MALCOLM TIKI SHEWAN was born the 19th of May, 1951 in Somerville N.J., U.S.A.
He began the study of fencing when he was 6 years old. At age 8 his father enrolled him in Judo classes at the Budokwai of London.
In 1961 he abandoned Judo and devoted himself to fencing under the direction of Maitre Fredick RHODES, once a cavalry officer in the Prussian army and reputed to be one of the finest fencers in Europe.
It was at the RHODES ACADEMY that M.T. Shewan first began his study of IAI, the art of drawing and cutting with the japanese sword. His first lessons in the art were given to him by the Reverend Khan who was a Buddhist priest at the Zen Temple of New York and a proficient teacher of Kendo and Iaido in the style of MUSO JIKIDEN EISHIN RYU. The Reverend Khan gave classes regularly at that time at the Rhodes Academy.
At age 17 he began the study of IAI with OTANI YOSHITERU Sensei, a teacher of TENSHIN SHO JIGEN RYU and MUSO SHINDEN RYU.
Nonetheless his interest in the Japanese Sword began well before this time and, in fact, goes back to his childhood. His father, a noted arms collector and highly versed in the history of Warfare, as well as the manufacture of arms and armor in general cultivated his son's appreciation of the Japanese Sword.
He also attended classes and conferences from around 1970 given by USUI BUMPEI Sensei, an expert appraiser
of Nippon-to, at the New York Zen Temple.
At age 18 he graduated from the Portsmouth Priory in R.I. and he went for his University studies in Modern Languages to Europe. He continued his fencing studies under the direction of Maitre BELA IMREGY at Oxford University and IAI whenever he came home to the U.S.
When he was 19 his studies took him to Lausanne in Switzerland and there he began the study of AIKIDO at the LAUSANNE AIKIKAI with J.M. BURNIER and D. BRUNNER. Soon afterwards he met TAMURA NOBUYOSHI Shihan.
In Mr. Shewan's mind this meeting was a turning point in his life. He abandoned fencing and devoted himself entirely to the study of AIKIDO with Master TAMURA as well as other Japanese Martial Disciplines under various teachers.
From this time onwards (1970) he devoted 4 - 6 hours daily to the practice of Aikido and Budo until 1981 when he travelled to Japan to further these studies.
In 1972 he was awarded Aikido Shodan (1st Dan).
In 1973 Mr. Pierre Chassang offered him a teaching post at the Aiki Club de Cannes in France. Honored by this proposal he left Switzerland to come to live in Cannes. This move offered the possibility to work more intensively under the direction of Tamura Sensei who also lived nearby.
In 1974 he was awarded the Fukushido-In teaching certificate. He was also given the responsability as Regional Technical Advisor (DTR) in the U.N.A. (Union Nationale d'Aikido) particularly for the.regions - Midi-Pyrennees and Cote d'Azur. He still assures this technical-advisory role within the Aikido Federation (FFAB) to this day.
In 1975 he was awarded Aikido Nidan (2nd Dan).
It was also in 1975, while in the U.S., that he met and worked intensively with MITSUZUKA TAKESHI Shihan. During this time he devoted himself to the perfection of MUSO SHINDEN RYU IAI and he began his study of SHINDO MUSO RYU JODO.
Further, on account of his capacity for languages including japanese, Mr. Shewan also played an active role within the European Aikido Federation (E.A.F. - F.E.A.) during its early years.
In 1975 Dosshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba was invited by the E.A.F. to do a tour of Europe during which Mr. Shewan accompanies the delegation and serves as Uke for the Dosshu during most of his european demonstrations. At the end of the tour Dosshu participates in the founding assembly of the International Aikido Federation I.A.F. and Mr. Shewan actively participated in the early functioning of the IAF as translator.
In 1977 MITSUZUKA Sensei came to FRANCE upon the invitation of Tamura Sensei and the E.A.F. for a series of seminars covering both Iaido and Jodo during 2 months. This visit brought about the creation of the NATIONAL IAIDO FEDERATION and the EUROPEAN IAIDO FEDERATION and played an important role in the development of this discipline in FRANCE and in EUROPE.
His continuing interest in the practice of japanese swordsmanship plus the enormous practical experience acquired through numerous intensive training courses under the direction of teachers like Mitsuzuka Sensei, Nakazono Sensei, Chiba Sensei, Tada Sensei, Tamura Sensei, Draeger Sensei, Kaminoda Sensei, Arikawa Sensei and others refined and confirmed his practice with weapons (Tanto, Jo, Iai and Ken) as well as the bare-handed techniques in Aikido. In this way he developed an extraordinary overview integrating all of the disciplines he now studied into a general view for the pratice of Budo.
In 1979 he received Aikido Sandan (3rd Dan) thus becoming the youngest technical advisor of the federation to receive this grade.
