San Diego Kendo Bu

About

About the Dojo

San Diego Kendo Bu (SDKB) was founded in February 1972 by Shigeo Yamanishi Sensei and practiced at the San Diego Buddhist Temple. Kikuo Uyeji Sensei joined SDKB early on. At the foundation of SDKB, Yamanishi sensei and Uyeji sensei were 1-Dan and not qualified to teach at the time. Therefore, Maki Miyahara Sensei stepped in and became the first Sensei of SDKB. Miyahara sensei was from the Pasadena Cultural institute and the highest ranking sensei in the country at 8-Dan.

San Diego Kendo

Eventually, Yamanishi sensei obtained 5-Dan and was a member of the US Kendo team in the 3rd World Kendo Championships in Great Britain in 1976. Kikuo Uyeji Sensei eventually obtained Renshi 6-Dan.

In the same year, 1972, John Yamamoto Sensei (at the time in his 30's) was helping rehabilitate young Asian American drug parolees. As he had heard that Yamanishi Sensei was starting a new kendo club, Yamamoto Sensei brought ten of them to the dojo to have them learn kendo as part of their Japanese heritage.

Victor Uyeji (at that time, 19 years old) joined in the same year. Initial members included Carl Yamamoto (Yamamoto Sensei's brother), Kichi Hayashi (brother in law to Yamamoto Sensei), David Uda, Ronnie Morinaka, Barry Morinaka and Frank Endo. After Yamanishi Sensei passed away, SDKB practices were led by Uyeji sensei and Yamamoto sensei.

In summer of 2014, Henry Kikunaga Sensei, 5-Dan, took over as Head Instructor of SDKB from John Yamamoto Sensei.

Kikunaga sensei started kendo when he was 7 years old with San Jose Dojo under Charlie Tanaka Sensei. After competing and contributing to the Northern California Kendo Federation's successes at the US Kendo Championships a handful of times both as member of the youth team and Men's teams over the years, he began practicing at SDKB while attending the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).

In 1998, Kikunaga sensei wanted to start a "University" Kendo class to teach kendo to college students. However, he needed the assistance from a local sensei and advisor at the time according to the university. Yamamoto sensei and Alfonso Gomez Sensei (Karate instructor and martial arts department advisor at UCSD) stepped in to help advise and help set up the UCSD Recreational Class for Kendo.

The UCSD Recreational class has been going strong since then with it being the most popular recreational class on the campus for a number of years. From the UCSD Recreational Kendo class has sprouted about a handful of young sensei in its short time of existence and even had a member represented on the Women's National Team that competed at the World Kendo Championships. In addition, the UCSD Kendo Team was formed which competed in collegiate tournaments since 2005 with much success.

Also in August 2012, SDKB member, Francisco Villa (2-Dan) moved to Yuma, Arizona to be on faculty at Arizona Western College. There he started Yuma Kendo Club, which is now officially a branch and overseen by San Diego Kendo Bu.

Together, the UCSD Recreational Kendo class, Yuma Kendo Club, and San Diego Kendo Bu have coexisted to contribute to the Kendo Community in the Southwestern United States and continue to uphold the kendo teachings and traditions set forth by its founders of San Diego Kendo Bu.

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Senseis

Henry Kikunaga - 5 Dan
Started Kendo in 1982 at San Jose Kendo dojo under instruction of Charlie Tanaka Sensei. Won team and individual competitions at the youth and adult level including the Steveston Dojo Tournament, AUSKF Championships and North/South annual tournament. After achieving 4-Dan, set up, organized, and started instruction of the UCSD recreational class for Kendo with the help of John Yamamoto Sensei. Coached the UCSD Kendo team from 2010-2014. Took over as head instructor for San Diego Kendo Bu in 2014.

Susan Zau - 5 Dan
Started Kendo at University of Waterloo in Canada under the instruction of Taro Ariga Sensei. Lived in Japan for three years and trained under the instruction of Tamura Toru Sensei (8-Dan) at Keishicho Honbu Dojo and Itoh Tomoharu Sensei (8-Dan) of Kousei Budokukai Dojo. Achieved 3-Dan in Tokyo, Japan from AJKF. After returning to North America, competed in the 10th World Kendo Championships in Kyoto Japan as a member of Team Canada. Continued to move around the world practicing Kendo including in America, Germany, and Singapore before moving permanently to San Diego.

Stanley Cho - 5 Dan
Master of Jungmoo Kendo Dojo in Fullerton, CA. Member of WKF. Served in U.S. Army.

Young Yoon - 5 Dan
Young has a 5th Dan in kendo and has been with the San Diego Kendo Bu in San Diego, California since 2001. He started learning kendo at the University of Toronto, Canada from 1986, practiced at a local dojo in Nakano Sakanoue, Tokyo and at Yokohama National University, Japan from 1990 to 1993, co-founded the McGill University Kendo Club in 1993 (with Christian d'Orangeville Sensei, Haji Nakamura and John Prinos) and practiced at the University of Waterloo from 1998 to 2001. Young is indebted to many Sensei's and Senpai's who have taught him kendo over the years and the wonderful community of kendo friends. He writes and translates articles on kendo at www.KendoNotes.com. He also has a deep interest in health and well-being, practicing yoga and meditation.

