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AIKIDO IN MYANMAR
History of Aikido in Myanmar
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History of Aikido in Myanmar
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MYANMAR AIKIDO OVER THE YEARS

1953 - Aikido first comes to Myanmar (then known as Burma). Burma was the first forigen where Aikido was exported. The first Aikido teacher to go to teach in Burma was Aritomo Murashige Sensei. Murashige Sensei was sent to Burma by the Japanese government as a representitive of Hombu dojo as part of Japans official compensation program towards Burma for their WWII occupation. Aikido was taught mainly to the military and police force through this program. Murashige Sensei stayed for approxamitly two and a half years.

1955 - Yamaguchi Sensei is dispatched from Hombu dojo to Burma to replace Murashige Sensei. This was Yamaguchi Sensei's first teaching assignment (he was ni-dan at the time) and he stayed in Burma teaching with the compensation program for two years. An important student of both Murshige Sensei and Yamaguchi Sensei during this period was the Late U Thaung Din (see biography below).

1957-1993 - During this 26 year period, due to Burmese governmental policies, the country was for the most part closed to the outside world. Since the country was cut off from all types of internetional exchange there were no visiting aikido instructors during these two and a half decades. The only Aikido in Myanmar was that which was taught by the student of Murashige Sensei and Yamaguchi Sensei, the late U Thaung Din Sensei. It was solely by his efforts that Aikido in Burma was kept alive as there was zero contact with the outside world.

U Thaung Din sensei taught Aikido classes year round in an "open air dojo", which was in the drive way besides his house. Most of the older Aikido students in Myanmar today were students of U Thaung Din Sensei.

1993 - After 26 years of isolation, the Aikido community in Myanmar reconnects with the global Aikido community. One Mr. Ohashi of Fujitsu company, was posted to Myanmar for an extended working assignment when he "re-discovered" the Aikido group of U Thaung Din Sensei. During the next few years that Ohashi Sensei continued his work in Myanmar, he cultivated a relationship with U Thaung Din Sensei's by regularly visiting his dojo to instruct his students.

1995 - Shigemi Inagaki Sensei (7th dan Aikikai) visits Myanmar for the first time through the invitation of Mr. Onodera, who was an old sempai of Inagaki sensei from his student days in the "Nichidai" university aikido club. Mr. Onodera is the owner of the "Yangon International Hotel", and learned of U Thaung sensei's aikido dojo through his aquantance Mr. Ohashi. Inagaki sensei's visit and meet with U Taung Din Sensei continued to strengthen the connection and support between Japanese and Myanmar aikido communities.

1996 - The first "Japan/Myanmar International Aikido Demonstration" is held in Yangon. In addition to U Thaung Din Sensei and local Myanmar aikidoka, a large Japanese delegation also attended. Among the Japanese group were Isoyama sensei (8th dan), Inagaki Sensei (7th dan), Ohashi Sensei (4th dan), and Onodera Sensei ( 3rd dan, owner of the Yangon International Hotel and its dojo).

1996 - U Thaung Din Sensei passes away.

1997 - The "U Thaung Din Sensei Memorial Dojo" is built. This dojo was built at U Taung Din Sensei's home in the place of the "open air dojo". It was while this dojo was still in mid-construction that U Thaung Din Sensei passed away. His son U Nyunt Din, took over responsibility of his father's dojo and over-saw the completion of the construction of the "Memorial Dojo".

The memorial dojo was built for all Aikido students in Myanmar and the expenses came from donations by Japanese Aikido practioners and supporters. It was through the volunteer efforts of Ohashi Sensei that the funds for this project were gathered. A group of 15 Aikido practioners traveled with Ohashi sensei from Japan to participate with the local Aikidoka to inaugerate the opening of this dojo.

1997 - The Y.I.H. Aikido Dojo is opened on the grounds of the Yangon International Hotel. This is the private dojo of the hotel's owner Mr. Onodera. The technical direction of this dojo is over seen by Inagaki sensei.

