Joe Thambu Shihan

8th Dan Aikido

Thambu Shihan, the Chief Instructor of Aikido Shudokan, has been a practitioner of Aikido for over 50 years. During this time, he has trained under many great Instructors, including; Soke Shioda Gozo, the founder of Yoshinkan Aikido, Inoue Kyoichi Kancho, Chida Tsutomu Shihan and Takeno Takefumi Shihan, all influential Aikido teachers, Thamby Rajah Sensei, Don Draeger Sensei, Soke Obata Toshishiro, the founder of Shinkendo and Shihan Nariyama Tetsuro, the Chief Instructor of Tomiki Aikido. All of these instructors are world-renowned Martial Artists.

In 1972, Joe Thambu Shihan began his Aikido training at the age of 11, under the tutelage of his Uncle, Thamby Rajah Sensei, the father of Aikido in Malaysia. As a teenager, Thambu Shihan studied some Kendo and Shindo Muso Ryu Jodo.

In 1978, Thambu Shihan tested for his Shodan and soon after at the age of nineteen, he travelled to Australia where he began training in Aiki-Kai, whilst studying at university. After deciding he was unsuited to this, Thambu Shihan took up Ju-jitsu before beginning the first Yoshinkan Aikido dojo in Melbourne, Australia.

In 1983, Thambu Shihan travelled to Japan to further his Aikido training. Whilst in Japan, he lived and trained at the principle Yoshinkan Honbu dojo in Tokyo. On his return, Thambu Shihan established his first premises at St Georges Road in Melbourne and set in motion the first home for the ‘Aikido Shudokan.’ This was to be the first permanent Yoshinkan dojo to be started in Australia. Since 1983,

Thambu Shihan has returned to Japan many times, the most memorable being in 1993, when he tested for his fifth dan by Soke Shioda Gozo, the founder of Yoshinkan Aikido. At the time, Thambu Shihan was the youngest non-Japanese student of Aikido to be graded to this rank and was also privileged in being the last student to be tested by Soke Shioda Gozo before his death in 1994.

In 2001, Thambu Shihan tested and received his sixth dan.

Thambu Shihan was awarded his seventh dan by Shioda Yasuhisa Kancho, the former head of Yoshinkan Aikido in December 2007 and was promoted to the rank of “Shihan” in October 2008. Joe Thambu Shihan is the first non-Japanese person ever to receive this title from the Yoshinkan Hombu dojo. It is a very apt and well-deserved title.

In November 2015, Thambu Shihan was awarded the rank of 8th Dan by Inoue Kyoichi Kancho, 10th Dan, and the head of Aikido Shudokan at the time.

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