West LA Kendo Dojo

Since the 1930s, the Japanese Cultural Institute of Sawtelle taught kendo until the cultural animosity of World War II forced Japanese-Americans to shut down all practice of the art. After nearly a decade of inactivity, the West Los Angeles Kendo Dojo was officially founded on October 19th, 1952 . At its birth the dojo had only four kenshi, but membership grew rapidly. The first tournament was held only seven months later, and West LA Dojo became a prominent host for tournaments until the mid 70s.
Torataro Nakabara 8 dan Hanshi was leading person of WLA kendo dojo and remembered as one of the most prominet figure in helping Kendo thrive in America.
Nakabara Sensei was the president of both the Southern California Kendo Federation (SCKF) as well as the USKF. In 1985 he even received an honorable decoration from Emperor Hirohito of Japan for his devotion to the kendo community.
Nakabara Sensei passed away in March 2008. Many distinguished guest instructors have been received at the dojo over the years, including Nakamura Sensei, Ota Sensei, Ishida Sensei, Ishizuka Sensei, Haga Sensei, and Miyazaki Sensei. Currently, Koichi Suyama 7dan Kyoshi is the Master Sensei of the dojo, and the day-to-day duties of dojo classes are handled by Head Instructor, Atsushi Kajioka sensei.

Koichi Suyama
7th Dan - Kyoshi

Atsushi Kajioka
(梶岡 敦)
6th Dan Renshi
Head Instructor

Naohisa Nakada
( 中田直久)
6th Dan


Akira Banchi
( 番地 章)
6th Dan


Masanao Fukuno
6th Dan  

Hayato Mitsuishi
5th Dan
Goichiro Takayama
5th Dan

Heejoo Lee
(李 希柱)
5th Dan

Sigeko Nakamura
4th Dan


  > West LA Kendo Dojo is a non-profit organization founded in 1952.