Speaking the language of karate for the Tokyo Olympics

As if fluency in both English and Japanese wasn’t enough, Gakuji Tozaki has used a different type of skill as a means to positively express his Japanese American identity. Through karate, the 26-year-old is aiming to represent the country of his birth in the land of his ancestry in the biggest sporting event in the […]

Japanese American judo legend to visit Japan for 2nd Tokyo Olympics at age 100

SAN JOSE, Calif. — A second-generation Japanese American man who coaches judo in California is hoping to return to Japan for his second Tokyo Olympics in 2020 when he will be 100 years old. Yoshihiro Uchida, who took part in the 1964 Games in Tokyo as coach of the U.S. judo team, still trains judoka […]

The Hazard family and martial arts in Northern California

Those who have been around kendo (bamboo sword fighting) in the United States, fondly remember the name Benjamin Hazard. According to twin sisters Malyne and Alyne Hazard, two of the late kendo master’s four daughters, he had a hand in creating several kendo dojo in Northern California, as well as establishing kyudo (archery) and naginata […]

Japanese cultural classes

Taiko San Francisco GenRyu Arts Location: Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California, 1840 Sutter St., S.F.’s Japantown Contact: (415) 420-3151, info@genryuarts.org, www.genryuarts.org Maikaze Daiko Location: Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St., S.F. Contact: (415) 513-7798, info@maikazedaiko.org, www.maikazedaiko.org San Francisco Taiko Dojo Classes: 212 Ryan Way South San Francisco, CA  94080 Contact: (415) 928-2456, […]

In karate, manners matter

On a Friday evening, the seven students in Sensei Naohiro Tomiyama’s Japantown-based Enshin Karate dojo spar with each other in two-minute battles, kicking, punching and pulling at each other’s uniforms. When Tomiyama-sensei’s timer dings, it’s always the same thing: A handshake, a bow and a polite thank you. Then onto the next classmate for another […]

Judo legend Keiko Fukuda, 99, passes away

The world’s highest-ranking female judo master, Keiko Fukuda, passed away in her home in San Francisco on Feb. 16. She was 99. Fukuda was the last living student of Jigoro Kano, the founder of judo, and ranked 10th-dan by U.S.A. Judo and the U.S. Judo Federation and ninth-dan by the Japanese Kodokan (the headquarters for […]

DEDICATION AND PATIENCE: Understanding the disciplines of naginata

Naginata, a type of Japanese spear, has a rich history within Japan’s martial arts, and has historically been known for its abundance of female practitioners. “The naginata is favored by women because the long staff uses the whole body and centrifugal force,” said Miyako Tanaka, kyoshi (master and teacher) and vice president of The Northern […]

IAIDO: Self improvement through swords

“How useful is a Japanese sword in 2012? If anyone says it’s of practical use, then they really need to get themselves checked,” says Andrej Diamantstein. Instead of personal defense, Diamantstein, the head of the Nishi Kaigan Iaido Dojo, describes iaido, the art of drawing a sword to defend against a surprise attack, as a […]

Jeremy Lin and Bruce Lee

All my life I’ve wondered exactly how Bruce Lee, the world’s greatest martial artist (at least in film), could be Asian, but there had never been a dominant, cat-quick, ninja-like point guard, akin to Allen Iverson, or Brandon Jennings — thin, wiry, yet strong and fluid, and SO quick you couldn’t stop him. As an […]

‘I Am Bruce Lee’ to open in limited theaters in February

As a cultural icon for Asian American and mainstream audiences alike, Bruce Lee is considered an inspirational figure. The upcoming release of “I Am Bruce Lee,” which Canadian filmmaker Pete McCormack directed, explores Lee’s life through archival footage and interviews with people who were close to him. Lee, whose thinking was both revolutionary and controversial, […]

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