Kazunori (Kaz) was born in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan.
Kaz started kendo at the age of 9 at the Seishinkan (誠心館) Dojo in Nagoya, Japan, a dojo that his father started. He and his sisters all had to join the dojo and practice kendo even though they much preferred gymnastics to Kendo.
Kaz currently practices at Costa Mesa Kendo Dojo (CMKD) and holds the rank of 4 Dan.
Who was your primary sensei when you started Kendo?
Yamaguchi-sensei at CMKD. I had several sensei at Seishinkan-Dojo from Aichi Police department, though, back in Japan.
When did you last participate in a Kendo promotion exam and what was the experience like?
It was 2013 when I passed my 4 Dan examination and became a sensei. But it had been almost 30 years since I passed my 3 Dan, so I had forgotten some important fundamentals. In fact, I was standing in the wrong position and failed my first attempt at the 4 Dan promotion.
Were you on any teams that represented your region, or the USA? What years?
I'm currently on SCKF Senior Team for the U.S. Nationals tournament to be held during the Summer of 2017.
Have you received any major awards / placements (SCKF / USA, WKC)?
In 2008 I placed 1st at the North/South tournament in the 3/4-Dan division. In 2010 at the first SCKF Memorial Tournament, I took first place in the 4 Dan and above division.
What do you emphasize when you teach?
The enjoyment of Kendo and strictness.
Do you have a favorite waza? Besides feeling that you're adept at that waza, why do you enjoy it so much?
My favorite waza is Nuki-Do. I feel like I'm cutting the opponent's body in half; it feels so good!
Do you have any moments of regret related to Kendo?
I missed some good opportunities due to injuries and surgery.
What about Kendo do you love most?
We can practice and compete regardless of age. The depth of Kendo skill.
Did you ever take an extended leave away from Kendo? Why? What made you come back to Kendo?
I couldn't practice between 1993 - 2008 due to my workload and family. But I came back to Kendo because I wanted to practice with my son, and to teach other kids.
Were there any sensei or kenshi whom you looked up to?
What teaching or lesson from your sensei do you hold on to most dearly?
"Conquer Oneself." "The only one who can beat me is me."