Miki Minobu was born in Nagoya, Japan and is of samurai heritage. His great-grandfather was the chief minister of the Takamatsu clan. Miki-sensei has been a dedicated student of various Japanese budo, including iaido, since childhood. He came to the United States to teach Shitoryu karatedo in the early 1970s and has been a teacher of Japanese martial arts here ever since. Miki-sensei achieved the status of "Hachi-dan Hanshi" (eighth-degree black belt and Grandmaster) ranking in karate-do and, therefore, he is referred to generally and properly as "Hanshi" around the dojo.
Miki-sensei holds the rank of 5th dan in Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu iaido, the style he teaches today. He was a direct student of the late Iwata Norikazu-sensei, the 19th generation menkyo kaiden master of this art. Menkyo kaiden indicates the highest level of mastery in the koryu system of martial arts that existed before the modern (gendai) system . Miki-sensei also holds the rank of 4th dan in Hokushin Shinoh Ryu iaido, a Nagoya style he started learning as a boy.
Miki-sensei started teaching iaido in the United States in the early 1970s. Some of his notable students included the late Masayuki Shimabukuro-shihan and Lorenzo Lamas. His main goal then was to preserve a unique Japanese art and to maintain his skills. His instruction expanded to larger classes in the 1990s. He met Iwata-sensei in 2003 and realized the superiority of his technique immediately. Miki-sensei has taught Iwata-sensei's iaido ever since.
Before his death in 2011, Iwata-sensei granted Miki-sensei the right to teach iaido in his name in the United States. Iwata-sensei gave Miki-sensei a kanban, or official wooden sign, to prove his authorization of this privilege by naming our school - America Tosa Jikiden Shigetsukai. Miki-sensei is the only teacher to hold this right in the United States.
Miki-sensei is an 8th-dan hanshi of Shito-ryu karatedo. He was the first person outside of Japan to be awarded this rank in 1989. Miki-sensei is the chief instructor of the Japan Karatedo Organization and is the only instructor of his rank recognized by the Japan Karate-Do Federation under the Japanese Ministry of Education and Culture (Monbu-kagaku-sho).
Miki-sensei is additionally a 7th-dan instructor of Okinawan weapons (kobudo) and is a member of the World Technical Committee of the World Karate Federation.
For more information about karatedo and kobudo, please visit jko.com.