Since 1979, Dan Kawakami, 6th dan, has been the chief instructor of the Orange County Buddhist Church (OCBC) Aikido Club in Anaheim, California. Kawakami Sensei also travels around the US and abroad many times a year to instruct seminars on the art of Aikido and also teaches a Zen meditation class at the Orange County Aikikai.
Kawakami Sensei teaches the principles of Aikido through an emphasis on breathing, posture, and the correct distribution of tension and relaxation in the body. He is often heard reminding students to relax their upper body, to stand up straight, and to pay attention to harmonizing with the attacker now, in the present.
To focus on throwing the attacker separates the mind and body, interfering with the effective execution of technique. When the mind and body are unified, the result is seemingly effortless techniques that are nonetheless effective and efficient. More importantly, mind-body unification will lead to calmness under stress, awareness and the ability to respond effectively and appropriately to the demands of everyday life.
Dan Kawakami started his training with Harry Ishisaka Sensei at the Orange County Aikikai in 1969 and trained under him until he passed away in 1978.
He also worked closely with Rod Kobayashi Sensei during the 70′s who was starting and developing a Shin Shin Toitsu (Ki Society) Aikido program at California State University, Fullerton. Kobayashi later went on to form Seidokan Aikido, an independent Aikido organization.
Another facet of Kawakami Sensei’s background is his Zen training under Tanouye Tenshin Roshi of the Daihonzan Chozen-ji International Zen Dojo in Honolulu, Hawaii. He started his Zen training in 1980 and feels that he has developed a deeper understanding of the cultural and philosophical underpinnings of Aikido and the martial arts in general. Kawakami Sensei has been certified as a lay teacher of Zen meditation and led Zen meditation classes at the Orange County Aikikai for many years.