindling to make a fire. The lost man was shocked and protested that the statue of the Buddha was more important than to make him warm and to feed. The priest replied calmly, “I made this statue of the Buddha out of wood, and when the snows melt I can make a new one again. However, I cannot save you later from being hungry and freezing…
The moral of the story as it applies to this situation is that organizations that are collecting money to repair images of the Founder or damage to the Aiki Shrine Torii Gate have a misplaced priority. The first priority should be to care for the instructors and students of Aikikai in Iwama. Their welfare is most critical and the welfare of all of those living in Iwama, not the objects around them.
I, myself have seen at least three email solicitations from organizations that were attempting to collect money to repair damage to the Aiki Shrine in Iwama. The most important consideration so early after the disaster is the welfare of the people living there.
I encourage everyone not to support these fund raising activities. It is better for you to donate to the Red Cross or another highly reputable organization in your own country for direct distribution in Japan. If you do donate to organizations who say they are depositing funds to Aikikai, make sure they are reputable and the funds are being received properly.”
Homma Kancho’s sincere warnings were received with applause by students and instructors in Parma.
Written by Cihan Karaogluol –Turkey
Nippon Kan Graduate Uchideshi
April 22nd to 25th, 2011
Over Easter weekend I traveled at Mariusz Ferenc’s invitation to visit his hometown of Ostororeka, Poland, about 75 miles northwest of Warsaw. Ostororeka is a garden city with a rich Catholic background, so Easter weekend was the perfect time for a visit. I learned of a tradition in Ostororeka where the women bring eggs in decorative bags to their neighborhood churches, one day before Easter, to be sprinkled with holy water and blessed. Then the following day, the eggs are eaten at the family Easter meal.
April is the best time for flowers in Ostoreka!
Popular Polish Easter dinner
Mariusz is planning to return to his hometown from Ireland and begin a larger production of the biomass plant Sida Hermaphrodita with his brother.
Work hard Mariusz, we support you!
All in all, the visit to Mariusz’s home town was a good experience, especially the Easter dinner prepared by Mariusz’s family. Thank you very much for your hospitality!
Nippon Kan Kancho
March 7th to 12th, 2011
Illigan City Mayor Lawrence Lluch Cruz at the ribbon cutting ceremony with Homma Kancho
Inside the new AHAN Mindanao Learning Center dojo
New dojo office
The opening ceremony for the AHAN Mindanao Learning Center was held on March 10th, 2011. Construction began last summer in the city of Illigan on Mindanao island in the Philippines, and is the third international AHAN Learning center to open its doors. This center was built by local AHAN Mindanao Coordinator, Ava Yancha Sensei with the help of volunteer students and local supporters. The purpose of this learning center is to provide fundamental social and ethics education through the practice of Aikido and other local AHAN based programs.
100 people come to celebrate at the opening party!
Young students gather at the dojo when not in school
Over 120 supporters of the new AHAN Mindanao Learning Center were on hand for the opening ceremony including the mayor of Illigan, a local police chief, many women community leaders, Homma Kancho and staff. All were there in a show of support for the tremendous efforts of Ava Yancha Sensei, students and volunteers. Graduate uchideshi Takahiko Endo and Hiroki Yagi were also in attendance, accompanying Homma Kancho. Support funds for the construction of the new AHAN Mindanao Learning Center were donated by Homma Kancho, AHAN and Nippon Kan General Headquarter student and friends.
Food delivery by AHAN Mindanao staff
I was able to accompany Homma Kancho on this AHAN Mindanao’s monthly meal service, coordinated by AHAN Mindanao Coordinator Ava Yancha Sensei for the Bajao tribes people. The Bajao people are refugees; people without a country or opportunities for education, medical or social services. Even their language is different from the locals. Their life is a daily struggle to survive on the riverbanks outside of Illigan.
The meals were all prepared by uchideshi live-in students of the AHAN Learning Center and especially the contributions of hearing-challenged students Matura, Alinor, Norman and Rick were remarkable. I was humbled and impressed by their contribution.
Overcoming challenges; four hearing challenged uchideshi now live at the Learning Center.
