Biography of Roy Y. Suenaka Sensei

Roy Yukio Suenaka Sensei, founder of Wadokai Aikido™, is one of contemporary budo’s most experienced practitioners and best-kept secrets. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Suenaka Sensei’s martial instruction began under his father, Warren Kenji Suenaka, who taught his son budo basics and carefully selected his primary martial tutors. These included such legends as Okazaki-ryu Kodenkan Jiu-jitsu founder Henry Seishiro Okazaki, Kosho-ryu Kempo’s legendary James Masayoshi Mitose, judoka (and later, aikidoka) Yukiso Yamamoto, and celebrated kendoka Shuji Mikami, from whom Suenaka Sensei received a nidan (2nd degree black belt).

Suenaka Sensei began his aikido study upon Koichi Tohei’s 1953 visit to Hawaii, and continued his study directly under Founder Morihei Ueshiba O’Sensei at the Aikikai Hombu for eight years, beginning in 1961. That same year, Suenaka Sensei received an aikido menkyo kaiden (master-level proficiency) teaching certificate from O’Sensei, and became the first person to open a successful aikido dojo in Okinawa. He also commenced eight years of private study with renowned Matsumura Seito and Hakutsuru Shorin-ryu Karate-do Grandmaster Hohan Soken, receiving from him the rank of rokudan (6th degree black belt). In addition, Suenaka Sensei continued his judo and jiu-jitsu education at the Kodokan under famed Meijin Kazuo Ito, who personally sponsored Suenaka Sensei’s promotion to sandan (3rd degree black belt) in judo and jiu-jitsu.

“The true purpose of Aikido, as expressed by Founder 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.”
—Roy Y. Suenaka, Soke

In 1972, Suenaka Sensei relocated to Charleston, S.C., where he served as Southeastern U.S. director for Koichi Tohei’s International Ki Society until 1975, when Suenaka Sensei resigned to form the American International Ki Development and Philosophical Society (AIKDPS)™. Suenaka Sensei currently teaches Suenaka-Ha Tetsugaku-Ho™ Wadokai Aikido™ and Matsumura Seito Hakutsuru Shorin-ryu Karate-do. He is author of the best-selling Complete Aikido, and in 2003 celebrated his 50th year of aikido study.

For more information:

Suenaka School of Martial Arts
813-A Highway 17 South (Savannah Highway)
Charleston, South Carolina 29407
http://www.suenaka.com

Training and Instructors

1944-1958 Warren Suenaka (father): judo, jiu-jutsu, kenjutsu, kempo and boxing
1948-1952 Henry Seishiro Okazaki, founder: Kodenkan Jiu-Jutsu and Judo
1949-1953 James Masayoshi Mitose, founder: Kosho Ryu Kempo
1950-1953 Higami, Matsumoto and Yukiso Yamamoto: Kodokan Judo
1951-1952 Kalama: lua
1951-1951 Leong: kung fu
1953-1976 Koichi Tohei: aikido
1954-1958 Amateur boxing
1955-1958 Shuji Mikami: kendo
1957-1958 Nishioka: Shotokan Karate
1961-1969 Morihei Ueshiba O'Sensei, founder: aikido
1961-1972: Hohan Soken, founder: Matsumura Seito Hakutsuru Shorin Ryu Karatedo & Kobudo
1961-1970 Kazuo Ito, Kyuzo Mifune: Kodokan Judo
1961-1963 Masutatsu Oyama, founder: Kyokushinkai Karate
1962-1962 Chosin Chibana: Kobayashi Karate
1963-1963 Kanei Uechi, founder: Uechi Ryu Karate
1964-1964 Ubon-Sing Chub: kung fu
1964-1965 Masanobu Shinjo, Masanobu Kinjo: Goju Ryu Karate
1967-1972 Eiichi Miyazato: Goju Ryu Karate
1972-Present Teaches Suenaka-Ha Tetsugaku Ho Aikido (Wadokai) and Matsumura Seito Hakutsuru Shorin Ryu Karatedo & Kobudo in Charleston, SC

Ranks and Awards

Teaching Experience