Harry Dach ~ Kendo 4.dan, Iaido 5.dan


Harry Dach-sensei is the head instructor of the Memphis Kendo Club. He retired as a Gunnery Sergeant after more than 20 years of service with the U.S. Marine Corps, and he started his Kendo training more than 30 years ago while stationed in Iwakuni, Japan. There, he was one of the very first (ever) non-Japanese students of Takaaki Nakahama-sensei, who spent his entire life trying to pursue perfection in the art. Before leaving Japan, Nakahama-sensei gifted Dach-sensei with 32 complete sets of Kendo armor (bogu) on the condition that he pass on all his Kendo learning at no charge to those willing to learn.
After his return from Japan, Dach-sensei settled in Millington, TN and in 1985, was approached by Patrick Register about starting a Kendo club. These two men are the very foundation of Kendo (and Iaido) in Memphis.

In 1986, Dach-sensei returned to Yamaguchi City, Japan and successfully passed his 4.dan examination. In fact, all of Dach-sensei's promotionals for both Kendo and Iaido have taken place in Japan.
Nakahama-sensei, Kyoshi 7.dan

One of Nakahama-sensei's lifetime goals was to make a musashi shugyu (i.e., a "walk") across Japan, practicing Kendo with as many sensei as possible, but unfortunately, this dream was never realized as he succumbed to cancer. In 1991, Dach-sensei took up Nakahama-sensei's vision and returned yet again to Japan to fulfill that dream and after 6 months of such colorful experiences as sleeping under a spider-infested abandoned house during a rainstorm, a scary meeting with a wild boar in a bamboo forest, and waking up at a truck stop with more than 3000 Yen on his chest, Dach-sensei had successfully travelled the entire length of Japan, from Hokkaido to Iwakuni, by foot (and some hitch hiking), having practiced with many fellow kendo enthusiasts and sensei along the way.  (Documented in Black Belt Magazine, 1994, "Kendo Stylist Walks Across Japan" by Sandra Kessler).

Since 1985, Dach-sensei has adhered to his promise to Nakahama-sensei by teaching Kendo every week to anyone with the desire to learn, never once having accepted a single dollar from any of his students for his efforts.

In addition to his Kendo background, Dach-sensei holds the rank of 5.dan in Iaido and is a student of 3-time All-Japan Iaido Champion, Takeshi Nakagaki-sensei.

When he is not practicing with a sword or shinai, Dach-sensei is involved in many different projects ranging from teaching video/film arts at Shelby State Community College to independent filmmaking (editing, production, writing, and acting).

Patrick Register ~ Kendo 5.dan, Iaido 2.dan

Patrick Register was the first kendo (and iaido) student of Dach-sensei in Memphis.  He is the only current student to have traveled to Japan to train directly with Memphis Kendo's founding father, Nakahama-sensei, prior to his death.   He was twice selected to the All-Southeast U.S. Kendo Team, competing at the All-U.S. National Championships in Cleveland, OH (1996) and Las Vegas, NV (1999). At Las Vegas, he placed in the top-16 of the Men's Individual Division, making him one of the best active, competitive kendo players in the United States at the time.

Pat is a professional musician/singer/songwriter, having been on the Memphis music scene for many years with such bands as Come In Berlin, The Lost Boys, and Voodoo Village.  He is a regular fixture as a solo artist in many clubs and restaurants around Memphis and continues to tour with bands across the country.  Pat regularly contributes to the music ministries of several local churches, and has toured and worked directly with such music legends as Al Jarreau, Al Green, Kirk Whalum, Rufus Thomas, Toto and Survivor.  His professional website is http://www.patregister.com/

Kazuto Yasuda ~ Kendo 4.dan


Kazuto Yasuda started Kendo many years ago while in Japan and joined Memphis Kendo Club in 1995 when he came to Memphis to do cancer research at St Jude Children's Research Hospital. He received his Ph.D. in pharmacological sciences in December 2009 and continues to do research at St Jude's.
"Yaz" has regularly served as captain of the Memphis Kendo Club's primary 5-man Team and was selected as a member of the All-Southeast U.S. Kendo Team in 2002, competing at the All-U.S. Kendo National Championships in Los Angeles.

Rogers Gossett ~ Kendo 4.dan

Rogers Gossett has been with Memphis Kendo Club under Harry Dach-sensei's teaching since 1994. He has twice been selected to the All-Southeast U.S. Kendo Team and competed in the All-U.S. National Championships both in 1996 (Cleveland) and 1999 (Las Vegas).

Outside of kendo, he works as a Labor Relations Advisor in the Contract Administration department of FedEx's Legal Division.

Walter White ~ Kendo 4.dan

Walter White is a 20+ year veteran of the Memphis Kendo Club, having started his tenure under Harry Dach-sensei at the club's first location at the Raleigh Community Center.  He is continually seeking to learn more about kendo and is especially appreciative of the opportunity to learn from the sensei in the Memphis Kendo Club.  He has also had the benefit of other sensei over the years to include Shinobu Maeda-sensei (Kyoshi, 7.dan), Philip Hyun-sensei (6.dan), Susumu Yazaki-sensei (Kyoshi, 7.dan), Michio Kajitani-sensei (Kyoshi, 7.dan), Arthur Murakami-sensei (Kyoshi, 7.dan), and more.

Walter has competed and placed in several SEUSKF Championships over the years.  In 2011, he was selected to the Southeast US Kendo Team and captured the Fighting Spirit Award (Kanto Sho) in the Senior Division of the All-US Kendo Federation National Championshpis in Atlanta.  In 2014, he was again selected to the SEUSKF Team which competed at the AUSKF National Championships in San Diego, CA.  He currently serves as one of the team managers for the SEUSKF Team.  

Don Crittenden ~ Kendo 3.dan, Iaido 3.dan


Don Crittenden has been with both the Memphis Kendo Club and Memphis Iaido Club since 1994 and has trained in both arts under some of the highest ranked Japanese sensei in the United States such as, among others, Shozo Kato-sensei (Kendo 8.dan, Kyoshi/Iaido 7.dan, Kyoshi) and Takeshi Yamaguchi-sensei (Kendo 7.dan, Kyoshi/Iaido 7.dan, Kyoshi). He has maintained a solid position on Memphis Kendo Club's primary 5-man Team which has placed among the very best teams in the 7-state region of the Southeast United States.

Jodi Hilton, Kendo 3.dan

Jodi Hilton has been with the Memphis Kendo Club since 2011.  His most recent competition accomplishment occurred in 2016 when he competed at the SEUSKF Championships as part of the Memphis Men's Team, which captured 3rd place among a division that boasted more than 20 teams.  In addition to serving as an assistant instructor to the club, Jodi plays an active role in club activities and operations, including to help organize and run the 2014 SEUSKF Championships that were held in Memphis.

Outside of Kendo, Jodi holds a Bachelor's Degree in Science with a concentration in BioChemistry, and minors in Biology and Japanese from the University of Memphis.  While at the UofM, he also took part in the university's study abroad program and spent a month in Japan studying the language and culture.