Center: Homma Kancho, on his right: Endo, on his left: Yagi, behind: students and two women volunteers from France
Preparing the meals for the Bajao people; Yagi and Endo
This visit to the Philippines with Homma Kancho was the trip of a life time, and I will always appreciate the experience. Even though I graduated from the University of Denver and have now returned to a new job in Japan, I have never had any kind of experience like this and very much appreciate the opportunity that Homma Kancho provided me. This experience has made me see the world and reality from a different point of view.
Hiroki Yagi –Japan
Nippon Kan Graduate Uchidesh
February 23rd to 28th, 2011
Neighborhood high school kids also come to study
The AHAN Myanmar Learning Center in Yangon, Myanmar currently enrolls about 70 full time students. Homma Kancho came to visit us at the end of February and brought with him a generous donation of school supplies. Eight students from outside Yangon also board at the center where all students are busy studying for the state university entrance examinations held each April. Our center has become a place where students from many different tribal backgrounds can come together to share with each other and learn together. The purpose of the AHAN Myanmar Learning Center is to develop our next generations that will one day be leaders in Myanmar’s future.
AHAN Myanmar Learning Center sign written in Japanese by Shin Shin Aiki Shuren Kai, Hitohiro Saito Jukucho
Studying Burmese language at the AHAN Myanmar Learning Center
Kids carry the donated rice and supplies into the temple
Homma Kancho applying medicine to some of the kids heads
I accompanied Homma Kancho on his visit to Yadanapon Temple where AHAN has been providing 88 kg of rice per month, educational and medical supplies for the past three years. There are over 60 orphaned boys who live at the temple and this time Homma Kancho brought medicine for scabies which although the temple is an acceptably clean environment, has been spreading among the boys. In the US, this medicine is available anywhere, but here in Myanmar it is very precious. Homma Kancho promised as he spoke, “Keeping a clean body is very important toward stopping the spreading of infections so this year we will work on improving the temples shower facilities.”
What in the world is this? At first the kids are cautiously curious…
but soon, the kids go wild over the Lego!
Finished Lego creations; a dream come true!
Homma Kancho brought a special present this visit that first surprised and then delighted the boys. He brought with him two thousand pieces of Lego donated by Nippon Kan students at General Headquarters in Denver. The boys had never seen Lego before but it did not take long before all of the boys were absorbed in putting them together. By the next day, they had created almost an entire “city” out of Lego! The Lego we discovered was a great toy for the boys, a tool that unlike crayons and paper can be used over and over and over again and helped inspire creativity and teamwork with the boys. Thank you Homma Kancho and all Nippon Kan Headquarter members for the wonderful gift!
Written by Nilar Than
AHAN Myanmar Coordinator
This Lego campaign is now an on-going project at Nippon Kan Headquarters and will continue to be used in other AHAN Learning Centers in Bangladesh and the Philippines and others. If anyone has an old Lego set they wish to donate to this cause, we would be happy to receive them! Old or incomplete sets are fine!
Please send or bring to Nippon Kan General Headquarters 1365 Osage Street Denver, Colorado 80204
Include your name and contact information please.
AHAN Myanmar Coordinator Nilar Than was married February 27th to Jude who works as a chef in the American Embassy in Yangon. By Myanmar French tradition, the wedding itself was attended by only the wedding couple and their families but over 300 people attended the reception. Students from the AHAN Myanmar Learning Center also attended the reception and all wore beautiful, traditional dress in celebration of the union.
This last year has been a year for weddings as three AHAN Coordinators have gotten married; AHAN Turkey
Coordinator Megumi Machi, AHAN Mongolia Coordinator Alimansar and now AHAN Myanmar Coordinator Nilar
Than. Congratulations and best wishes to all!
Myanmar AHAN Learning Center students at the wedding celebration
Nippon Kan Kancho
January 17th to February 7th, 2011
Food research in the markets of Izmir
Developing “social business projects” is one of the most important focuses of AHAN. To assist in self-sustaining
activity research for AHAN Izmir in Turkey, Homma Kancho spent three weeks in Izmir in January researching
the Japanese restaurant market there.
The concept “You can’t teach Aikido if you are worried about where your rice (food) will come from.” is a concept that was taught to me by Homma Kancho, who learned it from Morihiro Saito Shihan and the Founder Ueshiba before him. With Homma Kancho’s guidance I understand the importance and the challenges of creating a social business and will spend the next few months through March working on ideas and budgets to build a basis to support such a project.
