What is your date of birth and height?
I was born on October 1, 1992 (28 years old). I am 6’1 (185cm)
What do you do in your daily work?
In my daily life I work as a sales executive for a software company.
How old were you when you started kendo and why did you start?
I started kendo when I was 10 years old. I originally wanted to play sports like football, basketball and baseball but my mother wanted me to focus on my studies and playing the violin. My brothers and I always kept asking our parents if we could do some type of martial art but my mom always said no because she thought we’d get hurt until she heard about a kendo dojo in Fresno. There weren’t many Japanese people in Fresno, CA (mostly nikkei-jin) where I grew up besides my mom and few of her friends. Since my mom was from Japan, she wanted my brothers and I to be raised with discipline, respect and a strong understanding of japanese values and morals so she took us to our first kendo class and we’ve been doing kendo ever since.
What do you find attractive about kendo?
What I find most attractive about kendo is that it is a disciplinary martial art that you can practice throughout your entire life. Kendo is for just about everyone. It doesn’t matter where you are from or what language you speak, whether you’re young or old, overweight or in-shape, you can still learn and create lifelong friendships with kenshi around the world along the way.
Is there anyone in your family who plays kendo?
I have two brothers that play Kendo. I have an older brother, Dorian (32) who still practices and teaches kendo in my hometown, Fresno. I also have a younger brother, Damian (26) who also practices kendo here in Los Angeles with me as well. Damian is also a member of Team USA.
Have you participated in any world championships? Have you won any prizes in European competitions?
I participated in the last world championships (17 WKC) in Incheon, South Korea. I was only able to play in the Individual Tournament. I made it to the Best 16 and lost to Sho Ando (World Champion). I received Kantōshō. I haven’t won any European competitions.
What did you feel after participating in world?
After participating in the world championships I felt extremely motivated, but at the same time, a huge wave of nervousness came over me. With Christopher Yang-Sensei (former captain for 13-16WKC) and Jason Brown-Sensei (former captain for 17 WKC) being the previous team captains, I knew I had really big shoes to fill.
After participating in the France Open in 2018, I felt extremely humbled. I got to see first-hand how strong european kendo was in shiai.. It was a big wake up call for the new team to step up our training.
What are you proud of in kendo?
I started kendo in a small dojo practicing barefoot on carpet floors and tennis courts. I was never the kid who won all the tournaments growing up. I was never considered special in kendo. When I first made team USA (2013) as a “hoketsu,”I used to drive 4 hours to and from my hometown, Fresno, CA to Torrance, CA every weekend for 2 years straight just so I could become stronger and one day become captain of Team USA and win the the World Championships. I’m proud that despite where I started kendo, I was able to make it onto Team USA and play amongst the best kenshi in the world.
Do you have hobbies other than kendo?
My hobbies outside of kendo include traveling, trying new food, going to the beach. I’m currently learning how to surf with my teammate Arashi Steele (28). I really enjoy reading. I’ve been reading Japanese manga a lot lately and watching anime to practice my Japanese as well.
What are your future goals in kendo?
My future goals in kendo, besides becoming World Champions, is to keep the Team USA tradition alive and pass what I’ve learned from all my senpai onto the next generation.
Do you have any kenshi whom you look up to as your goal (target) and why?
Teramoto Shoji-sensei. I watch a lot of his kendo videos and try to study his movements because he is very tall like me. Although I know I am quite far from his level and what he’s accomplished, I feel like there is a lot I can learn from watching his kendo specifically.