The Art
The Dojo
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The Teachers
Ueshiba Sensei (also known as O'Sensei) was the founder of modern Aikido. Already a highly respected practitioner of classical Japanese
sword and throwing arts, Ueshiba Sensei lived the life of a frontiersman
in the desolate mountains of Hokkaido, the northern-most island of Japan. There, he met Sokaku Takeda, head of the family that taught Daito-Ryu Aiki-Jutsu and in return for looking after Takeda Sensei, Ueshiba was taught the techniques and secrets of Daito-Ryu. Ueshiba Sensei synthesized the cutting techniques of the sword with the control techniques of Aiki-Jutsu to create the panoply of techniques that we now know as Aikido.

The third strand that Ueshiba introduced which allowed Aikido to be described as a truly new Martial Art was the philosophical teachings of
the Omoto-Kyo, a radical religious sect under the leadership of Onisaburo Deguchi, with whom Ueshiba spend many years. The Omoto-Kyo used the symbolism of ancient Japanese myths to describe an unbreakable connection between the universal energy of all nature and the actions of the individual person.
One of Ueshiba's earliest and major students was Gozo Shioda Sensei.

Shioda was already a 2nd Dan Judo student when he first met Ueshiba in 1932, on the recommendation of his father, who was himself an enthusiastic amateur patron of the Martial Arts. As a cocky seventeen-year old Shioda was sceptical of these 'magic' techniques and challenged Ueshibato try and throw him. The next thing he knew was picking himself up off the floor and convinced, he started training the next day.

In 1955 Shioda started his own school, Yoshinkan (named after the private dojo that his father had built in their back garden) and over the next
forty years developed Yoshinkan Aikido into one of the major strands of modern Aikido.

Recognized throughout the world as a truly once-in-a-generation Budomaster, Shioda was designated a 'Living National Cultural Treasure' of Japan and
was officially ranked 'Mu'Dan' (Beyond Ranking) by his peers in the Japanese
Martial Arts.
Gozo Shioda Sensei died on July 17th 1994 in Tokyo. His passing marked the end of a generation. He was the last of the pre-war students of Jigoku (Hell) dojo era, allowing us a glimpse into the time when Aikido was still having to prove itself, not yet the recognized and respected art that we take for granted today.

His legacy is an art that is recognized as a school in its own right while at the same time maintaining all the traditions, philosophies and techniques of Ueshiba's Aikido, of which it remains a major branch. He has also bequeathed our generation a teaching style and a wide group of teachers, both Japanese and Western whom are able to spread both the techniques and the message of Yoshinkan Aikido to the wider world.
David Rubens Sensei trained under Gozo Shioda in the Yoshinkan Hombu Dojo in Tokyo for four and a half years from 1984-1988. For two and a half years he was 'uchi-deshi' (live-in student), completing the Japanese Instructors course with ten members of the Tokyo Riot Police Special Instructors Group, and subsequently spending fifteen months as a live-in assistant instructor at the dojo - one of only three Westerners presently training to have been given that status.

Assistant instructors at the Meidokan dojo are:
Michael Steinbock - 5th Dan
Eddy Khan - 3rd Dan
Yuri Ganfield - 3rd Dan
James Williams - 3rd Dan
Jess de Zilva - 3rd Dan
Jack Dybczak - 1st Dan
David founded the Meidokan Dojo on his return to London in 1991, where it has established itself as a 'Centre of Excellence' for Yoshinkan Aikido as well as becoming a centre where Martial Artists of all paths can meet and train together. David Rubens was awarded his 6th dan in 2009 from Shioda Yasuhisa Kancho as he continues to teach Yoshinkan Aikido across many dojos in Europe.

In 2016, the Yoshinkan Honbu Dojo in Japan (under the guidance of Chino Kancho) promoted David Rubens to 7th dan.
Rubens Sensei was Shioda Sensei's interpreter both in Japan and on foreign trips (notably, a visit to Canada in 1991). Following Shioda Sensei's death in 1995, he translated the book that became Total Aikido, a lasting legacy to the teaching of Shioda Sensei.