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Benjamin H. Hazard, 91, d. May 16, 2011. R.I.P.

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  • Benjamin H. Hazard, 91, d. May 16, 2011. R.I.P.

    Benjamin H. Hazard, 91, entered into eternal rest on May 16, 2011. Daughter Malyne said, "Unexpectedly Monday Papa passed away in his sleep. Another extraordinary man gone. Sad times now, but looking back on a splendid life filled with good friends."

    Son of [Worcester] Massachusetts, he became a world traveler, serving in the United States Army during World War II and the Korean conflict as a language officer in the Pacific Theater. He continued to serve as a reserve officer and retired with the rank of Colonel.

    After receiving a PhD in History from the University of California at Berkeley, he was a History Professor for many years at San Jose State University . A student of Japanese martial arts, he achieved 7-dan Hanshi in Kendo, and was instrumental in fostering the growth of Kendo, Kyudo and Naginata in California.

    Preceded in death by his beloved wife Sumie Chikamori Hazard, he is survived by his daughters Daian Hennington, Alyne Hazard, Malyne Hazard, Francesca Custodia, three grandchildren and a host of loving students, friends and extended family.

    Also see Benjamin H. Hazard

  • #2
    Wow. Sounds like he got a lot of living done in those 91 years. RIP indeed.

    Comment


    • #3
      Rest in peace, Hazard sensei, and deepest condolences to his family and friends.



      Photo by Richard Hill, NCKF/NCIA.

      Comment


      • #4
        Dr. Hazard's article on post-war kendo is in the AUSKF website archive. Hazard sensei had great stories of his early kendo experience in post-war Japan. His involvement from the 1950's onward in the development of kendo in the U.S. is huge. I understand he even prepared the draft of the constitution and by laws of the AUSKF. I enjoyed his presence at tournaments past and will treasure his conversations. I hope his legacy is duly celebrated to help fill the void his absence leaves. My sincerest condolences to his loved ones.

        Comment


        • #5
          Before that article appeared, I heard the story from Dr. Hazard himself several times.

          In his memory, this evening I played the Buddhist funeral piece Banshiki on shakuhachi prior to our Naginata class in our dojo.

