TODD, Walter Shibucho


Walter E. Todd Sensei began training in budo, the traditional martial arts of Japan, in 1945, while stationed in Tokyo with the American military. He married a Japanese woman and lived in Japan off-and-on throughout the 1940s, 50s and 60s. Todd Sensei studied under many illustrious teachers including Mifune Kyuzo Sensei, Judan (10th Dan) and Abe Ichiro Sensei, Hachidan (8th Dan), at the Kodokan Judo Institute. Mifune Sensei, a legendary figure, was the last living holder of the Judan awarded by Kano Jigoro Sensei, the founder of Judo. He accepted Walter Todd as his personal student. In 1948, Todd Sensei became the first foreign student of Ohtsuka Hironori Sensei, Judan, founder of Wado Ryu karatedo. Later, in 1954, Todd Sensei trained under Obata Isao Sensei and other Japanese experts in Shotokan karatedo. Obata Sensei was a direct student of Funakoshi Gichin Sensei, founder of Shotokan karate and the person responsible for bringing karate to Japan from Okinawa. Funakoshi Sensei is commonly regarded as the "Father of Japanese Karate," and Funakoshi Sensei approved Todd Sensei's Shodan (1st Dan) certificate, making him the first foreigner in history to obtain a dan rank in Shotokan karatedo.

After returning to the USA, Todd Sensei trained in karate-do under Takahashi Yoko Sensei, a direct disciple of the legendary Toyama Kanken Sensei. Toyama Sensei, the founder of his own celebrated system of karate, eventually appointed Walter Todd as Shibucho (Branch Director) for the U.S., giving him complete authority to rank students in Toyama-style karate and direct the development of karate in America. After Toyama Sensei's death, his son approved Todd Sensei's rank of Hachidan.