Tsuneo Ando (8th dan) is the Chief Instructor at Ryu Headquarters Dojo and the founder and head of NPO Yoshinkan Aikido Ryu.
Ando Sensei has dedicated himself to the study of aikido for over 4o years; 14 of those as an apprentice to Shioda Gozo, the founder of Yoshinkan Aikido, and 37 as a full-time professional instructor. He remains devoted to studying and developing his own technique while also training his senior apprentices to be martial artists and instructors of the highest level.
His focus is also on popularizing aikido and improving teaching methods in order to make aikido as accessible to as many people as possible. Considered one of the top aikido practitioners in the world, he is highly sought after as a teacher both for his technique, which most directly resembles Shioda Sensei`s, and for the warmth of his personality.
Ando Sensei was born in 1956 in Nihama City, Ehime Prefecture on the island of Shikoku. He attended Tokushima University where he studied engineering. Ando Sensei first became captivated by aikido when he joined the Tokushima University Aikido Club.
After graduating from university he was briefly employed by a chemical company. However, he quickly decided that the life of a Japanese salary-man was not for him. He had already been greatly impressed by Shioda Sensei`s technique when he attended a Yoshinkan Aikido training camp and so, in 1981, he joined the Yoshinkai as uchi deshi (apprentice) where he spent over 14 years as a disciple of Shioda Sensei.
Ando Sensei was awarded the title of shihan (Master) in 1993 and he currently holds the rank of 8th dan in Yoshinkan Aikido. He also holds the rank of 2nd dan in aikikai, which he achieved during his time at Tokushima University.
He is also currently the Chairman Shihan at the Yoshinkan Aikido Headquarters Dojo in Tokyo.
Ando Sensei is the author of two books, Chushin Ryoku no Jidai and Aikido no Kai. Chushin Ryoku no Jidai has been translated into Spanish and German. He has produced several DVD titles including The Power of the Void in Aikido, the Dekiru Aikido series and Aikido no Akashi.
Ando Sensei began teaching in Urayasu in 1989 and Yoshinkan Aikido Ryu was launched in 1996. In Japanese mythology, Ryu-o – the Dragon King – is worshipped as the god of water and of the ocean who can command the rain and the clouds. Morihei Ueshiba – the creator of aikido – believed that the Dragon King is the patron god of aikido. After coming across a stone hanko (stamp or seal) with the character for ryu (dragon) carved for him by his calligraphy teacher, Ando Sensei decided to name his new organization Yoshinkan Aikido Ryu.
Yoshinkan Aikido Ryu acquired NPO status in 2002 and has since become involved in various voluntary activities in Urayasu City with it’s ultimate goal being to further the development of aikido and to spread the peaceful message of aikido; thereby contributing to a rich and peaceful 21st century.
When Ando Sensei began teaching aikido in Urayasu, he was lucky to have the use of several excellent public facilities (many of which he continues to teach classes at today). As the number of his students and apprentices grew, Ando Sensei realized the need for a dojo dedicated to the study of aikido from which he could further grow his organization. In 1999, Ryu Dojo was built.
Student numbers continued to increase and Ando Sensei’s organization outgrew the original dojo. In April 2013 a second dojo was built adjacent to the first. Improvements to the facilities included new change rooms, a lounge, room for live-in students and increased parking.
Ryu Headquarters Dojo is the center around which all NPO Yoshinkan Aikido Ryu activities revolve and is also the Headquarters for the Ryu All Japan Aikido Federation and the Ryu World Aikido Federation.
Offering world-class training, Ryu Headquarters draws in students not only from around Japan but from all around the world. Every year many students from different countries come to stay here at a dojo devoted exclusively to the daily study and practice of aikido.