          Comment


          • #6
            An extraordinary man, indeed.
            I was working for a computer company in Cupertino, California in 1975 when a co-worker told me about this wild thing he had seen years before called Kendo. He had located a dojo at nearby San Jose State University and I went down with him to watch a practice. We both started soon thereafter and I have been going ever since. It was then that I first met Benjamin H. Hazard Sensei. I have often wondered what to call him; Professor for his profession as a college history instructor, Doctor for his scholarly achievements, or Sensei because he set my feet on the path they have been following ever since.
            Hazard Sensei stressed to us that the most important thing in Kendo was reigei (I am told younger folks now call this reiho). Proper behavior at all times was the cornerstone of Kendo at San Jose State Kendo club. I am so thankful that he pounded this into me, for everywhere I have gone in the world of Kendo, knowing how to act has prevented me from making a total ass of myself, something I am quite capable of doing without any outside assistance.
            Hazard Sensei also stressed fundamentals. He said proper form will beat speed but it took years for me to accept that. I was hell bent on winning at shiai but I never did well at tournaments. The more determined I was to do well the quicker I was eliminated. Then I went to a tournament at Watsonville simply because no one else could go. I figured I would represent the dojo, fight my one match, and go home. I surprised myself by nearly taking third place. The light went on and I realized what Sensei had been trying to pound into my head.
            Much of what Hazard Sensei taught came from the sensei he trained with in Japan. He spoke often of his sensei, Masami Tanaya, and Tanaya Senseis sensei, Mochida Sensei. He talked so much of Mochida Sensei that I thought he had trained with him. I put that in an article I wrote for a tournament booklet and I got a late night phone call from him correcting me. He talked of seeing Saimura Goro Sensei (10-dan) whip forty guys in a row. He talked of Torao Mori Sensei as if he could walk on water. They had become good friends in the last few years of Mori Senseis life and Hazard Sensei drove us crazy trying to teach us high level techniques that he learned from Mori Sensei. It took me years to figure out any of them.
            Much of what we learned from him came at the Grande Pizzeria following practice. After a grueling two hour practice (twice a week), a hot shower in the school locker room, we (usually about ten of us) would rush to this restaurant just off campus to spend the rest of the evening eating pizza, drinking beer (wine in his case), and discussing every subject under the sun. He and I often discussed military matters as we were both combat veterans, he in WWII and Korea, I in Viet Nam.
            I wrote an article for the South Eastern U.S. Kendo Federation newsletter on Hazard Sensei. It includes a photo of a very Young Hazard Sensei and a young Gordon Warner Sensei along with the members of the 1952 University of California Kendo Club. MikeW has these things on file (he is the secretary of SEUSKF). Perhaps if some of you will bug him, he will post it for the rest of you.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by kstrawn View Post
              An extraordinary man, indeed.
              I was working for a computer company in Cupertino, California in 1975 when a co-worker told me about this wild thing he had seen years before called Kendo. He had located a dojo at nearby San Jose State University and I went down with him to watch a practice. We both started soon thereafter and I have been going ever since. It was then that I first met Benjamin H. Hazard Sensei. I have often wondered what to call him; Professor for his profession as a college history instructor, Doctor for his scholarly achievements, or Sensei because he set my feet on the path they have been following ever since.
              Hazard Sensei stressed to us that the most important thing in Kendo was reigei (I am told younger folks now call this reiho). Proper behavior at all times was the cornerstone of Kendo at San Jose State Kendo club. I am so thankful that he pounded this into me, for everywhere I have gone in the world of Kendo, knowing how to act has prevented me from making a total ass of myself, something I am quite capable of doing without any outside assistance.
              Hazard Sensei also stressed fundamentals. He said proper form will beat speed but it took years for me to accept that. I was hell bent on winning at shiai but I never did well at tournaments. The more determined I was to do well the quicker I was eliminated. Then I went to a tournament at Watsonville simply because no one else could go. I figured I would represent the dojo, fight my one match, and go home. I surprised myself by nearly taking third place. The light went on and I realized what Sensei had been trying to pound into my head.
              Much of what Hazard Sensei taught came from the sensei he trained with in Japan. He spoke often of his sensei, Masami Tanaya, and Tanaya Sensei’s sensei, Mochida Sensei. He talked so much of Mochida Sensei that I thought he had trained with him. I put that in an article I wrote for a tournament booklet and I got a late night phone call from him correcting me. He talked of seeing Saimura Goro Sensei (10-dan) “whip forty guys in a row.” He talked of Torao Mori Sensei as if he could walk on water. They had become good friends in the last few years of Mori Sensei’s life and Hazard Sensei drove us crazy trying to teach us high level techniques that he learned from Mori Sensei. It took me years to figure out any of them.
              Much of what we learned from him came at the “Grande Pizzeria” following practice. After a grueling two hour practice (twice a week), a hot shower in the school locker room, we (usually about ten of us) would rush to this restaurant just off campus to spend the rest of the evening eating pizza, drinking beer (wine in his case), and discussing every subject under the sun. He and I often discussed military matters as we were both combat veterans, he in WWII and Korea, I in Viet Nam.
              I wrote an article for the South Eastern U.S. Kendo Federation newsletter on Hazard Sensei. It includes a photo of a very Young Hazard Sensei and a young Gordon Warner Sensei along with the members of the 1952 University of California Kendo Club. MikeW has these things on file (he is the secretary of SEUSKF). Perhaps if some of you will bug him, he will post it for the rest of you.
              Thank you for that - very nicely written

              Comment


              • #8
                I just saw this post/article about the passing of Sensei Hazard. A truly fascinating and wonderful person whom I had the honor to meet at the 12th WKC in Scotland way back in 2003. We were staying the same hotel in Glasgow and met in the pub around the corner. He talked about his time as a radio operator in the army and his passion with linguistics and the common link written languages based on pictograms had. Very sad to hear of his passing.

                One day we'll all meet again in the great dojo in the sky.

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