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.
In the Meiji era, Sokaku Takeda Sensei became the first to publicly teach the techniques of Daitoryu Aikijujutsu which, for centuries, had been handed down in secret to succeeding generations of the Takeda family. One of Takeda Sensei`s students was the exceptionally gifted Morihei Ueshiba. Ueshiba Sensei brought the essentials of other ancient martial arts to Daitoryu`s techniques and with these, and other techniques of his own devising, he created what is known as modern aikido.
Morihei Ueshiba Sensei had many students and uchi deshi (apprentices), particularly during the pre-war years. Among the most gifted of his uchi deshi was Gozo Shioda Sensei, who went on to create the Yoshinkan style of aikido. Due to his skill, Shioda Sensei became very well-known in the martial arts world and his fame had much to do with the wide-spread interest in aikido after the 1950`s. One of the distinguishing characteristics of Yoshinkan Aikido is the set of six basic movements which are used as the foundation from which we move on to studying the basic and then the more advanced techniques. These techniques simulate attacks in various theoretical situations. However, these techniques can be very effective in real-life self-defense situations. Yoshinkan Aikido is taught to the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Force and is compulsory for all female officers. Because the Yoshinkan syllabus is set by the Headquarters Dojo and is standardised across the Yoshinkan system, students can visit any Yoshinkan dojo in the world and be able to train in a familiar environment.
Tsuneo Ando was born in 1956 in Nihama City, Ehime Prefecture on the island of Shikoku. He attended Tokushima University where he studied engineering. Ando Sensei joined the Tokushima University Aikido Club where he first became captivated by aikido. After graduating from university Ando Sensei 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. Ando Sensei spent over 14 years at the Yoshinkan as an apprentice. 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 reached the rank of 2nd dan in aikikai during his time at Tokushima University. Ando Sensei is highly sought after as a teacher – not only in Japan but all around the world – for his technique; which most directly resembles Shioda Sensei’s; and for the warmth of his personality. In 1990, Ando Sensei was instrumental in forming the Urayasu City Aikido Association. This association is unique in being the only organisation in the world where the Yoshinkai and the Aikikai cooperate on various local activities. Now Ando Shihan hopes to expand the scope of the Urayasu City Aikido Association and it’s activities with the creation of the RWAF as a means to facilitate co-operation between different styles of aikido on a global level.
Yoshinkan Aikido Ryu is a group led by Tsuneo Ando Sensei, who spent many years training as an apprentice to Gozo Shioda Sensei. Ando Sensei began teaching in Urayasu in 1989 and Yoshinkan Aikido Ryu was launched in 1996. After coming across a stone hanko (stamp or seal) with the character for ryu (dragon) carved for him by his shyodo (Japanese calligraphy) teacher; and after reading that Ueshiba Sensei believed that Ryu-o (the Dragon King) was the patron spirit of aikido; Ando Sensei decided to name his new organisation Yoshinkan Aikido Ryu. Yoshinkan Aikido Ryu acquired NPO status in 2002 and has since become involved in various voluntary activities in Urayasu City. NPO Yoshinkan Aikido Ryu is based in Urayasu City but has many clubs around Chiba and Saitama Prefectures as well as in Tokyo, Osaka, Ibaraki, Fukuoka and Okinawa. The goal of NPO Yoshinkan Aikido Ryu is to further the development of aikido and to help spread the peaceful message of aikido; thereby contributing to a rich and peaceful 21st century.
When Ando Sensei began teaching aikido in Urayasu in 1989, 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 realised the need for a base from which he could further grow his organisation and in 1999, Ryu Dojo was built in Urayasu. The 5th anniversary of the founding of the dojo was held in 2004. Student numbers continued to increase and Ando Sensei’s organisation 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; facilities for live-in students and increased parking. Ryu Dojo is now the center around which all NPO Yoshinkan Aikido Ryu activities revolve, drawing in students not only from all around Japan but from all around the world. Every year many students from many different countries come to stay here at a dojo devoted exclusively to the daily study and practice of aikido.