The History

Looking back Aikido in Malaysia

Have you ever wondered how Aikido started in this country? Are you aware of how your organisation came about? Who are the pioneers? Who are the early bird Senseis?

In this article, we will try to go back in time, to the 1960s and attempt to trace the origin of Aikido in West Malaysia in general and the origin of our Malaysia Aikido Association in particular.

The compilation included information obtained from old letters from the Hombu Dojo, write-ups in the local newspapers, magazine articles, personal diaries and of course, interviews with the persons who were active at that particular point in time. While efforts have been made to double-check the dates and events, we welcome any contribution or correction (in writing) to this compilation with the intention of recording the historical facts accurately and objectively.

The point to note is that from the 1970s to 1998, all activities (including those held at the YMCA, Kuala Lumpur) were under the leadership of George Lo Sensei and Tee Cheng Sum Sensei – the backbone of the present Malaysia Aikido Association. From 1998 onwards, the YMCA, Kuala Lumpur Aikido Club declared itself independent after senior Instructors of the MAA resigned from the dojo.

1960 (Circa) Thamby Rajah Sensei started Yoshinkan Aikido dojo in Seremban.
1965 (Circa) Michael Tham Sensei started Aikikai Aikido dojo in Seremban.
1970 (Early) Prominent Shihans who visited were Senseis Kisaburo Osawa and Masatake Fujita.
1975 (Mid) Michael Tham Sensei started the Aikido dojo at the YMCA, Kuala Lumpur. Prominent Shihans who visited were
Kisaburo Osawa Sensei together with then Waka Sensei, Mr. Moriteru Ueshiba who were in Kuala Lumpur to give Aikido Demonstration at the Stadium Negara.
1982 Watanabe Sensei and Hayato Osawa visited.
1982 (Mid) Michael Tham Sensei retired from Aikido and George Lo Sensei was appointed as Instructor at the YMCA, Kuala Lumpur dojo.
1984 M. Suganuma Sensei visited.
1986 Okamura Sensei and Etsuji Horii visited.
1987 T. Miyamoto Sensei visited.
George Lo Sensei left for Australia and CS Tee Sensei was appointed as Instructor of YMCA, Kuala Lumpur Dojo.
1990 Feb Masatoshi Yasuno Sensei and Takanori Kuribayashi visited.
1991 Jan Ichihashi Norihiko Sensei and Takuzo Inoue visited.
1992 Establishment of Chung Hwa School dojo.
1992 Shoji Seki Sensei and Etsuji Horii visited.
1993 Ichihashi Norihiko Sensei and Ikeda Shuichi visited.
1993 Establishment of Kepong dojo, Valley Club dojo and Matsushita dojos simultaneously.
1993 Dec Visit by a delegation of 7 members from Aikido World Headquarters. (Shoji Seki 6th Dan, Yoshiaki Yokota 6th Dan, Shigeru Sugawara 5th Dan, Mariko Takamizo 5th Dan, Minako Osawa 2nd Dan, Akira Aikawa 2nd Dan, Minoru Taniyama 2nd Dan). Martial Arts Demonstration under the sponsorship of Japan Foundation & the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.
1993 Jun Visit by Hong Kong Aikido Association members led by Ken Cottier Sensei and Chairman Michael Leung. Visit by the Singapore Aikikai members.
1994 Visit by 17 representatives from the Tokyo University Aikido Club led by Professor Takamoto Saito and Shigeho Tanakan Shihan. * The Malaysia Aikido Association was formed and registered with the Government Registrar of Societies as an organisation to promote Aikido and unite all dojos in Malaysia.
1994 Jan Endo Seishiro Sensei and Fujimaki Hiroshi visited.
1994 Oct 29th Participation in the mass martial arts demonstration at the launch of the Rakan Muda Wajadiri, officiated by the Prime Minister of Malaysia at the Merdeka Square.
1995 T. Miyamoto Sensei and Tomohiro Mori visited.
1996 Hayato Osawa Sensei and Hiroyuki Sukurui visited.
1997 T. Miyamoto Sensei and Tomohiro Mori visited.
1998 Ken Cottier Sensei (6th Dan), Hong Kong, Yuzuru Mizuno Sensei (6th Dan) and Philip Lee Sensei (4th Dan), Singapore visited Ikkyo Aikido Centre and conducted classes.

Tony Smibert Sensei (5th Dan), invited by George Lo Sensei, visited and conducted Seminar.
1998 June * Ikkyo Aikido Centre was established. This would serve as the headquarters and centre for all MAA training and activities.
1998 May All senior instructors resigned from the YMCA, Kuala Lumpur dojo, due to irreconcilable differences in opinion. Effectively, the MAA Instructors have no further relations with the YMCA, Kuala Lumpur dojo.
1999 Jan Seiichi Sugano Shihan (8th Dan) invited by George Lo Sensei, visited and conducted Seminar.
1999 July * Seiichi Sugano Shihan accepted to guide the MAA.

Flow Chart of the lineage of the current Instructors in Malaysia Aikido Association

Michael Tham Sensei has trained under O’Sensei when he went to Japan in the late 1960s.

George Lo Sensei initially learned Aikido under Sugano Shihan in Australia. 2 years later, he returned to Malaysia and trained under Michael Tham Sensei.

Subsequently when he migrated to Australia in the early 1980s, he resumed his training under Seiichi Sugano Shihan.