A Brief History of Shidogakuin Miami Kendo Club

Our club originally began as the Miami Kendo Club, founded in 1986.  Our original head instructor was Keishi Yamamoto.  He stressed the principles of diligence, basic practice, respect and constant attention to improvement which has guided our club since its inception.  In 1992, we became affiliated with Shozo Kato sensei and Shidogakuin Limited, which has now been existence over 25 years.  We have participated in this proud tradition through seminars and tournaments with the tutelage of Kato sensei and the shared and varied experiences of our advanced degree kendo members.

Our dojo facilities have been varied over the years.  We began in a ballet studio in Miami. We then moved to Samson's Gym in Hallandale where we stayed for many years, and our club grew significantly.  We later moved to a karate dojo in Miami, where we were fortunate to meet Masanari Onizuka sensei, who became our chief instructor at the dojo.  Due to many circumstances, our original club divided into two.  The South Florida Kendo Club remains at this facility, while the Shidogakuin Miami Kendo Club, along with most of its ranking members, moved to another karate dojo in Miami.  Onizuka sensei eventually moved back to Nagasaki, and currently, our practices are run by our senior ranking members, 3rd dan and above.  We have since moved to locations in Dania Beach and Miramar, and now we are maintaining classes in Plantation in Broward County.  With these changes in locations, we have been fortunate to have members who have brought a variety of kendo experiences to the dojo, many with training in Japan.

Despite our changing facilities and membership over the years, our dedication to this incredible art has remained strong.  We continue to focus on the basics of kendo, constantly working on footwork and basic swing drills at every practice.  We feel we can never stop learning in kendo.  The lessons we learn on the dojo floor are lessons we can apply in our daily lives.  This is the essence of our training philosophy.

Shidogakuin, School of the Japanese Way

(adapted from primary source: Shidogakuin website)

The original Shidogakuin dojo was established in 1984 by Shozo Kato and Tsuyoshi Inoshita, initially under the name of Doshikan.  Shidogakuin has since grown from a single dojo in Manhattan into an organization that includes many affiliated dojo along the east coast, including Connecticut, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., and, of course, our dojo in Florida. 

Our head instructor is Shozo Kato, Kendo 8th dan Kyoshi and Iaido 7th dan Kyoshi.  He visits us when he can, but often, we visit affiliated dojos when our members are near one of them.

Kato sensei has been practicing kendo and iaido for almost four decades each.  He served as head coach for the U.S. national kendo team for the 10th World Kendo Championships in Kyoto, Japan in 1997 and again for the 11th world championships in Santa Clara, CA in 2000.  In 2006, he served as one of the judges for the 13th World Kendo Championships in Taipei, Taiwan. As one of the highest-ranking iaido practitioners in the U.S., he has also served as head instructor for numerous regional iaido seminars. 

At Shidogakuin, we welcome both novices and experienced students. We emphasize the fundamentals that will enable practitioners to continuously develop their skills and hone their spirit for a lifetime of rewarding practice.

Kendo is great physical exercise, but it is also much more than a sport. At Shidogakuin, we approach kendo as a budo - the traditional Japanese concept of martial arts that views our practice as a life's journey, emphasizing proper etiquette and self-development.