NOW AVAILABLE online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million. Martial arts training is unique in that it aims to develop the body, mind and spirit of the practitioner. Even more special is having the opportunity to apprentice under a true exponent from the lands where the budo were developed and fostered. In 1990 Dan Popp had the good fortune to meet Duk Yeong Kim Sensei, and what transpired was a 17 year journey of studying traditional Japanese Kendo (Way of the Sword) and Shodo (Way of the Brush). In Sensei’s Final Lessons, Dan outlines various lessons learned during the last five years of his sensei’s life – lessons that are not necessarily related to martial techniques and training methods, but also include concepts and ideas to continually hone and polish the mind and spirit. Lessons that Kim Sensei believed and demonstrated by example each and every day – as a dedicated follower of the budo should. This book provides a glimpse into the mind and spirit of a true martial arts Renaissance man as Dan’s sensei provided him instruction in not only the martial arts, but also the Japanese aesthetic arts such as Shodo calligraphy. Duk Yeong Kim was from an era before the official formulation of Kendo – and Dan’s story will give the reader some sense of what it’s like to train in the Japanese arts of Kendo and Shodo and the guiding principles garnered from such training.
Dan’s journey in martial arts began in 1982 at the age of 15 under his father in Isshin Ryu karate. Current holding the rank of Roku-dan (6th degree black belt), Dan was named the 2008 Male Instructor of the Year by the International Isshin Ryu Hall of Fame. He has also served on the Board of Directors for the Order of Isshin Ryu, founded by Toby Cooling in 1971. In 1990 Dan began his study of Kendo (traditional Japanese swordsmanship) under Duk Yeong Kim, progressing to the rank of Yon-dan (4th degree black belt). Kim Sensei also provided Dan instruction in the art of Shodo, or Japanese calligraphy. Although his sensei passed away in 2007, Dan continues to practice Shodo to honor his teacher. His art has exhibited in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 2009 and 2010 where he was listed in Central PA magazine and Lancaster magazine. Dan’s training in martial arts also includes Modern Arnis and Kombatan, stick fighting arts originating in the Philippines. Dan has also promoted two tournament for the World Kumdo Association (Korean Kendo) in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The 1st World Kumdo Association tournament held in 1998 and the 2nd U.S Open Kudo Championships held in 2001 where he received the Kumdo Ambassador Award. A 1994 graduate of Pennsylvania State University’s Capitol College in Middletown, Pennsylvania, with a B.S. in Professional Accountancy. Dan was employed in 1999 by the National Credit Union Administration where he still serves as a federal examiner specializing in IT audits. He resides in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania with his two daughters.