A brief personal history in Budo
I started my budo career in 1962 having been introduced to Kendo by R.M.Knutson at the London Judo Society situated near the Oval cricket ground. This is where I first came into contact with Lidstone Sensei and Jock Hopson among many others.
The Shin Bu Kan name was first used In 1965 in Liverpool where my career as a packaging designer was formulating and who at that time held the rank of 2rd Dan Kendo, it was there that I established a Dojo at the Y M C A in Mount Pleasant Liverpool.
After a career move to Brighton as an Illustrator for the westminster press newspaper group based at the Evening Argus, Sussex I established a Shinbukan Kendo club at
the BJA Judo dojo in Kemp Town in 1977. The Brighton Shin Bu Kan dojo was making sound and gradual progress when Jock Hopson Sensei arrived from Japan with Ishido Shizufumi Sensei, then a young Nanadan Kyoshi in the August of 1979, whereupon he introduced Muso Shinden Iaido to the dojo members.
As strange as it may seem at the time; Ishido sensei remarked on the fact that it was an odd feeling to have travelled so far to see the name of his own dojo hanging in our dojo, it was difficult not to think that perhaps this was Karma.
Within a year I was in Japan training in Iaido. It was on this first several visits that sensei’s father Ishido Sadataro kancho very kindly offered me the use of the family Mon (crest), as I was a personal student of his son, a privilege I accepted with great pride.
Since that time and with a career stretching over 52 years I have managed to reach the rank of 7th Dan Renshi in Iaido and 5th Dan in Jodo and am still very much active in promoting both disciplines wherever possible.
The original Brighton Shin Bu Kan Dojo is still functioning succesfully under the keen eye of John Stepien 4th Dan. Other clubs including Portsmouth (John Piper 5th Dan), Rochester ( Tony Devine 6th Dan)and Guildford ( Judy Farncombe 5th Dan) in the U.K. carrying on the ethics and discipline of budo traditions with in turn their own students.
Within Europe, there are at least three dojo in the Czech Republic, two in Hungary, Slovakia and Poland, founded by students that I had the privilage to meet and introduce them to Iaido and Jodo, many over twenty years ago.
They have progressed and improved in their own development to now hold 5th & 4th dan gradings in both disciplines with the sword & the Jo and subsequently have founded successful dojo in their own right.
Shin Bu Kan Dojo’s now exist and thrive as autonomous groups but all studying from a central source of knowledge.