History

 

Asoryu Aikido Club's History

 

A brief history of Asoryu Aikido Club…

 

Sensei Billy McAuley began his Aikido career in 1984 at the Minato-Ku Aikikai, an Aikido club in the Tamachi Ward of Tokyo, Japan. Sensei Billy trained under the direction of Asoh Kinjo Sensei, a 7th Dan Aikikai Shihan and was awarded his Aikido 2nd Dan from Asoh Sensei. In June 1994 Sensei Billy was awarded his Aikido 3rd Dan from Ueshiba Moriteru Sensei, the grandson of O Sensei and the current Aikikai Doshu (World Head of Aikido). In 1995 following his return to the UK from Japan, Sensei Billy McAuley founded Asoryu Aikido Club in Leominster, Herefordshire. In January 2009 following a family move to Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, Sensei Billy established Asoryu Aikido Club in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. Sensei Billy McAuley currently holds the rank of Aikido 5th Dan which was awarded to him on 27th November 2010 from UK Shinwakai Aikido

 

At Asoryu Aikido Club, Sensei Billy McAuley teaches Traditional Aikido with a strong emphasis on the basics (kihon) of Aikido: Through the influence of Asoh Kinjo Sensei, Sensei Billy firmly believes that having a solid foundation in the basics of Aikido is essential for the proper development and progression of all Aikido practitioners (aikidoka) in their practice of Aikido. Sensei Billy also believes that armed with good kihon based on the teachings of Asoh Kinjo Sensei, Asoryu Aikido Club's aikidoka should be free to participate in training from a wide range of resourses. Sensei Billy does not believe in restricting his students from the experiences that are available in the wider world of Aikido and encourages his students to broden their Aikido horizons at every opportunity

 

Asoryu Aikido Club is named in honour of Sensei Billy’s Japanese Aikido sensei; Asoh Kinjo Sensei an Aikido 7th Dan Aikikai Shihan of the Aikikai Foundation, Tokyo, Japan, who, in 1993 sadly succumbed to cancer: Sensei Billy has travelled extensively and has had the privilege of taking Aikido instruction from many of the world’s leading Aikido teachers:

 

Profile of Asoh Kinjo Shihan 7th Dan

 

A True Inspiration to All...

 

A Profile: Asoh Kinjo Shihan; 7th Dan, Aikikai Foundation, Tokyo, Japan:

Asoh sensei taught Aikido at Minato-ku Aikikai, Tamachi, Tokyo, Japan:

 

 

 

 

Asoh Kinjo Shihan in action
Asoh Kinjo Shihan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asoh Kinjo Shihan at rest
Asoh Kinjo Shihan after training

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the end of the nineteen fifties, Asoh Kinjo Sensei trained in Aikido at the Hombu dojo, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo and a couple of other dojos (one was the Sukiyabashi dojo). As a younger man, he did judo and a little boxing. He then did ice skating (speed) seriously for many years. From ice skating he learned always to move your face before starting a movement – first move your face in the direction you want to move, then your legs and hips and finally your shoulders and arms. He also did ballroom dancing - apparently quite energetically - in the days of dance halls and that perhaps had some influence on his smooth irimi (entry) and footwork

 

As a younger man, he had his own company with an office in the Ginza in central Tokyo. He happened one day in Hibiya, Tokyo to see a demonstration of Aikido by O Sensei. He said “it looked suspicious” so he wanted to find out more. When he realized it wasn't “fake” he wanted to learn more about it and so he started his training in Aikido. He didn't start his training in Aikido until he was 53 years old. Because of his early experiences in judo, boxing, ice skating and dance he was still very fit and trained as hard as anyone else (8 days a week they called it - every day and twice on one day - maybe Saturday). He described how the student’s shoes would always feel loose after training because they had lost weight

 

