Nine hundred miles east of their Iowa City, Iowa hometown, Dan and Jillian Colgan brought the discipline and honor of their dojo, the Kojokan Samurai Dojo, to Zenkaikon VI. While a lengthy journey, it is nothing new to the husband-and-wife team. They travel the country demonstrating their techniques to conventions, schools, etc. and will be appearing in New Orleans and Dallas in the coming weeks. On Saturday afternoon, an audience filled the main events hall to bear witness to a demonstration of the techniques used by the Colgans in their teachings. Following this, I had the opportunity to talk with Dan about his life’s work and history.
“I started training in martial arts about 22 years ago and just…fell in love with the science behind it, behind the techniques,” Dan said. Coming from a teaching background, he discovered that the only way to realize his love of martial arts as a full-time career was to open a dojo.
His ultimate goal is simple: to pass the rich heritage of the ancient Japanese onto future generations. “I think there is great value in this, and I think it is important to keep that going in a world that is otherwise short-sighted and faddish.” A violent attack on a friend during his freshman year in college was what prompted him to place a high emphasis on the importance of self-defense. While such attacks are sadly not extinct, Colgan is proud to report that former students of his, when faced with them, are able to apply the techniques used in his class to defend themselves.
However, the disciplinary techniques are not limited to situations featuring violent combat. In fact, as Colgan’s own life proves, the techniques can be applied to almost any given life situation. “Having this systematic approach helps in every aspect,” he explains. “When my son was in college, he was the online editor of his campus paper. Helping him with that reminded me that I really enjoyed that sort of thing; I wanted to be an author ever since high school. By implementing plans, setting goals, and just plotting out everything, I was able to eventually release my own novel.”
This novel, The Pack, is the first of two planned novels of Colgan’s.
Dan and his wife agreed that their first Zenkaikon experience was pleasant and hope to return in 2013.