Details here are for the 2023 seminar. More information will be added over time.
Head instructor: Yano Nobuhiro
This years Edinburgh kendo seminar (2023) will be led by Yano Nobuhiro sensei, kyoshi hachidan. Yano sensei spent decades as one of a small handful of elite professional police kendo instructors that work in Osaka police department.
After graduating from Miyazaki prefectures kendo-powerhouse, Takachiho high school (while still a student his team managed second place in the All Japan High School Championships), he joined Osaka police force in order to pursue his passion for kendo.
As a police man he spent a few years in the tokuren squad (a small group of select men and women whose job is to do kendo day-in-day-out) before being hand-picked to become a police kendo instructor, something than not all tokuren members are given the opportunity to do. His first position after instructor-training finished was a five year stint as a teacher at the Osaka police academy. Soon after this period, in 2008, he passed hachidan on his first attempt (he was 46 years old at the time).
For the last ten+ years, like other police kendo instructors, Yano sensei has moved around different police stations within Osaka prefecture teaching kendo to police men and women of all ages and abilities.
Yano sensei retired from the police in 2021 and is now a kendo teacher at a private university.
The 2023 seminar will be Yano sensei’s second time teaching kendo in Scotland.
Full name: Yano Nobuhiro
Grade: Kyoshi hachidan
Born: 1962, Miyazaki prefecture
Work: Osaka police dept., 1982~2021; Private university, 2021-current
Passed hachidan: 2008 (first attempt)
Instructor: George McCall
George, a fully qualified Japanese high school teacher, has been working at one of Osaka prefectures top academic public high schools for a decade and a half. Teaching kendo is part of his job, which makes him the only non-Japanese public high school kendo teacher in Japan.
George ran Edinburgh kendo club from 2000-2003 before moving to Japan. Since moving to Japan, George has studied kendo almost exclusively under police professionals.
George is the first, and only Scottish kendoka to pass 7th dan.
Full name: George McCall
Grade: Renshi nanadan
Born: 1975, Scotland
Work: Fully qualified high school teacher
Lived in Japan: Since 2003
Assistant instructor: Andy Fisher
Andy is well known in the kendo community for his involvement in the kendo equipment business, with which he has been associated for over a decade now, as well being kendo’s premier YouTuber.
Andy was a member of the U.K. kendo team between 2004-2016, and was the first British athlete to compete in the World Combat Games.
After spending eight years in Japan learning the bogu business, Andy returned with his family to the U.K. Andy and his wife current teach at Preston Ken Shin Kai.
Andy was appointed as the U.K. national kendo team coach in June 2023.
Assistant instructor: Jon Fitzgerald
Jon has been friends with George since 1999, when they both studied iaido together in London. They would both go on to be members of the U.K. Kendo Team, Jon for a much longer period that George was, which saw him competing in many international competitions throughout Europe and the world.
Jon currently lives and works in Athens, Greece, where he is a member of the Greek national kendo team and key member of Athens Kendo Club.
Jon is the youngest British nanadan and the highest grade in the Greek Kendo Federation (awarded Feb 2023).
Full name: Jon Fitzgerald
Grade: Renshi nanadan
Born: 1983, London
Work: Writer/editor of educational materials
Lives: Athens, Greece
Assistant instructor: Nagaura Ryuichi
Ryuichi is a graduate of the high school kendo club that George teaches in Osaka, though he had already graduated before George became the kendo teacher there. They met and established a relationship while Ryuichi was a student at Osaka University. Upon finishing university, Ryuichi worked for a bit in the Kansai region before moving to – and finally settling in – Canada, where he continues to practise kendo.
The 2023 seminar will be Nagaura sensei’s second time teaching kendo in Scotland.
Full name: Nagaura Ryuichi
Born: 1988, Osaka
Work: Investment analyst
Assistant instructor: Goto Hisaya
Goto sensei is a highly experienced high school kendo teacher and shinpan. He worked with George in the same high school from 2016-2023 (he moved school in April 2023), where they ran the kendo club together, and is an active member of the Osaka High School Teachers Kendo Association (OHSTKA). Goto sensei has been selected twice to represent OHSTKA at the All Japan Teachers Seminar, held in the International Budo University every January. This seminar gathers future junior and high school kendo leaders from around Japan for intensive training and study of kendo training methods and referring.
This is his first visit to Europe.
Full name: Goto Hisaya
Born: 1991, Osaka, Japan
Work: High school teacher
Lives: Osaka, Japan