The Aikido Shudokan was the first Yoshinkan style dojo in Australia, founded by Joe Thambu Shihan in 1980, and has schools in Heidelberg West, Springvale, Fitzroy, Williamstown and Albury, teaching men, women and children.
The style of Aikido is a dynamic and self-defence effective system of throwing, joint-locks, strikes and pinning techniques. It emphasises practical efficiency and is the style used to train women and anti-riot teams of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police. There are no tournaments and it is not classed as a sport.
Size, weight, age and physical strength play only a small role in Aikido, also making it a uniquely suited option for women, children and older students. The Aikido Shudokan runs specialised children’s classes, and has a mix of male and female students and instructors.
The Aikido Shudokan has a clear lineage in the tradition of Aikido. Thambu Shihan first studied Yoshinkan Aikido in Malaysia in 1972 (aged 11) under his uncle Sensei Thamby Rajah, who was himself a student of Gozo Shioda - the founder of Yoshinkan Aikido and an outstanding pre-WWII student of Aikido’s founder Morihei Ueshiba. Shioda gave the name ‘Shudokan’, ‘Shu’ meaning to study, ‘do’ meaning the way and ‘kan’ meaning house. Sensei Joe Thambu was the last person to be tested by Shioda before his passing in 1994.
The first premises was established in 1983 on St Georges Road in Thornbury and in 2002, the dojo moved to Gooch Street to adapt to the increased student numbers. In September 2015, the Shudokan created a purpose-built dojo in Heidelberg West, which is truly world-class. All the dojo have been built and renovated by instructors and students throughout the years, and everyone continues to respectfully maintain the environment in which they learn.