Because Asoh Kinjo Sensei was a little older than many of the other students O Sensei was always very kind to him. Asoh Kinjo Sensei’s deshi, Niall Matthews says that he is sure O Sensei could also feel Asoh Sensei's purity, “when you teach Aikido you can feel that in your students”. Asoh Kinjo Sensei went to see O Sensei off on his trip to Hawaii - 2011 is the fifty year anniversary of O Sensei’s visit to Hawaii - he only went once which must have been in 1961. On that day O Sensei took Asoh Sensei to one side and told him, that by all means, he had to catch Kokyu Ryoku (the power of breath). Asoh Kinjo Sensei always told his students the same thing. This explains the fact that Asoh Kinjo Sensei’s teaching of Aikido was so different from most other Aikido teachers

 

From the beginning his students were taught to do techniques completely without any power. Usually it's the other way around - you start off learning techniques and gradually with experience you learn to lose power. Asoh Kinjo Sensei’s way of teaching Aikido is rather fast - a kind of shortcut

 

Asoh Kinjo Sensei spoke perfect English (as well as some German - enough to read books for pleasure in the original German - and a little French and Russian). In 1964 at the Tokyo Olympics, O Sensei gave an Aikido demonstration and Asoh Kinjo Sensei did the oral English translation for this event. At that time Asoh Kinjo Sensei still had no intention of becoming an Aikido teacher. That just kind of happened

 

Asoh Kinjo Sensei taught Aikido at Minato-ku Aikikai which was and is quite a large and interesting public dojo in the south of Tokyo. At first, including Asoh Kinjo Sensei, there were four Aikido teachers, the other teachers were as follows:

 

Yamaguchi Seigo Sensei 9th Dan

 

Yamaguchi Seigo Sensei 9th Dan - one of Hombu Dojo's most senior Aikido teachers who sadly passed away in 1996

 

Hari Sunao Sensei 7th Dan

 

Hari Sunao Sensei 7th Dan - a famous cartoonist in Japan, he sometimes appears on TV too as a singer. He has a dojo in Tokyo, Hari sensei’s main dojo is in Kyushu (Japan's south island). He comes to Tokyo every week by shinkansen (bullet train) instead of by plane because he likes to draw on the train

Takeda Yoshinobu Sensei 8th Dan

 

 

Takeda Yoshinobu Sensei 8th Dan - who teaches Aikido at Kamakura and has many affiliated Aikido dojo in Australia, he has recently become quite famous for his ‘no-touch’ Aikido

 

Eventually, Asoh Kinjo Sensei became the only Aikido Sensei teaching at Minato-ku Aikikai, Tokyo

 

Because of his close relationship with O Sensei, Asoh Kinjo Sensei enjoyed strong support from the then Doshu (Ueshiba Kisshomaru). Asoh Kinjo Sensei continued to have a good relationship with Doshu and along with his deshi Niall Matthews he often called on Doshu

 

On Sensei Niall Matthew’s first day in Japan he met someone from Asoh Kinjo Sensei’s dojo by chance. Sensei Niall always thought it was fate - not chance. This man talked about Aikido and about Asoh Kinjo Sensei and it sounded mysterious. Sensei Niall went to the dojo with him and saw a Japanese Aikido teacher in his seventies get grabbed by a big American marine and then witnessed that the teacher just tossed the attacker away like a slice of bread. I believe it was also fate when back in Japan after having seen Aikido in the UK; Sensei Billy McAuley also met the same big American marine who in turn introduced him to Asoh Kinjo Sensei and Minato-ku Aikikai. Sensei Billy was fascinated and hooked from day one

 

Asoh Kinjo Sensei wasn't one of those Aikido teachers who move before the uke has a chance to grip. He didn't do flowing techniques moving before the attack except sometimes after training when we did free attacks. Asoh Kinjo Sensei always let his students grip him how they wanted. In our experience of Aikido teachers there was no one else like Asoh Kinjo Sensei, his Aikido was fantastic. He had caught the real essence of Aikido

 

While Asoh Kinjo Sensei's funeral was a very sad and difficult day for all of his students, our spirits were nevertheless lifted by the great number of the highest ranked Aikido teachers including the then Doshu (World Head of Aikido) and Waka Sensei (Young Teacher i.e. O Sensei’s Grandson, Waka sensei is now Doshu and his son is now Waka Sensei i.e. the great grandson of O Sensei) who came and paid their respects to a true Aikidoka and a fine man

 

Rest in Peace Asoh Kinjo Sensei!!