AHAN Izmir Coordinator
Nippon Kan Graduate Uchideshi
April 19th to 21st, 2011
Cihan teaching Aikido class
Nippon Kan uchideshi graduate, Cihan Karaogluol opened his own Aikido Shuren Dojo this past April. Cihan is a student of Ali Uludag Sensei of Istanbul, Turkey. Ali Uludag Sensei recommended Cihan to train at Nippon Kan as an uchideshi student where he has completed several terms.
Cihan’s new Aikido Shuren Dojo houses the AHAN Izmir office exclusively for the administration of humanitarian and assistance activities in Turkey.
After the seminar in Italy, April 16-17th, I was able to travel to Izmir with Homma Kancho to visit
Cihan’s new dojo. It is a beautiful dojo that Cihan already has plans to include a possible restaurant;
a place I hope where Nippon Kan uchideshi graduates can gather when visiting Cihan in Izmir in the
Opening celebration gathering
Instructor Michele teaching with Cihan
Michel Zanrei –Italy
Nippon Kan Graduate Uchideshi
January –March 2011
The AHAN Mindanao Learning Center has been well received by the Illigan community. In the past, the practice of the martial arts had only been known as a way to promote violence and divisiveness. AHAN Mindanao, under Homma Kancho’s guidance has brought a new meaning and purpose to the community through Aikido and AHAN’s humanitarian activities and community out-reach programs.
Homma Kancho’s philosophy of the true nature and purposes of our martial art training and the work of AHAN is discussed in detail in his article “Engaged Budoism”.
Visit to the orphanage by AHAN Mindanao Coordinator Ava and staff
These pictures were taken on a visit by AHAN Mindanao staff on a visit to the Barangay Santiago Tibanga Orphanage to provide school supplies. It is good to see the children smile; it was not so long ago that some of these children were abandoned and left near the village garbage dump to fend for themselves.
Rising before sunrise to start cooking
Students pack the meals in the morning light for the orphanage
The children are overjoyed to receive the food brought for them by AHAN staff
Thanks to all volunteer students!
On March 10th, AHAN Mindanao brought cooked meals and clothing to about 160 children of the Bajao tribe and about 60 street children. Our students rose at 4:00 am. to begin preparing the meal for the meal service that began at 7:00 am. Homma Kancho and AHAN have given us a way to recognize how much we really have to share, and we have learned about the riches that sharing brings to the heart. To help our community we have also started an Aikido program for the disabled that has brought its own richness to the lives of these special students.
Making keiko gis on the sewing machine
AHAN Mindanao produced weapons bags
To help support our dojo operations, the AHAN Mindanao Learning Center has started a social business producing keiko gi, bokken and jo bags and other accessories not only for Aikido students, but students of all the martial arts in the area. The sewing machine we use was donated to us by Cihan Karaogluol, AHAN Izmir Coordinator on a visit to Illigan last fall.
AHAN Mindanao Learning Center Coordinator
Boarding students help with building maintenance by painting
On June 4th, twenty students from the AHAN Myanmar Learning Center took the Matriculation university entrance examinations into medical and engineering programs at the university level. Today we received the results and eighteen students have passed, fifteen of them with distinctions or credits! The two that did not pass will continue their studies to take the exam next year. We feel badly for the two that did not pass, but it is a very proud day for all of the students who will be going on to the university from the AHAN Myanmar Learning Center.
Many thanks to Homma Kancho and everyone at Nippon Kan Headquarters for helping our students reach this goal. It is a dream many of them never would have imagined they could have achieved.
Lunch at the Yadanapon Orphanage
We continue to coordinate AHAN’s monthly rice delivery to the Yadanapon Temple and orphanage. Included is a photo of the children having breakfast recently at the temple.
Written by Nilar Than
AHAN Myanmar Learning Center Coordinator
The Madrasa Islamic Orphanage and School for Girls was completed last year with the help of AHAN. The building is five-stories high and houses about 450 girls. About 40% of the girls are orphans and the other 60% have families that are too poor to care for them.
When Homma Kancho first met the girls of Madrasa five years ago, after a dreadful fire destroyed their living facility. At that time the girls were living in make-shift housing covered by tarps. AHAN supplied much of the building materials needed as the elders and teachers of this school built the new facility by hand. Homma Kancho visits every year as AHAN continues to supply 500 kilos of rice per month, medical and educational supplies.
