Liam O'Brien Sensei (Apr 1946 - Aug 2015), Kyoshi 8 Dan, started kyudo in Japan where he trained for 11 years and led the London Kyudo Society from his return to the UK. The traditional name of Shatokurin was replaced to make the practice open to as many people as possible.
The photograph below was taken during the filming of an NHK Documentary about Kyudo.
O'Brien Sensei was also interviewed for the Kyudo episode of the Japanology series which can be found HERE. In this interview, Sensei mentions he was initially attracted to the sense of "activity in the stillness" (Sei Chyu Do : 静中動), to the beauty and concentration of the practice.
THIS VIDEO shows O'Brien Sensei and Sigurdsson Sensei of Iceland performing Hitotsu Mato Sharei at an international seminar the Netherlands in 2013.
O'Brien Sensei is the translator of the Kyudo Manual vol. 1 (Kyohon Dai Ikkan) and was President of the European Kyudo Federation, as well as a Board Member of the International Kyudo Federation, for several years. He was the Chairman of the UK Kyudo Association and the highest grade in Kyudo outside Japan until his death at the end of August 2015. O'Brien Sensei also led seminars in Switzerland every year.
He was posthumously awarded the 8th Dan in October 2015 by the International Kyudo Federation in recognition for his contribution to the development of Kyudo.
The UK Kyudo Association (UKKA) formally commemorates his legacy on the occasion of our annual Taikai where a cup dedicated to his name is won for one year by the person attaining 1st place. (This event has been suspended since the pandemic for logistical reasons.)
O'Brien Sensei and his late wife Yukiko O'Brien née Yamashita assisted and interpreted on many of the international kyudo seminars in Europe. They are pictured below (centre) in 2001 with the members of UKKA attending a European Kyudo Federation seminar. Next to O'Brien Sensei in the photograph is Ray Dolphin Sensei, who succeeded him as UKKA Chairman and LKS Shidosha.
Winners of the Liam O'Brien Taikai cup:
October 2019 - James Green, 3 dan, LKS
October 2018 - Mohamed Hassani, 5 dan, LKS
October 2017 - Hideyuki Wada, Renshi 6 dan, LKS
October 2016 - Ed Loft, 4 dan, Manchester
Tsuito Shakai Feb 2016 - Tommy Radesater, 5 dan, Sweden