David Birt holds a 6th degree black belt ranking in Aikido and holds a black belt in Iaido – the art of drawing the sword. Mr. Birt serves as Sensei (instructor) of the Davis Aikikai. He began his study of the martial arts in 1954, practicing judo in Yokohama, Japan. Since then, he has studied Aikido for 48 years and Iaido for 35 years. Mr. Birt has a master instructor’s certificate (Shihan ranking) from the United States Aikido Federation (USAF). The USAF - Chairman Y. Yamada, 8th dan Shihan (master instructor) - is the largest Aikido organization in North and South American and its ranking is sanctioned by Aikido world headquarters located at Hombu Dojo in Tokyo, Japan. Birt Sensei trained under 5 direct students of O’Sensei (a term of reverence meaning teacher of teachers) Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido. The Davis Aikikai welcomes practitioners of all styles.