Construction on the new boy’s orphanage facility has begun. The first floor of the seven floor building has been completed
Currently the Madrasa elders have begun construction on a new seven-story facility for boys. Both Homma Kancho and Emily Busch, AHAN International Program Director have been to Dhaka to see the completion of the girls facility and beginning of this new construction on the boys facility.
Dharmarajika orphanage computer class
The first AHAN Project in Bangladesh was at the Dharmarajika Buddhist Temple and Orphanage for boys where AHAN donated 50 computers. These computers were set up in a computer lab that was opened to the public. As a social business for the orphanage, this AHAN project helped the orphanage sustain its efforts in caring for the boys in their care.
AHAN Bangladeshi Learning Center Coordinator
June 4th, 2011
Before work, a little stretching exercize!
This year marked the 20h year anniversary of Nippon Kan’s Spring Volunteer Project with the Denver Parks Department. Originally this project was created as a more productive way to celebrate Homma Kancho’s birthday than throwing a party!
Over the last two decades, Nippon Kan has planted trees, cleared trails, painted over graffiti and much more in parks all over the metro Denver area. The Denver Parks Department has come to depend on us each year and saves its toughest projects for the Nippon Kan “Army”.
This year about 70 Nippon Kan members, family and friends helped plant trees, paint bridges, refurbish playground surfaces, cover graffiti and spread gravel at the Martinez Park in west Denver.
Thank you everyone for a job well done!!!
John Painting bridges
John Planting trees
Maintaining the playground
In the garden under a canopy of carp kites, Nippon Kan Vice President Busch explains about Japanese gardening and culture
Every spring, bus loads of school-aged children from elementary through junior high school come to Nippon Kan as part of their Asian studies.
This Japanese cultural program began 32 years ago. The program was originally developed by a staff of Nippon Kan volunteers from Japan and the one and half hour program included demonstrations in tea ceremony, flower arrangement, Japanese kimono dressing and Aikido. Nippon Kan staff took the program to the Denver Public School system and eventually this program became so popular that the staff was visiting one school per day during the busiest times. Eventually, this program became the foundation for Nippon Kan.
Looking back, it is interesting to remember that at the time, this program became so popular in Denver that it became a concern for some local Japanese American Leaders. They worried about this new group of Japanese volunteers that had moved to Denver and reported to the Japanese Consul General Office in San Francisco that what might be a Japanese “cult” of 10 men and women had moved to town…
This of course was not the case and today over 1000 students visit Nippon Kan for this Japanese cultural field trip each year.
Kanji origin explained by Homma Kancho
A traditional Japanese lunch
(For privacy reason photos are blurred)
It has been very endearing over the years, to receive so many wonderful thank you letters and drawings from school children after their visits to Nippon Kan. The cost of the field trip is $10.00 per person which includes the tour, demonstrations and a Japanese box lunch. $3.75 of each admission is donated to AHAN international activities.
Nippon Kan Kancho
Homma Kancho and “Speedy”
I have known “Speedy” for about eleven years now. I believe he was about forty years old when we met. I don’t know what his real name is. I have learned that in the homeless community, names and other personal information is not often asked about or offered; it is a communication rule at the mission.
Years ago, Speedy was in a car accident, the details of which I am not quite sure about but which spawned his nickname. When we first met he used to be able to make it down the stairs to the basement cafeteria at the Denver Rescue Mission for our dinner service. Speedy once lived at the Denver Rescue Mission and graduated from the resident program but since his accident he is not able to work. Now, Speedy uses an electric wheel chair and I take his meal “to go” upstairs and meet him outside the door. Speedy does not live in the streets. Even though he suffers from debilitating diabetes he rooms alone nearby in an apartment funded by social services. I worry about Speedy. He always smiles brightly when I see him, but I see him getting weaker day by day. I just pray for his health and well being.