Katsumi Chinen - 5 Dan
Started Kendo in 1983 at Covina Kendo dojo under instruction of Akio Hara Sensei. Competed internationally during teenage to college years, representing USA. Joined SDKB in 2015. Currently, coaching the UCSD Kendo team; since 2012-present.

John Yamamoto - 4 Dan- Dojo Advisor

Matt Schultzel - 4 Dan
Started kendo with Yamamoto Sensei (4dan) at UCSD and through SDKB, moved to Berkeley, California under Miyata-Sensei (8Dan-hanshi), then to Long Beach kendo dojo under Hori-Sensei (7dan). Off to New York where he joined New York Kenshinkai under Umemura-Sensei (6dan) and Carroll-Sensei (6dan). During this time Schultzel-sensei had the opportunity to go to Japan to practice kendo and practice with numerous visiting kenshi from Japan. He then spent one year in Houston where he organized a visit from the Eiga-sensei brothers (8dan) and taught kendo with Houston Kendo Kyokai. Finally in 2016, he moved back to San Diego to rejoin SDKB.

Kay Liu - 4 Dan

Jim Vahl - 4 Dan

Senseis

Henry Kikunaga - 5 Dan
Started Kendo in 1982 at San Jose Kendo dojo under instruction of Charlie Tanaka Sensei. Won team and individual competitions at the youth and adult level including the Steveston Dojo Tournament, AUSKF Championships and North/South annual tournament. After achieving 4-Dan, set up, organized, and started instruction of the UCSD recreational class for Kendo with the help of John Yamamoto Sensei. Coached the UCSD Kendo team from 2010-2014. Took over as head instructor for San Diego Kendo Bu in 2014.

Susan Zau - 5 Dan
Started Kendo at University of Waterloo in Canada under the instruction of Taro Ariga Sensei. Lived in Japan for three years and trained under the instruction of Tamura Toru Sensei (8-Dan) at Keishicho Honbu Dojo and Itoh Tomoharu Sensei (8-Dan) of Kousei Budokukai Dojo. Achieved 3-Dan in Tokyo, Japan from AJKF. After returning to North America, competed in the 10th World Kendo Championships in Kyoto Japan as a member of Team Canada. Continued to move around the world practicing Kendo including in America, Germany, and Singapore before moving permanently to San Diego.

Stanley Cho - 5 Dan
Master of Jungmoo Kendo Dojo in Fullerton, CA. Member of WKF. Served in U.S. Army.

Young Yoon - 5 Dan
Young has a 5th Dan in kendo and has been with the San Diego Kendo Bu in San Diego, California since 2001. He started learning kendo at the University of Toronto, Canada from 1986, practiced at a local dojo in Nakano Sakanoue, Tokyo and at Yokohama National University, Japan from 1990 to 1993, co-founded the McGill University Kendo Club in 1993 (with Christian d'Orangeville Sensei, Haji Nakamura and John Prinos) and practiced at the University of Waterloo from 1998 to 2001. Young is indebted to many Sensei's and Senpai's who have taught him kendo over the years and the wonderful community of kendo friends. He writes and translates articles on kendo at www.KendoNotes.com. He also has a deep interest in health and well-being, practicing yoga and meditation.

Katsumi Chinen - 5 Dan
Started Kendo in 1983 at Covina Kendo dojo under instruction of Akio Hara Sensei. Competed internationally during teenage to college years, representing USA. Joined SDKB in 2015. Currently, coaching the UCSD Kendo team; since 2012-present.

John Yamamoto - 4 Dan- Dojo Advisor

Matt Schultzel - 4 Dan
Started kendo with Yamamoto Sensei (4dan) at UCSD and through SDKB, moved to Berkeley, California under Miyata-Sensei (8Dan-hanshi), then to Long Beach kendo dojo under Hori-Sensei (7dan). Off to New York where he joined New York Kenshinkai under Umemura-Sensei (6dan) and Carroll-Sensei (6dan). During this time Schultzel-sensei had the opportunity to go to Japan to practice kendo and practice with numerous visiting kenshi from Japan. He then spent one year in Houston where he organized a visit from the Eiga-sensei brothers (8dan) and taught kendo with Houston Kendo Kyokai. Finally in 2016, he moved back to San Diego to rejoin SDKB.

Kay Liu - 4 Dan

Jim Vahl - 4 Dan

Practice Information

Dojo Address:

2650 Truxtun Road San Diego, CA 92106

- 2nd floor, Room 207.

Practice times:

Tues, Thurs: 8:00p - 10:00p

Sat: 12:00p - 2:00p (UCSD rec gym)

(Note: Sat classes are through the UCSD recreation department and follow the academic quarter. Please see the UCSD Recreation website for more info: recreation.ucsd.edu)

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