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.


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).