Dr. Alan Drysdale, Godan

The chief instructor at Enmei is Dr. Alan Drysdale, godan. Dr. Drysdale has been practicing martial arts for over 50 years, and aikido for more than 40 years. He began doing judo when he was 14 and has more recently taken up karate to round off his skills, attaining the rank of yondan. He has practiced with many of the high-ranked aikido instructors in the USA including people from the USAF, AAA, Yoshinkan, Ki Society, Iwama, Jiyushinkan, and ASU. He has been teaching aikido for over 36 years, and is the author of the books “Doing Aikido”, “Aikido – Moving On”, and “Aikido – Walking on Water”, which are available from the dojo, the publisher, Amazon, or martial arts stores. He has been involved in helping the USJA upgrade their aikido section, and for several years was prominent in Aikido-List.

Dr. Drysdale is an aerospace engineer with extensive martial arts experience. He is fascinated by different perspectives: East and West, arts and sciences, playing bagpipes and shakuhachi. He is well qualified to address the scientific aspects of aikido, with a B. Sc. in zoology and a Ph. D. in engineering and cybernetics, and having spent two years doing postdoctoral research in human sensory perception. He worked in the space program for over 30 years, culminating in investigating how to keep people alive and healthy on a mission to Mars.

Dr. Drysdale has studied judo and karate as well as aikido, and has had some exposure to several other arts. He began studying martial arts in England in 1962, taking judo at the Bishop Auckland YMCA, and then at Newcastle and Reading Universities. He began practicing aikido at the University of Reading, England, in 1972, while a postgraduate student. His first aikido teacher was the late Hamish Macfarlane of the Institute of Aikido. This group was started by Sensei Kenshiro Abbe, who was the first person to teach aikido in England. He began teaching aikido as a first kyu when he moved to Bristol, England, in 1976. He received an instructor’s license from the Martial Arts Board when it was initiated, and a shodan in 1978. Shortly after that, he emigrated to America. He taught for a year in Atlanta, at the late Rodney Grantham’s dojo. Towards the end of that year he received a United States Aikido Federation shodan under Shihan Yoshimitsu Yamada. One of their students, George Kennedy, USAF 5th dan, now runs that dojo.

When work took him to Titusville, Florida, he studied and taught at Sand Drift Aikikai for 18 years, reaching the position of chief instructor and the rank of godan in 1995. He began practicing karate in 1995 with Mike Foster, 9th dan and hanshi of Yoshukai Karate International. He was promoted to yondan in karate in 2012.

In 1997, he became an independent teacher of aikido and attended many seminars in different styles. He opened Enmei Dojo in East Orlando in 1998. In 1999, he joined Aikido Schools of Ueshiba, under Shihan Mitsugi Saotome. He became chief instructor at Shoshin Dojo in Orlando when Shoshin and Enmei Dojo merged. In 2000, Enmei Dojo reopened in Titusville. In 2002, Enmei Dojo again became independent, together with associated schools.

He has attended seminars with the following senior teachers (in alphabetical order): Chiba, Doran, Hendricks, Ikeda, Kanai, Saito (Hitohiro), Saotome, Sugano, Tohei (Akira), Toyoda, Ueshiba (Moriteru), Yamada, Yamaguchi, and others. The seminars have been sponsored by the following aikido organizations: AAA, ASU, Iwama, Jiyushinkai, Ki Society, USAF, and Yoshinkan, as well as unaffiliated groups. He has taught at a number of seminars, including several Aikido List seminars, in the USA and abroad.

His current goal is to build Enmei Dojo to a strong and self sufficient dojo.