Nippon Kan volunteer staff at the mission
After the Japanese earthquake disaster, Nippon Kan staf posted an appreciation poster for the
rescue mission Tomodachi by the US Military
The next generation of volunteers; Catherine and Erin help with the homeless meal service
The homeless are sometimes call “street people” however not all homeless live in the streets. Each person has a story and every story has different circumstances. Our job as Nippon Kan volunteers is to prepare meals for this community and we prepare and serve over 300 meals every third Sunday of the month. Preparation begins early on those Sunday mornings and the service ends at around 9:00 pm. at night. This we have been doing for the last 21 years and have served over 65,000 meals.
Sometimes some of our regular Nippon Kan volunteers bring their children with them to help serve meals to the homeless. It is a good experience for these youngest volunteers and this kind of education will help to develop a volunteer spirit as they grow into adulthood.
All of the food for the meal services at the Denver Rescue Mission is donated by Nippon Kan’s Domo Japanese Country Foods Restaurant.
Nippon Kan Kancho
January 16th 325 meals served
February 20th 350 meals served
March 20th 350 meals served
April- No meal service Denver Rescue Mission Easter Services and Activities
May 15th 320 meals served
June 19th 325 meals served
Total meals served since 1991: 62,159 meals served
Fostering the Next Generation
Nippon Kan General Headquarter Staff implemented a new program at the beginning of 2011 to facilitate development of a new generation of leaders in our dojo community. One of the accomplishments of this new program was the development of a new beginner’s website http://www.aikidoforbeginners.org/. This website focuses on beginning students of Aikido and also links to our main Nippon Kan website.
Another program launched was the formation of the BSS, or Beginners Support Staff to help our newest students in their practice and around the dojo. All of the members of this new support staff wear a green handkerchief on their belts so that they are easily recognizable and approachable to beginning students. Nippon Kan has a long history and many students of all ages. We recognize that it is difficult at times for newer students to find their place in the dojo and communicate with senior students. The new BSS was created to bridge communication and is made up of students who have been practicing at Nippon Kan for at least a year. This generation is familiar with Nippon Kan practice and philosophy, but still “young” enough in their practice to be able to relate to our newest students.
Nippon Kan now on Twitter and Face Book!
Become a “follower’’: Nippon Kan is now on Twitter @denvernipponkan. http://twitter.com/#!/denvernipponkan Dojo news and events will be updated regularly, including any special announcements or volunteer projects. Point and click and become a “follower.’’ Also “like” us on Face Book for the latest! http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Aikido-Nippon-Kan/265304812806
Beginners Classes in 2011
As of June Nippon Kan has enrolled about 125 new students to our beginner classes which is an increase from last year. We believe the increased enrollment is due in large part to the suggestions made by our newest BSS staff, our beginner’s support system and a new presence in today’s new social media.
Youth Classes in 2011
Attendance in the Youth Program at Nippon Kan has risen dramatically in the past few years and currently over we have over 90 members enrolled in our Youth Program. We believe that this increase in enrollment is due primarily to the high quality instructors currently in charge of the program. Noel Camp Sensei, Jeff Legwold and Roger Failor have provided an invaluable service to our youngest members resulting in a vibrant and energetic program. Many thanks to our outstanding staff!
For Our Seniors in 2011
Just as important is to always remember our senior students; the members who helped lay and develop the foundation of Nippon Kan. Some of our students have practiced for over 25 years at Nippon Kan and are still practicing! To help honor all of our senior members who have now retired from practice we are working on a commemoration board and a thank you celebration for later this year.
Nippon Kan Vice President
May 9th, 2011
Under the blooming cherry blossoms! This year the flowers bloomed late but beautiful
The Nippon Kan garden was the perfect place to hold our Spring Garden Party for Hakama Kai members on May 9th, 2011. This party/meeting was held exclusively for Nippon Kan members who have achieved the rank of third-kyu and above and have been accepted into Hakama Kai membership. Over forty Hakama members attended this special party that was held just as the blossoms in the garden were at their peak. This special event was also held to celebrate Homma Kancho’s birthday and to discuss current and future plans for Nippon Kan.
Nippon Kan’s Hakama Kai meeting and practice is held the first Monday of every month and is a time set aside for Hakama members to practice together and exchange ideas and opinions about current activities and upcoming projects after practice.
Nippon Kan Secretary
March 27th, 2011
The uchideshi from the losing dojo get a dousing as Nippon Kan celebrates victory!
