Roland Stettler Yon-Dan

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Roland takes class on Wednesday evenings.

He was born in Switzerland and started practicing Aikido in his early twenties. He says: when I attended my first class I was so impressed by what I experienced that I joined the club.

My first teacher was Francesco Marrella (now 6th Dan Swiss Aikikai) whom I hold responsible for me being hooked on Aikido for life…

Since commencing training I have practiced continuously with a couple of long breaks for travelling, first to the USA, and then later around the world. This took one and a half years… including a stay in New Zealand. In Switzerland I was exposed to Ikeda Shihan and Tada Shihan. Masatome Ikeda Shihan was the technical director of Swiss Aikikai and he held seminars all over Switzerland, and visited our dojo regularly. Tada Shihan (his teacher) also held regular seminars in Switzerland.

Just before I was due for my first Dan grading I moved to New Zealand. It began as a work holiday but this extended until I became a resident and gained dual citizenship. In New Zealand I joined Aikido Shinryukan (NZ Aikikai) and Takase Shihan became my teacher. After 5 years in Auckland I moved down to Dunedin to study Dentistry. The Dunedin dojo at that time had only one black belt (yudansha) and they were glad to have another. I was “forced” into teaching from my first week there, which was great for me, as teaching Aikido was the best balance to studying in what was for me a foreign language. I often wonder if I would have been able to complete my studies if it hadn’t been for the strength I gained from Aikido.

My Dan gradings were done under Takase Shihan during my ten years in New Zealand. While studying I continued to go to seminars and was exposed to Sawada Shihan. After seeing him several times I joined a group of Kiwi Aikidoka who went to visit him at his dojo in Nagoya. We had a great time and since then I have been back several times.

In 2000, lured over by a Swiss Aikido friend I met Sugano Shihan at my first Australian seminar in Melbourne. Travelling across the ditch I then attended several Summer and Winter schools before I finally moved to Queensland in 2007. After some detours via Gladstone and Brisbane I moved to the Gold Coast where I joined the Aikido Gold Coast Akikai dojo in 2010.

Through all the personal and professional changes I had I can truly say that Aikido is the one constant in my life.

Roland-throwing