Instructors - Lineage - History
Dr. Jigorō Kanō (嘉納 治五郎) Kano Jigoro
December 10th 1860 – May 4th 1938)
Dr. Jigoro Kano was a Japanese educator, athlete, and the founder of Judo. Judo was the first Japanese martial art to gain widespread international recognition, and the first to become an official Olympic sport. Pedagogical innovations attributed to Kanō include the use of black and white belts, and the introduction of dan ranking to show the relative ranking among members of a martial art style. Well-known mottoes attributed to Kanō include "Maximum Efficiency with Minimum Effort" （精力善用 Sei-ryoku Zen-you）and "Mutual Welfare and Benefit"（自他共栄 Ji-ta Kyou-ei）
Kyuzo Mifune (三船 久蔵) Mifune Kyūzō
April 21st 1883 – January 27th 1965
Kyuzo Mifune has been categorized as one of the greatest exponents of the art of judo after the founder, Kanō Jigorō. He is considered by many to be the greatest judo technician ever, after Kanō. It is said that after 60 years of daily practice, and going undefeated in randori, Mifune was called the 'God of Judo'. Mifune Sensei acted as one of the primary instructors of Judo at the Kodokan following Kano's Death in 1938. Shortly before his death, Mifune Sensei wrote and published 'The Canon of Judo', widely regarded as the most comprehensive and highly regarded text on the subject.
M.Sgt Shoichi 'Thomas' Kadomoto (正一 。トーマス 。角本)
August 24th 1917 – March 28th 2006
Tom Kadomoto was born from Japanese migrant farmers in Phoenix Arizona. After growing up in Arizona, Tom and the rest of his family returned to Japan for the primary purpose of getting a proper Japanese education. He went on to attend a private high school in Japan from 1929-1936, paid by the sizable life insurance of his late father who passed away hours after returning to Japan. It was during this time that Tom learned Kodokan Judo under the supervision of Kyuzo Mifune. In 1937, to avoid being drafted into the Japanese Imperial Army, he returned to the United States and entered into The United States Military Service as a army medical officer the following year. During his time in active duty he operated as an intelligence agent, and front line interrogator, and acted as the primary translator and interpreter for General Douglas MacArthur for the duration of the Pacific theater. Tom was and still is a true American hero, achieving 23 'Firsts' as a Asian American, including being one of the first to volunteer for service during WWII, the first Japanese American to receive a bronze star, to own and operate a insurance agency, an honorary adviser of The Asian Chamber of Commerce and as the first Honorary Ambassador to Japan of Arizona. Tom dedicated his life to his pursuits as an educator, education administrator, an active participant in local diplomacy as well as a scholar in early Asian American studies and a translator of Buddhist texts.
Judo Godan, Aikido Rokkudan
February 3rd 1937 - July 22nd 2013
Tony Sakakibara was born in Handa, Japan. He trained in judo as a young man and held the rank of 5th Dan in judo. He began his Aikido training in August 1968, with Jon Takagi Sensei. He was awarded his Shodan by Shizuo Imaizumi Sensei July 7, 1972. In the great Aikido shake-up of 1974, Arizona Aikikai became a part of the new Ki Society under Koichi Tohei Sensei and Sakakibara Sensei received his Nidan May 6, 1975, and his Sandan December 16, 1980, under Rod Kobayashi Sensei. After Takakgi Sensei's death in February 1984, Sakakibara Sensei took over as Chief Instructor of what had become Arizona Aikido. Arizona Aikido returned to its roots with Hombu Dojo through the Western Region of the United States Aikido Federation headed by T. K. Chiba Sensei, 8th Dan. Sakakibara Sensei was awarded his 4th Dan August 5, 1986, by Chiba Sensei. In 1988, Arizona Aikido affiliated with Aikido Schools of Ueshiba and began training under Mitsugi Saotome Sensei, 8th Dan. Saotome Sensei awarded Sakakibara Sensei 5th Dan May 1, 1992, and 6th Dan January 20, 1999. Sakakibara Sensei serve as Chief Instructor Emeritus of Arizona Aikido until his death.
Robert Chavez Corella
Judo Yodan, Araki Ryu Iaido Yodan
December 13th 1946 - 2021
Robert Corella first started his martial arts training with Tom 'Shoichi' Kadomoto, training in Judo in September of 1961. While a student he would become fast friends with Tony Sakakibara who provided additional instruction in Judo. Sensei Corella held the rank of 4th Dan in Judo after nearly a lifetime of service and instruction. His iaido training began in September of 1983 in Himeji, Japan. He was a 4th dan in Araki Ryu Iaido. Sensei Corella had a B.A. in Education and a Masters degree in Education Leadership. His minor was Japanese language and he also obtained an Asian Studies Certificate from Arizona State University. He traveled to Japan 20 times to study Judo and Iaido. While in Japan he learned how to repair various parts of Japanese swords. Including making scabbards, lacquering and wrapping handles. His hobbies included collecting Japanese antiques and bonsai. He has been president of the Japan-America Society of Arizona for the 7 years. He was active in many local and national Japanese organizations. He was the first person to introduce Iaido to the state of Arizona in 1985. Sensei Robert Corella, passed away in the spring of 2021 and was greatly missed by his students, friends and family.
Robert Dale Nolan
Cactus Sage Head Coach, Judo Shodan
February 2nd 1987 - present
A native Phoenician and former amateur boxer, started his Judo training in 2010 at Phoenix College chiefly under the instruction of Sensei Anthony Enriquez and Brett Little. There he served as captain and president of the Phoenix College Judo and Jujitsu Club from 2010 - 2013. In the spring of 2013 he was granted a scholarship to briefly study abroad through the Japan Foundation or (国際交流基金 Kokusai Kōryū Kikin), a part of Japan’s Foreign ministry, to study the language, culture, and religion of Japan. During this time he studied at the Kodokan under Shimoyama Harukuni, and Makoto Sakashita. Going forward, he went on to win 1st place in the "Arizona Freestyle Open" (2012) and 1st & 2nd place in USJA Regional "Wild West Judo Classic" (2014 - 2015 respectively). During the spring of 2013, he began his primary study of Judo under Robert Chavez Corella. In the Summer of 2015 he founded the cornerstone program of Cactus Sage School, the Cactus Sage Judo Club, where he continues his continued to train under the guidance of Sensei 'Bob' Corella, Anthony Enriquez and Kevin Scarbrough. He currently holds Academic degrees in International & American Indian Studies, International Languages (Japanese), and a B.A. from the University of Arizona in Global and Intercultural Studies. Robert is currently a member of the USAJUDO where he is a nationally certified coach and also holds certification in SafeSport, Heads-Up Concussion, CPR/AED/First Aid for children/adults.