1997 - The "Japan Myanmar Aikikai" is formed. This is a support orginization from Japanese aikido community whose prupose is to promote cultural exchange through aikido. Their activities include organizing instructors training programs, raise funds and provide financial support for the Myanmar aikido community. Shigemi Inagaki sensei and Mr. Onodera (of the Yangon International Hotel) are primary steering committee members of the J.M.A.

1998 - The Myanmar Aikido Association is formed. This association is an umbrella association for all Aikido groups in Myanmar. The M.A.A. is the offical organization in Myanmar that is recognized by Hombu dojo and the Aikikai in Japan.

2003 - The son of U Thaung Din sensei sells the family home and the "U Thaung Din Memorial dojo" becomes a restraunt serving traditional Myanmar cuisine.

Today - There are about 6 different groups in Myanmar practicing Aikido, with 4 or 5 aiki-dojos. Teachers from Japan and other foreign countries regularly visit Myanmar to conduct seminars and dan examinations. Inagaki sensei, Ohashi sensei, and Miles Kessler sensei (U.S.A.) have made several visits to conduct seminars and extended intensive training programs. Other teachers who have visited Myanmar in the recent years are Isoyama sensei and Toriumi sensei of hombu dojo.

The main instructors of the M.A.A. are U Chuah Chan Sang, U Bo Bo Lwin, U Si Thu (of Pyay), and U Maung Maung Thant. All these instructors are currently, or have in the past, under taken extended periods of uchi deshi apprenticeship in Japan.

In 2005 land was aquired in Yangon by the Japan Myanmar Aikikai for the future construction of an official "Myammar Aikido Assosiation" hombu dojo.

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U Than Din Sensei demonstrating Tanto dori

BIOGRAPHY OF U THAUNG DIN SENSEI (1930 - 1966)

U Thaung Din sensei (Ronnie ke) was born in 1930 in Rangoon, Burma from the parents of U Ba Ke and Daw Mya Cho. From his childhood he learned traditional "Shan" martial arts.

After completing his obligatiory education, U Thaung Din sensei went to Pagelin, India to study "Secular Education". While there he took up training in "English boxing".

Upon his return from India he continued his Secular Education at Rangoon University. During this time he was a coach in the Rangoon University boxing club. It was during this period that he came into contact with Atitomo Murashige sensei and Seigo Yamaguchi sensei, who were dispatched to burma to teach Aikido to the Burmese Army and the police force personal. U Thaung Din sensei took advantage of this opportunity to continue his martial arts education with these Japanese sensei.

U Thaung Din sensei received his 3-dan certificate from hombu dojo in Japan. This cirtificate was signed by aikido's founder, Morihei Ueshiba.

U Thaung Din sensei founded "Burma Aikido", which later became the Myanmar Aikikai. He taught aikido and other martial arts in his private dojo, in other martial arts clubs, and at the Rangoon University club. There was approximatly 30 years that Burma was closed to the outside world and there was no contact with the international aikido communnity. It was by the sole efforts of U Thaung Din sensei that aikido in Burma was preserved and kept alive.

In 1990, U Thaung Din Sensei received his much delayed 4-dan from Hombu dojo.

U Thaung Din passed away on December 5, 1996, in Yangon, Myanmar (Rangoon, Burma).

U Thaung Din sensei was married to Daw Nyunt Nyunt Aye (Daphne Williamson) since 1960, and had one son, U Nyunt Din.

In addition to aikido, U Thaung Din was skillful in other martial arts including, "Thaing" (a Myanmar style of self-defense), "Ju-Jutsu", "Aikikendo", "Chinese kenpo", "Tai-chi chuan", "Chinese stick fighting" and "Indio-stick" and hand-to-hand combat (Guntha, Shelia, and Manchuria).

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U Than Din Sensei demonstrates "Ki"

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U Than Din Sensei with friend

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Tachi dori, U Than Din Sensei

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U Than Din Sensei