Instructors (Sensei)

Picture of Steven Timbrook sensei in his bogu (armor).

Photo © Jerry Chen

Howard Babus


Howard Babus-sensei (4-Dan), is the dojo’s Head Instructor. He practiced with Hattanda-sensei for 30 years.

Steven Timbrook


Steven Timbrook-sensei (4-Dan), practiced with Hattanda-sensei for 17 years and administers the dojo roster.

IN HONOR OF HATTANDA MIKIO SENSEI (7-Dan). The instructors of the Santa Barbara Kendo Dojo teach the Busen-style kendo with emphasis on form and basics (kihon). Our beloved sensei passed away in December, 2012. We honor him by continuing his teachings. May he rest in peace.

Picture of Hattanda sensei with his shinai in the Santa Barbara Kendo Dojo

Photo © Jerry Chen

Frequently Asked Questions


May I visit the dojo?


Yes of course. We strongly encourage you to contact us by e-mail for practice times and location. You may come to observe or participate.


How old do I have to be to begin?


All ages are welcome; however, due to the size of the practice area we cannot accept young children. If you are a parent and need clarification or would like to ask us to consider your child for membership, please contact us by e-mail.


Are there special beginner's practices?


Yes. Beginner's instruction starts at 7:30 PM on Thursdays. There will be an hour of beginner's instruction before the regular practice starts. You are welcome to stay after 8:30 PM for the regular practice and observe as the floor will be for the people in bogu only.


What equipment will I have to purchase right away?


It is recommended that you purchase a shinai, or bamboo sword as soon as possible. If you are not sure about joining before you first visit the dojo and want to participate, you may borrow a shinai from one of the other students.


You will not have to purchase the kendo uniform (keikogi and hakama) right away, either. It is important, however, that you wear comfortable workout type clothing so you can move freely and easily. Most people purchase their keikogi and hakama after a few weeks of practice.


What about women or girls?


Many of the top kendo practitioners are women. That's perhaps one of the most enjoyable aspects of kendo in that men and women of all ages and abilities can practice together and learn from each other.


How soon can I practice in armor (bogu)?


That depends on how hard you practice. If you're like most people, you can expect to spend anywhere from 6-8 months working on "basics." During this time, you'll be progressing from beginner’s drills and footwork on your own to more advanced strikes delivered to other more senior club members (sempai). You will also be watched carefully by the sensei (instructor) who will determine when it is appropriate for you to transition into bogu.


Why can't I put the bogu on right away?


This is as much for your safety as it is for the safety of others. Kendo is truly a lifelong pursuit when done properly and one must master the basics. The basics in this case include not only wearing the armor, but learning to deliver and receive strikes safely and with appropriate force.


What is "Busen-style" kendo?


Further reading on the Busen school of kendo can be found here.


Are there monthly or annual dues? How much will it cost to join the SB Kendo Dojo?


If you decide you would like to join the Santa Barbara Kendo Dojo, you will need to prepay 3 months dues ($50/month) and join the All U.S. Kendo Federation ($40/year-$25 for under 18 years old) and the Southern California Kendo Federation ($26/year-$14 for under 18 years old).


Why do I need to join the SCKF and AUSKF?


The memberships are necessary in order for you to be covered by the Federation liability insurance, which is required by the Buddhist Temple for our dojo to hold its practice sessions there, and for you to be able to participate in tournaments and take proficiency tests for advancement in rank.


Are there any other practices besides the one on Thursdays?


There are additional practices for advanced kenshi every Monday at Girls' Inc. in Carpinteria from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm. If you are a beginner who is not yet in bogu, you may come to observe. However, the instructors prefer to reserve this hour for instructing the more advanced kenshi only.


You didn't answer my question. May I e-mail somebody at the dojo?


Absolutely. Please go to the Contact page and we will be happy to help.



Practice Schedule


Beginner's Practice


Practice for beginners is held every Thursday night at 7:30 PM - 8:30 PM at the Santa Barbara Buddhist Church at 1015 E. Montecito St. in Santa Barbara, CA.


The Beginner's schedule will be as follows:


7:30 - Begin class.


7:45 - Warm-up exercises, line up, mokuso, bow in and practice basics.


8:25 - Stretching exercises, line up, mokuso, bow out to end at 8:30.


This is a special practice time for beginners. For those who are just starting or those who have been with us for a while but are not yet in bogu, please show up at this time. You are welcome and encouraged to stay and observe the regular practice; however, the whole floor is for those in bogu.


Regular Practice


Regular practice is held every Thursday night at 8:30 PM - 10:00 PM at the Santa Barbara Buddhist Church.


The regular schedule will be as follows:


8:30 - Begin class. Kata exercises until 9:00. Stop earlier if people have had adequate time to practice kata.


9:00 - Warm-up exercises, line up, mokuso, bow in. Kiri kaeshi, various kihon and waza keiko.


9:30 - Jigeiko in 3-minute, timed bouts so we can practice with several partners, ending with kakari geiko and kiri kaeshi.


9:55 - Stretching exercises, line up, mokuso, bow out to end at 10:00.




Important Links!


Southern California Kendo Federation (SCKF)


All-United States Kendo Federation (AUSKF)


Santa Barbara Kendo YouTube Channel!

Videos of our kendoka during tests.


Kendo World

A great resource for all things related to kendo. They also put out a great magazine for iPad and Kindle!


Kendo Baka

Kendo Blog from Taro Ariga-sensei of E-bogu.



Online store for kendo equipment.


The Santa Barbara Kendo Dojo is a member of the Southern California Kendo Federation. | © 2013-2016 Santa Barbara Kendo Dojo | Site desdign by Tyson Blades Photography