Joe Thambu was born on 24 March 1961 in Seremban, Malaysia. He’s an 8 Dan Yoshinkan Aikido Shihan. A student of Gozo Shioda and Aikido Shudokan founder in Australia.
Thamby Rajah, Joe’s uncle, was the first Malaysian to grade black belts in Aikido and Judo. Starting from 11 Joe was coming to the uncle’s Dojo which was next door to a house where he lived. Internationally famous martial artists were frequent visitors to his uncle’s school like Kenji Shimizu, Donn F. Draeger, Junichiro Yagi and others.
In 1978 Thambu received a Shodan and soon moved to Australia to attend university in Melbourne. He was looking for a suitable Dojo, tried Aikikai, Jujutsu but nothing seemed right for him. In 1983 Thambu flew to Japan and entered Yoshinkan Hombu Dojo as an uchi-deshi. Gozo Shioda, Kyoichi Inoue, Takafumi Takeno, Tsutomu Chida, Hitoshi Nakano were the ones to instruct Joe during his first visit to Tokyo.
Yoshinkan Aikido was born in Australia upon Thambu’s coming back in the same year. Aikido Shudokan was established and is the name of the school.
Joe Thambu came back to Yoshinkan Hombu a lot of times to improve his knowledge and skills. In 1993 he became the last person to be graded by Gozo Shioda. At the age of 32, he became a youngest non-Japanese aikidoka to receive the 5th Dan.
In 2001 Sensei was called the “Aikido Instructor of the Year” by the Blitz Magazine. In 2005 he was awarded 5th Dan and the Tokubetsu Embu Sho (an award given for the best demonstration), at the 50th All Japan Yoshinkan Aikido Demonstration.
He never stopped and received his 7th Dan and status of Shihan in 2007 by Yasuhisa Shioda, the head of the Yoshinkan family and son of Gozo Shioda.
In 2015 Joe Thambu was granted with the 8th Dan by the Kyoichi Inoue and he is the only non-Japanese to have this title.
Joe Thambu Sensei is doing Aikido for around 40 years now. He is traveling frequently around the world to spread his knowledge. England, Poland, Malaysia, Indonesia, Ukraine, Czech Republic, the Netherlands and it’s not a full list.