Tony Smibert, born 1949 in Australia, is a 7th dan aikido shihan, member of the IAF Senior Council and before that for many years its Vice Chairman. He is also president of Aikikai Australia and a trustee of the Sugano Foundation. His home and dojo are in a tiny Tasmanian town beneath the mountains and very near to a world famous wilderness.
He started training aikido in 1964, at age 15. Next year, Seiichi Sugano Shihan arrived in Australia and Tony Smibert soon became his student, remaining with him until his death in 2010, assisting in the development of aikido around Australia.
“I can’t really remember 'life before aikido,' because I've been fully engaged in it since I was a kid,” he says. “Even though, sadly, Sugano Shihan has passed away, I’m still very much his student and trying hard to learn what he was teaching.”
Tony Smibert is also an accomplished artist, working mainly, but not only, in watercolors and acrylic. His art career includes more than 50 solo exhibitions in Europe, South East Asia, Japan, the Americas and Australia. He is currently a Visiting Artist Researcher at Tate Britain, working with Senior Conservation Scientist Dr Joyce Townsend and focused on the painting techniques of JMW Turner. Smibert and Townsend’s “Tate Watercolour Manual: Lessons from the Great Masters” was released this year.
Tony Smibert’s art is deeply informed by training in Japanese martial art. The larger acrylic abstracts use the energy flow (ki) of aikido to create a broad calligraphy reminiscent of Franz Kline and Action Painting very different from his classical and oriental watercolors.
He was present at the 2010 IAF Directing Committee meeting in Moscow, and taught at the adjoined seminar. At the 2013 World Combat Games in St. Petersburg, he is the narrator of the aikido demonstrations.