J. D. Swanson holds a PhD in integrative biosciences and a fifth-degree black belt from the International Shotokan Karate Federation. He is an official ISKF instructor, examiner, and judge, having studied under both Okazaki and Yaguchi sensei. Swanson began his martial studies in 1980 in his native New Zealand. He moved to the United States in 1998. He is a professor in the Department of Biology and Biomedical Sciences at Salve Regina University and the head instructor of the Shotokan karate clubs at Brown and Salve Regina Universities. J. D. Swanson resides in Portsmouth, Rhode Island.