Sunday, May 23, 2010

San Diego Kyudo Kai & UCI Kyudo Club

It was January 1993. I was in Kosaka Sensei's office one afternoon (as was my habit at the end of the day). He answered the phone... 'Yes... Uh huh... yes, I see. Well, I can't come but Rich Beal will come.' He hung up the phone and said, 'you go to San Diego sometimes don't you?' and without waiting for an answer, 'You'll be teaching kyudo down there; here's the fellow's phone number.'

He gave me the phone number for James Williams and Jesse Wilhoite, who had a dojo in San Deigo. They wanted to have kyujitsu in the dojo.

My family and I went down to San Diego to see them. They and their families treated us to a wonderful sushi meal at a restaurant near their dojo. I explained that I didn't know kyujitsu but could help them include kyudo in their dojo.

That February we revived the San Deigo Kyudo Kai. (of course, as stated earlier, I was a founding member of the San Diego Kyudo Kai when Satoshi Takamori Sensei first set it up in the mid 80's. Rich Moon and I and another Sunset Cliffs Aikido UchiDeshi, Chris, were the whole dojo for quite sometime. Rich Moon, Takamori Sensei and I went to Chozenji in Hawaii for a kyudo seminar in the mid to late 80's too, with Morisawa Sensei. It was a wonderful Gashuku Morisawa Sensei created just for us. Takamori Sensei had studied with Suhara Sensei at Enkakuji in Japan and Chozenji had patterned their practice after Suhara Sensei's, so Suhara Sensei 'spoke' on our behalf.)

In the same year we revived the San Diego Kyudo Kai (1993), that summer we had the first Kyudo USA in San Jose California. I received a call from E. Clay Buchanan, who invited me to come. I asked Kosaka Sensei's permission to go, and received it. Another student, Steve Samishima, my wife Yachiyo, and I went to take our shodan tests.

The San Diego Kyudo Kai exists today and is run by Jannette Curran Sensei. Curran Sensei started with me there in June of 1993, and now runs the dojo as a GoDan Renshi.

In 1996 at the behest of Dr. Yokoyama of Hitachi Chemical Corporation we started the UCI Kyudo Club. Dr. Yokoyama had set up a scholarship fund there and asked the University to set up a kyudo club. I was again 'volunteered' to be the teacher. I went origially with Jesse Wilhoite, from the San Diego Kyudo Kai, as my assistant. We were soon joined by Vince Tagle as the first UCI student to join the club. The club has been taught by myself, Jannette Curran, Doug Sakurai, Aaron Fay, and is now taught by its first student, Vince Tagle.

We even had a wonderful one day seminar at UCI with 5 Hanshi from Japan. We were joined by several kyudo-ka from Northern California. We had 5 Hanshi with 5 makiwara and 11 students, we really learned a lot that day.

It's wonderful to see the dedication of all these kyudo-ka who have given so much of their time and effort to the art.

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