It is with deep gratitude and personal honor to be one of only two dojos authorized in Georgia to teach Suenaka-Ha Tetsugaku Ho (Suenaka Style, Philosophical Way) Aikido. The second affiliate dojo is Suenaka-Ha Aikido of Atlanta. We are members of Wadokai and the American International Ki Development and Philosophical Society, founded by Roy Y. Suenaka Soke.
As members of Wadokai (Peaceful Way Society) and students of Suenaka Sensei, we have a passport of privileged opportunity to a direct personal relationship to one who has devoted the majority of his life to the diligent study of the martial arts -- with over 50-years dedicated to the Art of Aikido. During the course of the year, numerous events are held throughout the Wadokai organization; winter and summer camps, seminars, testing, and other gatherings which permit our students an up-close training experience under the vigilante and guiding direction of Sensei himself. He is multi-faceted filled with humility and gratitude. An unassuming and personable teacher that is deeply respected, he freely shares his vast wealth of knowledge through his tireless martial teaching throughout our organization. All that he asks is a sincere attitude toward learning. Just as O’Sensei was considered a living national treasure in Japan, Suenaka Sensei is equally considered a treasure – a priceless treasure, to those of us who have the unique privilege of calling him "Our Sensei".
Suenaka-ha Tetsugaku-ho (Suenaka style, philosophical way) Aikido is a synthesis of Founder Morihei Ueshiba O’Sensei’s Aikido and that of Shin-Shin Toitsu Aikido founder Koichi Tohei Sensei. It is a system of self-defense designed to be street-effective, while paying equal attention to spiritual, mental and moral/ethical development.
Aikido, says Suenaka Sensei, is a subtle art. O’Sensei alone possess the command of ki (spiritual energy) required to perform Aikido technique in the seemingly effortless and often preternatural manner which was the Founder’s hallmark. His martial prowess and spiritual evolution, well-documented in numerous films, has earned him the distinction, even practitioners of other budo, of the greatest martial artist who ever lived. Confronted by O’Sensei’s daunting example, many discount or dismiss the existence of ki and its essential role in Aikido, and subsequently often regress to techniques similar to those found in Daito-ryu ju-jitsu, which relies largely on strength and mechanics alone for efficacy.
Aikido, insists Suenaka Sensei, is neither expressly physical nor spiritual – rather, it is both. Aikido should be as the Founder envisioned it: a way to effectively and decisively defend oneself from attack while preserving and respecting the attacker; a path both martial and spiritual, not one or the other.
Following his disassociation from both the International Ki Society and the Aikikai Hombu, Suenaka Sensei created Suenaka-ha Tetsugaku-ho Aikido in order to reunite the martial and the spiritual elements of Aikido, returning it to that which he learned under Morihei Ueshiba O’Sensei. Today, Suenaka-ha Tetsugaku-ho Aikido incorporates both the martial techniques (waza) and spiritual teachings of O’Sensei and the practical ki-development exercises developed by Koichi Tohei Sensei. To this, Suenaka Sensei has added techniques drawn from his decades of experience in kendo, judo, ju-jitsu, kempo and karate-do, plus more esoteric ibuki breathing and misogi ritual purification meditative practices. The style is clean, economical and street-effective, the atmosphere joyful and respectful, the goal physical and spiritual betterment.
The true purpose of Aikido, as expressed by Morihei Ueshiba O’Sensei, is “the loving protection of all things.” This simple and honorable guiding philosophy resides, as it should, at the heart of the Wadokai Aikido organization, as do the final words spoken to Suenaka Sensei by the Founder, three months before his death: “Make Aikido better, but don’t change the principles. Whatever you do, don’t stray from the path of Aiki.”