Shunpookan Aikido - United States
Morihei Ueshiba, now called O-Sensei, meaning 'Great Teacher', founded the martial art known today as Aikido. Born in 1883 in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan, he dedicated himself to becoming strong after seeing his father assaulted by political opponents.
He sought out and studied under masters in many traditional martial arts, eventually becoming an expert at a number of styles of jujitsu (unarmed combat), kenjitsu (sword fighting), and sojitsu (spear fighting).
Dissatisfied with mere strength and technical mastery, he also immersed himself in religious and philosophical studies. The stories of his immense physical strength and martial prowess are impressive enough, but more important is the legacy of nonviolence and human integrity he left to mankind.
Kazuo Chiba was a Japanese Aikido teacher and founder of Birankai International. He served for seven years as uchideshi at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo before being dispatched abroad to help develop Aikido internationally. He held an 8th dan in Aikido, issued by Aikikai world headquarters in Tokyo, Japan and was active in Aikido for over 50 years.
In 1966 he was assigned to Great Britain to form its first national Aikikai organization, the Aikikai of Great Britain. In 1970 he was promoted to 6th Dan and awarded the title Shihan, Master Instructor. In 1975, Chiba returned to Japan to serve as Secretary of the International Department at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo.
William Smith, Shihan started training in 1962. In 1968 he started training under Chiba Sensei and taking on his own students.
He prioritized a direct link to the Hombu dojo and staying true to the style of Aikido taught to him by Chiba Sensei through many changes including the advent of the British Aikido Board and the United Kingdom Aikikai.
Mr Smith was awarded the MBE (Member of the British Empire) for his contributions to the Untied Kingdom through his Aikido.
Brian Burrows, 7th Dan Aikikai has led Shun Poo Kan Aikido since 1977. He was promoted to Shihan in 2016.
Growing from a single school in Wombourne, United Kingdom, Shun Poo Kan now has five dojos in the UK and two in the United States.
Sensei Burrows trained under Chiba Sensei and Smith Sensei and has focused on passing down both the rich philosophy and technical effectiveness found in traditional Aikido.