At nearly 90 years old you could forgive Sensei Thamby Rajah for hanging up his 9th Dan belt in Aikido and taking a rest from throwing men and women, much younger than himself, onto the mats in his Seremban Dojo.
There is not much the man called “the father of Malaysian Aikido” hasn’t achieved in his life-time dedication to the martial art otherwise known as “the Way of harmonious spirit.”
“The goal of Aikido is all about defending yourself as well as protecting your attacker from injury, by blending the force of the attacker and re-directing it. ”
Sensei Thamby may not participate physically these days at his dojo but his watchful eyes pick up matters of technique that he passes on to his trainers and teachers including Sensei Loh Soh Har, himself in his 60’s.
As a youngster Thamby was a champion gymnast and loved a life of exercise. He went to Japan in the 1950’s to learn judo and returned home as Malaysia’s first black belt in that discipline, but after witnessing fellow students practising throws he did not recognise, he turned his interest to learn Aikido.
Over the years Thamby has taught many people the way of his craft including British and American officers who were stationed nearby that returned home and opened schools of their own.“Repetition, discipline and focus,” he says as he wanders through the dojo and watches his nephew, Gerard Ratnam, teach a mixed class of children and adults.
“It’s a nice way to live your life,” beams Thamby, who embodies the spirit and character of this ancient art form.
If you would like to attend, Seremban classes are on Saturday and Sunday in the mornings.