The history of Westside Kendo Dojo begins with our founding sensei, Cary Mizobe. Mizobe Sensei began his study of Kendo at Torrance Kendo Dojo under Sensei George Nakano (California State Assemblyman) and Chris Mori, son of the legendary Torao Mori.
While at Torrance Dojo, Mizobe Sensei developed what was to become a twenty plus year long relationship with West Los Angeles Kendo Dojo. When visiting West LA Dojo, he would train under 8th degree blackbelt Torataro Nakabara and Sensei Shunji Asari.
Mizobe Sensei eventually became a member of West LA Dojo when Nakano Sensei left the Torrance Dojo to pursue his political career and Mori Sensei ceased his study of Kendo. Mizobe Sensei served as assistant head instructor for eight years. He would later serve as head instructor from 1995 to 1999.
In 1999, Mizobe Sensei left West LA Dojo with several of his students, to found Westside Kendo Dojo.
Westside Kendo Dojo, as well as other dojos, continues to be influenced by the spirit of Hanshi Torao Mori. Mori trained many of the early instructors, who are now high ranking Sensei in the Southern California Kendo Federation.
About Hanshi Torao Mori
Mori-hanshi organized Kendo in the U.S. after World War II. He was the first president of the Kendo Federation of the United States of America (KFUSA). He held this position from 1955 to 1969. Mori-hanshi was also a major force in the formation of the International Kendo Federation (IKF) based in Japan.
Mori-hanshi, also an accomplished European-style fencer, coached the Japanese Olympic Fencing Team in the Rome and Mexico games. He was an official at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
On January 8, 1969, while practicing the martial art that he loved, Mori-hanshi succumbed to a heart attack. At the time of his death, Mori-sensei held the rank of 8-Dan, Hanshi (8th degree black belt, master level). He was only 54 years old.
To this day, Mori-hanshi is still revered by Kendoists all over the world. He has been called a “modern-day Samurai” and a “20th century Miyamoto Musashi”.