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Our Sensei and Senior Members

Doug Imanishi

Kyoshi 7 Dan | Head Instructor

I am always learning kendo! I have been a member of Seattle Kendo Kai since the beginning as that is where my grandfather was one of the original sensei and the central location for kendo in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. I practiced at all of the dojo in the area during my teens, especially Tacoma. Some of the sensei I learned from are sadly gone but we have been fortunate to have the benefit of their wisdom, compassion and experience. Of course, I am deeply indebted to those strong sensei that continue to challenge me to give my best. We have such a wealth of strong kendo in this area to learn from but I also try and practice with guests and visit Japan when I can.

I believe in the many things that I was taught when I was young, and still continue to learn. A few of them include these thoughts. “Whoever holds a shinai is my friend.” “You need at least two people to practice kendo.” (Value your fellow kenshi) Anyone that is able to practice for however short a time can gain tremendously by that experience and it is up to us that continue to enjoy kendo to help others also gain something that kendo has to offer. Of course, I believe kendo is like both a mirror and a piece of glass. It shows your best and worst to yourself and you cannot hide your true self on the dojo floor.

Kendo reveals things in crystal clarity. I always strive hard to continue learning even as I share my own experience with others and they share theirs with mine. The true sensei are anyone that gives their best as they share the dojo floor. Kendo helps us be the best we can be in life to our family, friends and fellow humans.


Ryuichi Shimizu

Kyoshi 7 Dan, Iaido 3 Dan

I started kendo in 1954 when I was 13 and reached 2nd-Dan at age 17. After this I took a hiatus between the age 17 and 34. I reached 3rd-Dan at age 39, 4th-Dan at age 44, 5th-Dan at age 50, 6th-Dan at age 55, and 7th-Dan at age 61. I failed twice in the examinations for 4th-Dan and 5th-Dan respectively, but passed my 6th-Dan and 7th-Dan examinations in one attempt each. My real foundation of kendo must have been consolidated when I failed my 4th-Dan and 5th-Dan examinations. Therefore, failure is not always an unhappy thing. I have been doing kendo in Yokohama, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Kamagaya (Chiba Prefecture) and Seattle.

Kendo teaches us to converse and behave respectfully with other people. It is honest and fair, and the harder you practice, the more return you get. Even if your kendo may not seem improved, you will get something valuable after your hard keiko. If you do not practice, your kendo will definitely suffer and you will lose something valuable. Through kendo, we see what is true and what is false. We are surrounded by misunderstandings, contradictions, and the confusing and troubling things of life. Kendo helps us properly solve these kinds of problems.

I aspire to be a good example of the fair, reasonable and beautiful kendo player at SKK, and I would like to excel in both literary and military arts (Bunbu ryoudou).

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