Born in 1950 in the Kyushu Island, Shibata Sensei began practicing Aikido at the age of 16 before moving to Tokyo in the early 1970s and entering Hombu Dojo to study under Kisshomaru Doshu as a sumikomi (student living in the dojo).
He instructed at Hombu Dojo and at various universities for several years prior to moving to California in 1989 to become chief instructor of Berkeley Aikikai.
Shibata Sensei happened to be my very first partner at Hombu dojo. Chiba Sensei acting as my sponsor in the dojo, my first class there had to be the (only) one he was conducting on every Friday from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. Since I did not know anyone among the students attending the class on that day, I bowed to whomever was sitting nearby me. Although I had been practicing for several years and held the rank of first dan, I was indeed a beginner and Shibata Sensei made sure I understood what was the real meaning of the word shodan (初段): rank of beginner! Somehow Chiba Sensei rescued me by slowing down Shibata Sensei, whom I learned all about from my fellow laughing students after the class. These same students who soon were to become my friends, also persuaded me to train in his Thursday afternoon class. This sparsely attended class, considering the time (3 to 4 pm) and the teacher’s personality, turned out to be a wonderful learning field. When Chiba Sensei left Hombu for the United States, we soon asked Shibata Sensei to take over the private classes that a small group of us were taking under his direction.
A member of the United States Aikido Federation where he has held many key technical positions, Shibata Ichiro regularly conducts seminars around the United States and internationally.