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We Spotlight on Life of
Aikido Master Kazuo Chiba

Kazuo Chiba is an Aikido master from Japan who has spent years teaching in the USA. He is an 8th dan in the Aikikai aikido organisation, and the founder of the San Diego Aikikai dojo in California.

He is also the founder of an international aikido federation known as Birankai International.

In the aikido world, Chiba is sometimes known as a representative of the hard side of aikido, with a focus on weapons training.

In May 2006, he announced his gradual retirement from seminar-style training, which often includes travel to spend more time with his family.

Kazuo Chiba was born in 1940 in Tokyo, Japan. At 14 years old, he began serious judo training at the International Judo Academy. He started the study of Shotokan karate at 16. Dissatisfied with the martial arts he began searching for an art that would serve his needs.

In 1958 he found aikido and began 7 intensive years of live-in study as an uchideshi with aikido founder Morihei Ueshiba, at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo alongside Yoshimitsu Yamada and Mitsunari Kanai.

During this time, he also studied iaido.

By 1960, Chiba earned the rank of 3rd dan, and was assigned to Nagoya to establish a branch school and serve as its full-time instructor. In 1962, he earned 4th dan and began teaching at the Hombu Dojo.

Within three years, during which he taught at Kokugakuin, the Self-Defense Force, Kogaku Kan and Aichi Daigakuin universities, Kazuo Chiba completed his training as uchideshi, and earned 5th Dan.

Morihei Ueshiba developed the martial art of Aikido from his combat studies of Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu with Sokaku Takeda, and his spiritual studies with the Omoto Kyo and Onisaburi Deguchi.

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Master Kazuo Chiba
in the UK and USA

Kazuo Chiba became a professional aikido instructor and moved to Sunderland, England, in 1966, and was appointed official representative of the Aikikai for the UK.

There he formed the Aikikai of Great Britain, which later changed its name to the British Aikido Federation. In 1970, he received 6th dan and was awarded the title of shihan.

In an effort to unify instruction, he introduced a Fuku Shidoin and a Shidoin system where he taught his senior students a basic teaching curriculum to pass on to their own students.

Kazuo Chiba, also began to introduce training in the use of the Jo staff and Ken sword as taught by Morihiro Saito. His grading syllabus in 1974 made aiki weapons essential for higher ranks.

During his stay in the U.K., Chiba also invited many of his contemporary instructors in Europe to conduct seminars. He also traveled widely to other European nations to instruct.

In 1975, leaving Minoru Kanetsuka as his successor, he returned to Japan to serve as Secretary of the International Department at the Hombu Dojo. He played an active role in the creation of the International Aikido Federation, and was appointed Assistant General Secretary of the IAF in 1976. During this time he also studied zen meditation in Shizuoka.

In 1981, Chiba accepted an invitation from the United States Aikido Federation to move to San Diego, California, where he formed the San Diego Aikikai. Currently he is Chairman of the Teaching Committee of Birankai International which also includes training in Batto-ho/Iaido.

He is particularly well known for his powerful technique. More Here

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