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Our Chief Instructor:
Sensei Helen Michiyo Nakano

Helen Michiyo Nakano is the chief instructor of the Southern California Naginata Federation (SCNF) and co-founder of the United States Naginata Federation (USNF). She is currently the President of the Southern California Naginata Federation and was nominated and elected by the International Naginata Federation (INF) to serve as a Vice-President. In addition, she serves as a member of the INF Technical Committee. She is also a Past-President of the United States Naginata Federation and became the first Director of the Pan American Zone for the INF, which was formed in Japan in 1990.
She has studied the art of Naginata since 1966, initially studying under Chiyoko Tokunaga Sensei, Yoko Yamao Sensei, and Sachiko Wada Sensei. She trained in Naginata, Kendo and Iaido under the guidance of Torao Mori Sensei until his death.
Nakano Sensei continues to be instrumental in the development of Naginata across the United States. Currently there are 5 dojo (schools) in southern California (Gardena, Pasadena, Irvine, and two (2) in Torrance), with additional dojo located in Lincoln NE and Phoenix AZ. She has conducted numerous seminars throughout the United States and Canada, as well as internationally for the INF.  

She has been teaching Naginata - A Japanese Martial Art at El Camino College since 1998, the only college-accredited Naginata course in the United States.

Nakano Sensei was born in Seattle, Washington. At the age of three (3), she, along with her parents and brothers were incarcerated in Minidoka, Idaho for 3-1/2 years during World War II.  Upon their release, they moved to Oregon where they lived for approximately four (4) years prior to moving to California where she has lived ever since.

Nakano Sensei's husband is George Nakano, Kendo 5-Dan Renshi, and a former member of the California State Assembly and Torrance City Council.

Nakano Sensei currently holds the rank of Kyoshi.