In 1984 David Dangerfield had his first encounter with Aikido. On seeing a demonstration he was instantly attracted by the formal and structured nature of the art, combined with its visual beauty and obvious potential effectiveness. Dangerfield had already been training in various martial arts since 1974, including Shotokan Karate & Chinese boxing and had gained experience in the security industry. In 1986 he began training in Aikikai style Aikido. He learned from various instructors, most memorable were occasional seminars with Takeda Sensei. In 1990 he attained his Shodan (first degree black belt).
In 1991 Dangerfield commenced his study of Yoshinkan Aikido with Joe Thambu Shihan of Aikido Shudokan. Dangerfield officially founded The Aikido Institute Inc as a non-profit martial arts education organisation on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland in 1991. The Aikido Institute was a full-time Dojo providing Alternative Education programmes based on Aikido for young people in local schools. Dangerfield achieved his Nidan (second degree black belt) in 1993. It was around this time that Dangerfield began to travel to Japan to further his understanding of Aikido and Budo in general. He traveled twice a year to Japan on month long training trips where he studied at the Yoshinkan Hombu dojo, training under Inoue Kyoichi Sensei and Chida Tsutomu Sensei. He also made occasional trips to the Aikikai hombu dojo in Tokyo and several trips to Iwama, where he trained with Saito Morihiro Sensei.
In 1996 Dangerfield was awarded his Sandan, by this time he had already been teaching for 4 years full-time. In 1997 Dangerfield met Nishioka Tsuneo Sensei, a senior master of Shintō Musō-ryū. This meeting had a great impact on Dangerfield and he found that his personal direction and 'style' became clearer. 2000 marked the year that he was accepted as Nishioka Sensei's student and furthered his studies in this Kobudo.
In 2003 Nishioka Sensei awarded Dangerfield Oku Iri Sho and in 2006 he became one of a small number of people to receive the traditional certification 'Shomokuroku' from Nishioka Sensei. In the same year he received his Yondan (4th degree black belt) in Yoshinkan Aikido. Most recently Dangerfield was promoted to Rokudan (6th degree black belt) in the art of Aikido at the 100 years of Aikido celebrations in Malaysia 2012.
Due to changes in the Yoshinkai Foundation Dangerfield, and other notable Yoshinkan instructors around the world, resigned from the organisation. Since then Dangerfield has continued to practice and teach both Aikido and Shinto Muso Ryu under the Kenshinryu 剣神流. He is currently the Head Master of the Kenshinryu and CEO of Compass.
In 2014 Dangerfield's first book: Martial Reflections - In Search of Wisdom was published by Icon Publishing. It is a collection of short stories that blend practicality, budo philosophy and poetic imagery. 2014 also saw David awarded the Sunshine Coast Australian Citizen of the Year award for his pioneering work with youth at-risk, alternative education and for his contribution to the disability field.
Also in 2014, The Compass Institute was the winner of the Knowledge Industries & Professional Services Large Business Award at the Sunshine Coast Business Awards. The first part of the process was based on an exhaustive written application where the Institute made it as a finalist in the category – Knowledge Industries and Professional Services. This category was one of the largest with 16 other finalists. Stage two was a 45-minute interview with 3 members of the judging panel. Winning this award signifies the hard work of the Institute as well as being strong recognition of its work within the community.
Being a university qualified trainer, with over 20 years of experience Dangerfield has combined his martial arts skills with education in many different ways. David Dangerfield pioneered the use of Aikido as an Alternative Education framework in Australia with intensive behavior management programmes for youth at-risk expanded to include leadership development, special needs, personal safety and teacher in-service. Between 1992 and 2006 over 7,000 school students participated in the Aikido-based life skill programmes in south east Queensland schools Topics covered in the programmes include martial values, time management, self-identity, nutrition, relationship management and of course personal safety and self-defence. In 2001, Dangerfield ran a number of workshops for many of Queensland’s Paralympic athletes, sharing with them the technical and psycho-emotional training aspects of Aikido.
Dangerfield has also worked extensively within the corporate sector, providing experiential style workshops that enable people to bring about change on an individual and organisational level. His unique approach combines his martial arts skills and experience as a trainer and educator to teach people about how to challenge or change the culture within businesses and corporations.
In 2003 David Dangerfield founded The Compass Institute Inc, Australia’s first accredited Disability Service based on the principles of Japanese Budo. The Compass Institute Inc. provides post-school education, training and vocational opportunities to young people with intellectual and/or physical disabilities. The curriculum for the centers includes regular practice in Aikido and Shinto Muso Ryu Jodo. In 2015 The Compass Institute Inc is a registered charity employing over 40 specialist staff and supporting over 90 young people with intellectual and/or physical disabilities through 6 centers from Caboolture to Gladstone. One of these centers is the working farm, which allows around 40 young people to gain access to further training in animal husbandry, horticulture, nursery work, and property maintenance.Citizen of the Year Award- Sunshine Coast Australia Day Awards 2014
Community Group or organization Nominee- Sunshine Coast Australia Day Awards 2014 (Compass)
Shomokuroku- Awarded by Nishioka Tsuneo Sensei 2006
6th Dan in the Art of Aikido- Awarded by Thamby Raja Sensei Malaysia 2012
Outstanding Service Provider 2004 (Compass)
Leadership Award - Sunshine Coast Business Awards 2015
Not for Profit Business Award - Sunshine Coast Business Awards 2015 (Compass)
Social Responsibility Award - Sunshine Coast Business Awards 2015 (Compass)