New York Budokai was founded by Sensei Yoshiteru Otani as New York Iaikai in the early 1960ʼs. Otani Sensei had arrived in the United States from Osaka, Japan in 1954. He came from a Samurai lineage to this country as a highly skilled Iaido practitioner (Art of the Japanese Sword). In addition he made an extensive study of Zen philosophy.
In 2004 Yoshiteru Otani Sensei passed away. In 2006 Terukata Kawabata Soke retired. New York Budokai is now under the tutelege of Yahagi Kunikazu Soke in Japan (direct lineage from Kawabata Sensei). New York Budokai, under the leadership of Phil Ortiz Sensei, has an active relationship with Yahagi Soke sponsoring him for trips and workshops here in the United States and traveling to Japan to study with him there. New York Budokai is also a member of Ryushin Shouchi USA, which includes dojos in New Jersey, Queens, Long Island and Florida with members as far away as California.