OUR EXCHANGE PROGRAM
Since the founding of the school, Pacific Rim has been host to many instructors from North America, Japan and Korea. Beginning in 1996, Mr. Martyn’s work led to many opportunities to travel domestically and abroad. When possible, he would coordinate his trips with the opportunity to train with world-class instructors in Aikido, Jujutsu and Judo inst. By 2002, Mr. Martyn had trained with numerous World and Olympic Champions as well as leading Aikido Masters and had build many great relationships. One relationship in particular would lead to the beginning of our current exchange program with Japan.
Mr. Martyn first met Mr. Kenichiro Agemizu, Head Judo Coach at Tokai University, in Idaho where he was teaching judo and learning english. He had just graduated Tokai University and was being groomed to take over the Men’s Judo Team. Mr. Martyn had the opportunity to train with Mr. Agemizu many times and develop a friendship of mutual respect. An accomplished competitor in his own right (Bronze Medallist in the All Japan Judo Championships), Mr. Agemizu’s real gift was imparting his knowledge and passion for judo as a coach. Since taking over the team, Mr. Agemizu has built a modern day dynasty, winning 7 national championships in 9 years.
In the summer of 2003, Pacific Rim hosted a seminar with Mr. Agemizu and Mr. Martyn made his first trip to Japan. The seminar with Mr. Agemizu was the first exposure many of our students had to the elegance, power and beauty of Japanese Judo and allowed Mr. Agemizu an opportunity to experience our culture and commitment to traditional martial arts first hand. Since that time, Mr. Agemizu has sent numerous instructors from Tokai to teach and train at Pacific Rim. From 2010 – 2011, Pacific Rim hosted Ms. Eri Sakai, a Tokai University graduate who lived in Oregon for a year, studied English at PCC and developed a deep bond with our students. Since leaving Oregon, Mr. Sakai has returned to Pacific Rim many times to train and share her knowledge.
Word spread about our dojo and in addition to hosting instructors from Tokai University, other instructors have come to Oregon to share their knowledge of true Judo. Some of these visitors include Mr. Shintaro Nakano (Former Member of Japan National Team), Mr. Yasuo Otoguro (All Japan Judo Champion), Ms. Yoko Tanabe (2x Olympic Silver Medalist), and Ms. Aiko Sato (World Champion). At the same time, Mr. Martyn has continued to travel to Japan 1-2 times a year. Each trip, he spends time on the mat expanding his knowledge of true Japanese martial arts as well as introducing our dojo and its approach to some of the most influential and talented instructors in Japan.
One such instructor is Ms. Noriko Kitada, Head Judo Instructor and Professor at Nihon University. Ms. Kitada was an Olympic Bronze Medallist in 1988 and the Head Instructor of Kodogakusha. Kodogakusha was a world-famous dojo founded by her father, where many Olympic and World Champions lived and learned true Judo, including Toshihiko Koga and Hidehiko Yoshida. Mr. Martyn was introduced to Ms. Kitada in 2009 and had the opportunity to train at Kodogakusha and learn much of the history behind the development of Judo in Japan since Kano’s death and the efforts of the All Japan Judo Federation to restore the true intent of Kano’s Judo in Japan and abroad. As Ms. Kitada learned more about Mr. Martyn and his approach to martial arts, she asked to interview him for an article which was published in a National Japanese Judo magazine.
In order to expand training opportunities in other traditional Japanese martial arts, Mr. Martyn joined the International Martial Arts Federation in 2012 as Regional Director for the Americas. Over the years this relationship has led to the establishment of additional open invitations for Pacific Rim’s students to train in Japan in the arts of Karate, Aikido, Nihon Jujutsu, Iaido, and Kobudo. Mr. John Gage, 7th Dan Nihon Jujutsu and Head of IMAF International Division has been instrumental in this relationship.
2016 marked a watershed year in the maturity of our exchange program. In the first quarter of the year, Pacific Rim hosted Ms. Mayumi Omori, a graduate of Teikyo University of Science. In March, Mr. Yasuo Otoguro and Ms. Sakai came to Oregon to teach a judo seminar and collaborate with Mr. Martyn on the development of an integrated judo curriculum. The trip also formalized our relationship with Teikyo University of Science, whereby Pacific Rim’s students have permission to live in Japan and train with the team and more of Teikyo’s students will live and train in Oregon.
In July, Pacific Rim will host its first Japan Study Tour, during which Mr. Martyn will take a group of students to visit some of the dojos he has trained in over the years and learn from a world-class collection of instructors. In addition, the school plans on hosting another instructor from Japan who will live in Oregon and teach at Pacific Rim over the next 12 months. Further, the interest more Japanese instructors to live and train with us has enabled us to include an “International House” as part of our 3 year strategic plan. The house will allow us the ability to host up to 6 visitors at any one time and be overseen by a bi-lingual house manager. Finally, our dojo has been selected to host the 2017 North American National Congress for the International Martial Arts Federation (June), and we are close to finalizing another Japan Judo Tour and Summer Camp in partnership with Mr. Shintaro Nakano.