Nippon Kan won the tournament again this year; the bowling tournament that is. The reason we won is easy; the average age of Nippon Kan students is older than that of Enshin Karate students and many Nippon Kan students are from the “bowling generation”! The Enshin Karate students may be stronger than we are, but we definitely have experience on our side!
This bowling tournament between Enshin Karate and Nippon Kan is held every year to celebrate the birthday of Enshin Karate, Joko Ninomiya Kancho. This year we had over 100 bowlers including special guests Consul Mitsui from the Japanese Consul at Denver and his family. Consul Mitsui has been a great supporter of Nippon Kan and participates in many Nippon Kan community service activities in Denver as a way to bring Japanese and American societies together. Thank you very much to Consul Mitsui and his family for joining us this year!
Both Kanchos talking together
Homma Kancho, Consul Mitsui, Ninomiya Kancho enjoying the moment!
It is not important who wins or loses…
There were no prizes for “best bowlers” or other categories this year. All proceeds were donated to the Japanese Red Cross to support victims of the earthquake in Japan. Over $1200.00 was raised and donated by students and families at this event! Many thanks to both Enshin Karate and Nippon Kan student organizers and staff for putting together a great event!
The film crew and Tokyo Pop bus at Nippon Kan last summer
Last summer, a film crew from Tokyo Pop came to Nippon Kan to interview Homma Kancho for a documentary on “Best Otaku in the USA”. This April, the special was aired and can be viewed at the following link on line. Homma Kancho is still a little puzzled as to why he was featured as part of the “Best Otaku in the USA”! http://www.hulu./watch220947/americas-greatest-otaku-bighorn-otaku#s-p1-so-i0
Nippon Kan Editor Staff-Japan
April 14th -17th, 2011
Enshin Sabaki Sabaki Challenge Coaches and staff stay at Nippon Kan
Enshin Karate competitors for the International Sabaki Challenge gathered in Denver this April for this annual nternational competition established by Enshin Karate Founder, Joko Ninomiya Kancho.
Many of Enshin’s current leading instructors in Japan once were uchideshi students at Enshin Headquarters in Denver, and Homma Kancho always took great care of them during their training. Even though Nippon Kan dojo is an Aikido dojo, many Enshin instructors, coaches and competitors choose to stay at Nippon Kan while in Denver for their tournament. Although most of these instructors now have their own dojos in Japan, they remember and treasure Homma Kancho’s council and kindness during their days as uchideshi in Denver and enjoy his company on these special visits.
May 16th, 2011
In May I received a photo from Aikidoka practicing in Iran. This photo was included in a letter talking about events in Aikido in Iran this spring. Iran Aikido is a large organization under Yasuo Kobayashi Shihan of Kobayashi dojo in Japan. Iran Aikido’s chief instructor Ali Sensei is a pioneer of Aikido in Iran and has done great work in developing thousands of students that study there.
I have had the great privilege to meet and practice with wonderful aikidoka in Iran in past visits and still maintain a relationship with Aikidoka there. Iran Aikidoka are sincere and curious students who are diligent in their practice. The practice of Aikido is loved in Iran and I always hope to do everything I can to help in their development.
Thank you very much for the photo, it shows the spirit of true Aikido in practice in Iran.
Nippon Kan Kancho
June 9th, 2011
Homma Kancho speaks to the 2011 Minoru Yasui Inn of Court members
The Minoru Yasui Inn of Court has been held in the Nippon Kan gardens annually for the last six years. This year’s event was attended by 120 of Denver’s prominent lawyers, judges and other members of the Denver legal community. Last year the Minoru Yasui Inn of Court donated five computers to the AHAN Myanmar Learning Center in Yangon, Myanmar and in 1996, Homma Kancho was the recipient of the prestigious Minoru Yasui Volunteer of the Year Award.
This year the weather cooperated and all of the guests enjoyed the Nippon Kan gardens and the elaborate buffet provided by Domo Japanese Country Foods Restaurant. Many thanks to Judge Kerry Hada for his generosity and for organizing the event again this year.
AHAN International Program Director
The Minoru Yasui Inn of Court- The Minoru Yasui Inn of Court is one of six Inns of Court in Colorado. It was established in 1996, and now has 139 members, including judges, attorneys, and law students. Like all of the other Inns of Court, its goal is to foster a cordial and collegial spirit among our members, to encourage integrity, ethics, and honor in the practice of law, and to mentor new lawyers and law students.