Written in collaboration by Sensei Niall Matthews and Sensei Billy McAuley 27/12/2010

 

 

Profile of Niall Matthews sensei 5th Dan

 

Niall Matthews
Niall Matthews in action
Niall Matthews in action (2)

 

A Profile: Sensei Niall Matthews, 5th Dan Aikikai Hombu Dojo; 4th Dan Judo; Received Training also in Kenjutsu and Karate

 

Sensei Niall Matthews has been a good friend and a thoughtful sempai to me for many years but, Sensei Niall Matthews is so much more than that

 

I remember our Aikido teacher Asoh Kinjo Sensei telling us that the Japanese word for Martial Arts is Budo (fighting technique), but that Aikido was not Budo it was Bushido (the way of the warrior) and that those who follow Bushido are known as Bushi and that for them Bushido is an all- consuming way of life that requires a dedication and a commitment way beyond what normal individuals can comprehend or even imagine: Asoh Kinjo Sensei 7th Dan Aikikai Shihan was a Bushi and, although it took me a long time to understand it, I now know that Sensei Niall Matthews is also a modern day Bushi

 

On his first day in Japan Sensei Niall Matthews was introduced to Asoh Kinjo Sensei and to Asoh Sensei’s Aikido and this chance meeting was to have a profound effect on Sensei Niall and on how Sensei Niall was to live his life from that time onwards. Following his meeting with Asoh Kinjo Sensei, Sensei Niall began his Aikido training as a student of Asoh Sensei at Minato-ku Aikikai Dojo, Tamachi, Tokyo, this was in the very early 1980s, I believe this was in 1981. When I later joined Asoh Sensei in early 1985 Sensei Niall was already at 1st Dan level and was my sempai or in English my senior, in Japanese it would be more accurate to describe one’s sempai as a mentor or guide much more than simply a senior

 

Sensei Niall was Asoh Sensei’s Deshi and had a very close relationship with Asoh Sensei and it was very obvious that it was Asoh Sensei’s plan to pass as much of himself as he could on to Sensei Niall. Asoh Sensei often joked with us over coffee or a beer about how he had had two lives his; life before Aikido till he was 53 and his life in Aikido till he sadly passed on at the age of 84: This was, however, not exactly true, because Asoh Sensei has a third life in that he lives on in his students. This is so true in the case of Sensei Niall and it was because Asoh Sensei recognised his strength of character and of purpose, that he chose Sensei Niall as his Deshi. While being a great honour this was also a heavy responsibility and great weight that was placed on Sensei Niall’s shoulders. Sensei Niall bore his responsibility well and lived up to the faith that Asoh Sensei had in him

 

Once grounded Asoh Sensei encouraged Sensei Niall to seek out and train with particular Aikido teachers that Asoh sensei both respected and felt that Sensei Niall would benefit from their teaching. One of those teachers included Arikawa Sadateru Sensei 9th Dan Aikikai Hombu Dojo Shihan

 

From around 1986 Sensei Niall took instruction from Arikawa Sensei for two full classes every Wednesday evening at Aikikai Hombu Dojo, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo. It was not long before Arikawa Sensei also recognised in Sensei Niall his commitment to hard and honest Aikido training and his thirst for a deeper knowledge and understanding of Aikido and of Bushido. Arikawa Sensei began to use Sensei Niall more and more as his exclusive uke for his Wednesday evening Aikido classes at Hombu Dojo

 

In 1995, in recognition for his hard and dedicated training as well as his contributions to Aikido, Sensei Niall Matthews was awarded 5th, Dan Aikikai from Arikawa Sensei. In 1996, I remember my wife Susan and I visiting Sensei Niall at the Hombu Dojo during Arikawa Sensei’s class and of being so impressed at how hard Sensei Niall trained and at how good and at how physically demanding Arikawa Sensei was on his uke Sensei Niall

 

