The History of ASNJ, NJ's Oldest Dojo
About Aikido Schools of New Jersey (ASNJ)
Aikido Schools of New Jersey is an organization dedicated to the teaching of Aikido's techniques, philosophies, and related arts, as handed down by its Founder, Master Moreihei Ueshiba . ASNJ is the oldest Aikido dojo (school) in New Jersey and one of the oldest traditional Aikido dojos in the United States. Founded by Shihan Rick Stickles in 1977, ASNJ was one of the first dojos to join the United States Aikido Federation, under the direction of Shihan Yoshimitsu Yamada. ASNJ and the USAF are directly affiliated with the Founder's dojo and the Aikikai Foundation in Tokyo, Japan. ASNJ is a full-time martial arts dojo open seven days a week. Its class schedule offers over 30 classes a week, instructing Aikido, sword, staff, Tai Chi Chuan and meditation arts for the beginner, intermediate, and advanced student (both adults and children). ASNJ's teaching staff has over 15 qualified instructors.
The early years (1977–1986)
In 1977, while Shihan Stickles continued studying and teaching at the New York Aikikai, ASNJ was known as The Elizabeth Aikido Club, a part-time dojo operating out of a dance studio in Elizabeth. During this time, Shihan Stickles traveled extensively with Yamada Sensei to help conduct seminars nationwide and in Europe. As the dojo grew, the name was changed to Union County Aikikai. Shihan Stickles continued to travel privately to study with many of Ueshiba Sensei's original students as well as conduct seminars of his own.
ASNJ grows and expands (1986 - 2000)
"The old Elizabeth Dojo"
Around 1986, Shihan Stickles began to concentrate on developing Aikido within the State of New Jersey. He was instrumental in opening over a dozen "satellite" dojos in Morris, Essex, Bergen, Hudson, Middlesex, and Monmouth counties. To reflect that activity, the name was changed from Aikido of Union County to the current name, Aikido Schools of New Jersey. Two international locations were opened during this time: one in Bermuda and one in Krakow, Poland.
ASNJ current location (2000 - 2015)
In 2000, the dojo moved from Elizabeth to its current location in Roselle Park. "Satellite" locations, capable of growing into full-time dojos, were handed off by Shihan Stickles to his senior students to develop. Shihan Stickles concentrated his efforts in Roselle Park.
Passing of Shihan Richard M. Stickles (June 21, 2015)
It is with deep sadness and heavy heart that we announce the passing of Richard M. Stickles - 7th Dan, Shihan and Founder of Aikido Schools of New Jersey. Stickles Sensei began his training in the New York Aikikai and was soto deshi to Yamada Sensei. He was a beloved husband and a dedicated father. He will be forever missed.
ASNJ currently (2015 - present)
ASNJ continues the curriculum and traditions of Shihan Stickles under direction of Sensei Jay Tall, Chief Instructor. Hal Lehrman, 7th dan, Shihan, who brought Rick Stickles into the practice of aikido when then were friends back in the '60's, came aboard to guide the school and teaches twice a month. The dojo is flourishing and still has classes seven days a week.