Consul General Kazuaki Kubo of the Japanese Consulate at Denver has been working in Denver for the past three years. During his years in Denver, Consul General Kubo and his wife participated in many local Nippon Kan AHAN community service activities including serving meals to the homeless at the Denver Rescue Mission.
In March of this year, Consul General Kubo moving to New York to become the Director General of the Japan Foundation New York and Regional Director for the Americas. We wish Consul General Kubo well in the future and thank him very much for his support, input and encouragement of al of our AHAN activities.
Nippon Kan Kancho
Nippon Kan Graduate Uchideshi April 2011
Unbelievably, Michele returned in January, 2011 for one more semester as a Nippon Kan senior uchideshi. Michele has spent so much time as a Nippon Kan uchideshi that we began to worry that he would not be able to return to “the real world” after graduating in April!
Michele served again as an exemplary student and in April returned to Italy to accept a position with a good company. We expect him to do well, but you never know…Michele might be back again!
Nippon Kan Graduate Uchideshi March 2011
After graduating from the University of Denver with a Master’s degree last year, Hiro returned to Japan to look for job. While a university student in Denver, Hiro spent so much time practiced with the other uchideshi that Homma Kancho gave him ½ of an uchideshi patch to wear!
After securing employment for April of this year, Hiro returned to Denver to become a full time uchideshi student from November 2010 through the middle of March 2011. Hiro was instrumental in developing many of the videos on the new Beginning Aikido Nippon Kan website at www.aikidoforbeginners.org.
Nippon Kan Graduate Uchideshi April 2011
As young as she is, Hiromi has earned her third-degree black belt under Yasuo Kobayashi Shihan, Kobayashi dojo in Japan who recommended that she travel to Denver to become an uchideshi student at Nippon Kan. Conditions were tough for Hiromi, a young woman from Tokyo, who arrived in Denver in the dead of winter. Hiromi stuck with the program and completed her term in April. Hiromi is returning in July to continue with a second term, and we look forward to her arrival.
Nippon Kan Graduate Uchideshi 1996
Dr. Toby Eischelman and his wife, Nippon Kan Vice President Emily Busch and Homma Kancho
Dr. Toby Eischelman returned to Nippon Kan for a visit in June while attending a conference held in Denver. On this visit he brought his wife and colleagues to see the dojo and dine at Domo. It is always good to see our sempai graduate uchideshi return for a visit, and to see where life has taken them since their days as full time uchideshi students. Toby was part of the original construction crew that built-out the newNippon Kan Headquarter dojo facility in 1996.
It has been over six months since the last Nippon Kan website Activity Report updates which is a longer interval than usual for Homma Kancho and our Nippon Kan staff. This has been an unusual busy year with many travels by Homma Kancho and of course the major earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan that affected family and friends of Nippon Kan.
Homma Kancho has worked hard this year to increase the support AHAN has been able to share with our projects in Bangladesh, Myanmar, the Philippines and others and opened his restaurant Domo on Sundays to help with increased support. “No more sushi” Homma Kancho declared as he even gave up the one indulgence he has while in Denver; going out for sushi occasionally, to help conserve funds for all of the projects he has been involved in this year.
Homma Kancho always eats together with the children when he visits the orphanage in Myanmar
Koi Nobori- carp kites in the Nippon Kan garden
We haven’t put the Koi Nobori kites up in a while, but this year the kites held special meaning. The colorful Koi Nobori or carp kites are flown in Japan in May for Children’s Day. Since carp fight their way upstream to spawn with great ferocity, they are a great symbol of strength and perseverance and have been flown for centuries in Japan to inspire children with the coming of spring.
This year especially, after the earthquake and tsunami disaster, the Japanese people made sure that the kites flew high this past May to remind all of their people to remain strong and to persevere through all of these recent hardships.
As a show of our support for the spirit of the Japanese people during this time, Nippon Kan also flew Koi Nobori Kites in the Nippon Kan Headquarter gardens in May.
Tiny but mighty!
In the middle of working in the garden, Homma Kancho stopped what he was doing to take this photo of a “new born” praying mantis. He had just been born, but looked like he was ready to rumble! So cute…we hope he grows up to be big and strong!