Although there are very few videos available of Arikawa Sensei because he was, like Asoh Sensei,

a very deep and private person and did not like to be photographed or videotaped, Arikawa Sensei was, nevertheless one of Aikikai Hombu Dojos finest and most respected (feared is more correct)Aikido teachers. And for more than 13 years Sensei Niall Mathews was his Uke and Deshi

 

In Sensei Niall’s own words he says that “I have been lucky to have been the Deshi of two of the best Aikidoka in the world. My first teacher was Asoh Sensei. I have never seen anyone approach his level. Taking his uke was like going on a wonderful journey together just for a moment in time. I was Arikawa Sensei's uke at Aikikai Hombu Dojo until his death and I suppose I was his only Deshi. Arikawa Sensei was famous for his fierce Aikido, but his control was always perfect”

 

I have known Sensei Niall Matthews for over thirty years and I have seen his very severe training and his tough training regime and I have never once heard him complain. Sensei Niall is a person who is possessed of the very rare qualities of total commitment and total dedication. I have, in my time, met only very few people who can claim these attributes

 

You should never miss out on an opportunity to take training from Sensei Niall Matthews either in Aikido or in Modern Budo

 

Written with great respect for an awe inspiring sempi by Sensei Billy McAuley. Thanks for being my mentor and guide in Aikido for so many years and also for being my friend

 

To view Sensei Niall Matthews Click Here

 

Minato-ku Aikikai; Tokyo

 

 

Minato-ku Aikikai 2
Minato-ku Aikikai 1
Minato-ku Aikikai 3

 

 

Sensei Billy McAuley, 5th Dan began his Aikido career at this dojo. While interviewing translators and interpreters in Tokyo in 1984, Sensei Billy came upon a rather large American guy who was ex-military, married with children in Japan and who was a 3rd Dan Aikidoka at Minato-ku, Aikikai. As Sensei Billy had recently seen Aikido while on a visit to the UK, he expressed an interest in seeing Aikido to Tim Keenan (the American guy). They met at the dojo, Sensei Billy was given a rather large doji (which he wore for several years). He was then taken in and introduced to Asoh Kinjo sensei to the words “this man wants to start Aikido”. His first evening was spent with Akasaka Keiji sensei standing up and falling down, he was exhausted but, exhilarated by the end of the evening. And ‘that was that’ as they say, for about ten years he was a practising member of Minato-ku Aikikai and left as a 3rd Dan Aikikai. He loved his time at the dojo and with all of his sempai and eventual kohai.

 

Sensei Billy would like to say thank you, in particular to his sempai…

Akasaka sensei who treated him like his brother, Negishi sensei, Asaba sensei, Kisawa sensei (who taught Sensei Billy so much), Yoshinari sensei, Nagai sensei and also all of his other fellow Aikidoka particularly Suzi san. Sensei Billy misses you all and would still love to be going with all of you to the New Tokyo, Tengu, and the many other places where we all shared good food, great beer, excellent companionship and so many wonderful times together

 

Minato-ku Aikikai Location…

 

Budo-jo 3rd floor, Minato-ku Sports Center, 3-1-19 Shibaura, Tokyo

Only 1 minute walk from the Yamanote line, Tamachi Station, East Exit

 

Instructors…

Akasaka sensei, 6th Dan Aikikai (dojo head)

Nagai sensei, 6th Dan Aikikai

 

Training times…

 

Tuesday 18:30-20:30 (open day for anyone)

 

Friday 18:30-20:30 (for club members, but visitors are welcome)

 

1st and 3rd Sunday of the month 10:00-11:30 (open day for Minato ku residents only)

 

 

 

Upcoming Events

 

Watch this space for special events and masterclasses...

 

 

For further details of upcoming events Click Here

 

Special Notices

 

Asoryu Aikido Club Special

Introductory Offer!

 

With Club Flyer!!

from Club Downloads

 

First Two weeks Training are

Free of Charge!!

 

 

Weekly Training Schedule

 

Saturday

5:30 - 7:30pm

Lighthouse Centre

10 Linden Road

Birkby

Huddersfield HD2 2TP