About Washinkan Kendo Dojo

Washinkan, is a community focused non-profit in the Washington D.C. area. Washinkan instructs all level of kendoka in the martial art of kendo, the way of the sword (also referred to as Japanese fencing). Washinkan’s focus is on teaching traditional kendo to the community at large. Our classes incorporate a wide spectrum of age and skill level. Our class structures allow for tailored instruction to our practitioners. Washinkan promotes the art of kendo to foster a better, stronger, more peaceful community.

Washinkan currently has two dojo locations; at the Herndon Community Center in Herndon, VA and the Spring Hill Rec Center in McLean, VA. Check back often for more locations.

Kendo has its roots in the samurai tradition of feudal Japan. The purpose of Kendo, as established by the All Japan Kendo Federation in 1975, is:

  • To mold the mind and body,

  • To cultivate a vigorous spirit,

  • And through correct and rigid training,

  • To strive for improvement in the art of Kendo,

  • To hold in esteem human courtesy and honor,

  • To associate with others with sincerity,

  • And to forever pursue the cultivation of oneself.

  • This will make one be able:

  • To love his/her country and society,

  • To contribute to the development of culture

  • And to promote peace and prosperity among all peoples.



    Washinkan was founded in early 1990s in a school gym in Rockville, Maryland.  Washinkan has grown from 5 members to a community based dojo in the metro Washington area with numerous participants of all ages and is one of the kendo dojos with longest history in the DC metro area.  The vision of Washinkan remains true today, to provide a place to learn traditional art of kendo, while foster continuous improvement of one’s character.  We do not focus on tournament competitions, nor ranking; while our training is central to help our members develop their full potentials and improve their characters, thus enriching the community.


    A Brief history of Washinkan is described herein.  In 1985, James Yan Sensei began his kendo and iaido training in Honolulu, Hawaii, with Chuichi Furuyama Sensei, 9thDan Kendo, Hanshi at Hawaii Kendo Honbu dojo. Post Yan Sensei’s graduate school in Hawaii, he moved to California, and trained at Pasadena Cultural Institute (PCI) with Maki Miyahara Sensei, 8thDan Kendo, Hanshi. In early 1990s, James Yan Sensei founded a kendo dojo in Rockville, Maryland, joining him were founding members Tak Lee, Don Seto, Dan Gandee and Kiddie Gandee. The dojo was named subsequently as National Institute of Health (NIH) Kendo Dojo, since the group practiced at NIH’s Clinical Center, 14thfloor gym.  Yan Sensei subsequently met Shozo Kato Sensei (Godan Kendo at the time) of New York at a kendo seminar in Columbia, Maryland. Shozo Kato Sensei (currently 8thDan Kendo, Kyoshi, 7thDan Iaido) provided over 20 years of kendo and iaido technical guidance and contributed to the growth of Washinkan in significant ways.


    NIH Kendo dojo was renamed to Washinkan Dojo in early 2000.  Washinkan Dojo went through many location changes, and eventually settled in at American Dance Institute (ADI) of Rockville, Maryland.  Yan Sensei later on started a new location in Oakton, Virginia to focus on youth kendo development, while ADI dojo was being managed by Peter Kilpe Sensei  (4thDan Kendo) and Jody Baller Sensei (4thDan Kendo). Taku Kamata Sensei (6thDan, Kendo, Renshi) was the Shihan at ADI, until his work took him to oversea assignments.


    In late 2000, Washinkan Oakton location was moved to Classic Ballet Academy (CBA) at Herndon, Virginia, and Yan Sensei also began teaching kendo at Spring Hill Recreation Center of McLean, where many of the senior members started their kendo. Washinkan at CBA was later moved to Herndon Community Center (HCC) to accommodate growth of its memberships.


    In 2015, ADI dojo was consolidated with Virginia location dojos, and Washinkan named Herndon Community Center as its home dojo, while its Spring Hill, McLean dojo continues to attract new members in the McLean vicinity areas.


    In 2016, as a transition to ensure a long-term and sustainable kendo community in greater Washington DC area for centuries, Yan Sensei initiated a new legal entity to govern Washinkan dojos, the Washinkan Corporation. Yan Sensei remains as the founding board member, while Kennon Crymble Sensei is the President, and Jason Husch Sensei is the Secretary of Washinkan. Washinkan also attained a true non-profit organization status, with IRS 501C3 tax code status.


    In 2018, Kennon Crymble Sensei opened up a new dojo location at Dulles South Community Center in Loudon County, Virginia, named Washinkan Dulles; to continue Washinkan’s core mission of community based kendo development. 

April, 2018 Keystone Tournament

April, 2018 30th Anniversary Cleveland Tournament

March, 2018 Annual Shidogakuin Tournament at Rutgers University

February, 2018 Washinkan Kendo Herndon Group
Herndon Kendo - February 2018

February, 2018 Washinkan Kendo Herndon Beginners Group
Herndon Kendo Beginners - February 2018

YouTube video, "What is Kendo"

NHK - What is Kendo?