But his true knowledge about forging and polishing of the Japanese Sword was taught to him by WAKITA RYOSUI SHISSHO during a long visit to EUROPE and during the author's stay in Japan in 1981 where he studied as an apprentice-swordsmith. For 15 months he studied the ancient methods pre-dating the Edo period (1600) that Japanese Swordsmiths used to make the magnificent weapons of the period Koto. Wakita Shissho maintained his smithy in the isolated mountainous region of Nagano-Ken and it was here that Mr. Shewan devoted his whole time to learning how to build small furnaces in which they made sword steel of the earliest times and refined that steel to produce sword-quality material. Parallel studies at this time included - Sword Polishing, the Techniques of Tsuba (sword guards) making, the fashioning of scabbards and other arts such as : the making of wooden weapons (bokken, etc.), ceramics and carpentry.
This trip also afforded the opportunity to visit numerous classical sword schools rarely open to visitors. Thanks
to the introductions obtained for him by Mr. Donn F. Draeger Mr. Shewan was able to visit Schools such as
: Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu,
Jikishin Kage Ryu, Yagyu Shinkage, Tendo Ryu, Kashima Shinto Ryu, Tatsumi Ryu, Maniwa Nen Ryu, Itto Ryu, Ogasawara Ryu, Masaki Ryu. During this time he continued his study of Iai, Jodo and Aikido.
In 1982 upon his return from Japan Mr. Shewan founded the G.R.M.T. - Group for the Research into Traditional Metallurgy - in order to permit him to continue and elaborate his study of the forging techniques he had learned during his apprenticeship.
1982 Mr. Shewan receives Aikido Yondan (4th Dan).
Malcolm SHEWAN is a member of the AMERICAN BLADESMITH SOCIETY whose President and founding Mastersmith is WILLIAM F. MORAN. Mr. Moran is responsible for rediscovering the ancient techniques of making Damascus laminated steel which, in the last few years, has become so popular in hand-forged blades. At this time, Mr. Shewan spent a year in the U.S. working alone on his forging techniques at his parents farm in N.J. and visiting as often as possible with Bill to learn more about Damascus steel.
The first event that was organized by the G.R.M.T. in collaboration with the Museum of Iron in Vallorbe, Switzerland, was a course in Damascus Steel and the Hand- forged Blade given by the illustrious William F. Moran and the numerous participants were, for the most part, confirmed metal workers. Many of these went on to become foremost bladesmiths thanks to this initial introduction.
Thanks to contacts with Mr. France-Lanord Mr. Shewan was able to work in collaboration with the Metals Laboratory and Iron Museum of Nancy in the field of Paleometallurgy particularly in relation to the rediscovering of certain metallurgical techniques of the Gallo-Roman Period. And in the smithy created in Villefranche de Rouergue members of the Group participated in the making of Gallo-Roman-style knives from ancient ingots furnished by the Metals Laboratory.
This cooperation gave birth to the organization in 1988 of an extremely signifigant event : The invitation for 4 japanese smiths to come to France in order to produce the first ever japanese sword made on European soil from european iron ore. The whole event was a great success and influenced many european knife-makers to look into traditional methods.
The author was also, while Mr. Donn F. Draeger (director of the INTERNATIONAL HOPLOLOGICAL RESEARCH CENTER) was alive, a field Hoplologist for the center and he made several trips to Scotland in search of material documenting the early combat methods of this Celtic people.
The untimely death of this exceptional man deeply affected the author because of the close friendship he had with him. Many French and European trainees had occasion to appreciate the outstanding human qualities and mastery of DONN DRAEGER during the European tour which he made in the company of OTAKE RISUKE Shihan and KAMINODA TSUNEMORI Shihan in 1980.
In 1982 M.T. Shewan was named Responsable Technique National (RTN) in the Federation Francaise Libre d'Aikido et de Budo (F.F.L.A.B.), Aikikai de France.
In 1983 Mr. Shewan wrote his first book on japanese Budo entitled "Iaido - The Art of Japanese Swordsmanship" and it sold 5,000 copies in the french language.
In 1984 constantly active in the teaching of Aikido and its promotion in France Mr. Shewan received Aikido Godan (5th Dan)
In 1988 he was awarded the Diplome d'Etat d'Educateur Sportif 1st Degree and at the end of the year was promoted to Aikido Rokudan (6th Dan).
In 1988 he returned once more to Japan for his study and at the end of the year he celebrated his marriage.
In 1989 he received the Diplome d'Etat d'Educateur Sportif 2nd Degree and became the father of twins.
Mr. Shewan continues to participate actively in the teaching of Aikido as ATN (CEN) of the FFAB, Member of the Directing Commitee of the FFAB (1992-1997), Head of the Commission for Exterieur Relations/Jury Formation (1992-1997) with Toshiro Suga and Ren? Trognon. He also assures the Technical Advisory Board of the European Iai Federation with Pascal Krieger and Rene Vandroogenbroek.
Today, Mr. Shewan continues to expand his personal study of Budo giving seminars in collaboration with others who have similar aims and interests such as Pascal Krieger, Rene Vandroogenbroek, Rene Trognon, Toshiro Suga, Jaff Raji, Dominique Pierre, Floreal Perez and other valued friends. He maintains his interest in ancient metallurgy and is working at this time on a book dealing with the practice of japanese budo from a westerner's standpoint.
His favorite pastime is Fly Fishing and he regularly publishes articles on this subject both in european and in american magazines. He is also the author of a popular book on "Practical Fishing Knots" in the french language.