Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Memphis Iaido History

The Memphis Iaido Club was started by Harry Dach, a retired USMC Gunny. Harry Dach trained in Japan for many years and upon retiring went back in 1991 to travel across Japan by foot and hitch hiking. The trip took 6 months to finish. He had many memorable experiences such as sleeping under a spider infested unoccupied 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. With all that said..he owes his experiences and gratitute to his Iaido Sensei..Nakagaki Sensei of Shin Minato Iwakuni and his Kendo Sensei ..Nakahama Sensei of Iwakuni City.
Nakagaki Sensei was the all Japan Grand national Champion three times. Harry Dach and Nakagaki Sensei would spend hours , before and after training, talking about techniques and history. Harry Dach remembers Nakagaki Senseis ability to throw thumb tacs into the ceiling and walls a great distances sticking them perfectly nearly every time.
Harry Dach had the opportunity to train with and visit the house of KamiMoto Sensei of Yamaguchi City on numerous occasions. Harry Dach also went to many kashuku (seminars) while in Japan and trained with and got to know some of the greats as Tomi Hara Sensei and Kunida Sensei who took special attention to Harry Dach.
At first Harry Dach thought that his not being Japanese would be a hindrance in his study of Iaido. As time progressed and years went by Harry Dach felt no prejudice against him by any of the Senseis. As a matter of fact, at times Harry Dach felt that too much attention was given to him and less to the Japanese students.
Harry Dach competed in Many tournaments in Japan and did well winning first in some and third or better in others.
To continue his training and help those with a true interest in Iaido, Harry Dach started teaching to others in Memphis. His first two students were Patrick Register and Chris Aday. Chris Aday passed away with cancer but trained till his dying day.
Harry Dach was always treated with the respect and dignity deserving of an Iaido Practioner in Japan. Not so with the US Federation. Harry Dach respects his students highly and will defend there needs as a Gunny in the Marine Corps. He has never taken one penny for his training of others in the past 15 or so years. He states that if it was not for the students POSSIBILITY of getting rank, he would not join the US federation where it seems to be just donating money and nothing in return.
Harry Dach is a Go Dan promoted in Yamaguchi City Japan in August of 1991 in Iaido and a Yon Dan promoted in Yamaguchi City of 1986 in Kendo. He also teaches Judo and other forms of combative sword and unarmed defence. He trained judo with the Japanese Police department in Sasebo Japan in the early 70’s.

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