About Sensei Suenaka
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.
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-hoTM
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
(This biography is from Suenaka Sensei's website. For more information on
Suenaka Sensei, please visit his website at
About The Instructor
Shihan Kelley began his Aikido career in 1991 under the instruction of Sensei Jeff Baygents in
Douglasville, GA. Shortly after joining Sensei Baygents' class, the class
joined the American International Ki Development and Philosophical Socitey.
The head instructor in Atlanta at the time was Sensei Fen Ackerman in Lilburn.
He continued to study in Douglasville under Sensei Baygents until 1993 when Sensei
Baygents left AIKD&PS to pursue other ventures. At this time Douglasville
was an independent Dojo until Julio Roque (Ikkyu), also a student of Sensei Suenaka
and Sensei Fen Ackerman, began to lead classes. Around 1995, the Douglasville
dojo dissolved and he began training directly under Sensei Fen Ackerman in Lilburn.
In June of 1999, he tested for and received his Nidan. In October of 1999,
started the Marietta, GA branch of the Atlanta Wadokai dojo in the Marietta YWCA.
He has taught in Marietta ever since. In May of 2004, Sensei Fen Ackerman
formally resigned from the Wadokai making the Marietta Branch the only Wadokai school
for the Atlanta area. On January 1st, 2008, the class moved to Marietta Martial
Arts. Shihan Kelley was promoted to Godan (5th degree) in June of 2011 and
currently holds that rank. The class is meeting at the Country Hearth Inn and Suites
as we look for a new home. Atlanta is currently home to two Wadokai branches,
Shihan Kelley in Marietta and Shihan Gene Cross in Villa Rica, GA. Shihan
Kelley continues his affiliation with
Wadokai, the AIKD&PS and Sensei Suenaka and is a certified dojo in good standing.
I am happily married to the greatest woman in the world, and have a beautiful son
Joshua who was born in December 2002 and daughter Amanda who was born in June 2007.
I have also studied Kung Soo Do Karate since 1984 under Sensei Stan Broome and am
ranked a Rokudan in good standing with Sensei Broome's organization, the American
Classical Karate Association. I was born in 1967 in Marietta, GA and have
lived in the Atlanta area ever since.
Photo: Kelley Shihan with Suenaka Sensei after Gasshuku 2006.