About ASNJ'S Founder Shihan Rick Stickles


"If the goal of Aikido is to merely throw a person on the floor, I would have stopped practicing 30 years ago."

- Rick Stickles


Richard M. Stickles had been practicing and teaching Aikido and its related arts for over 40 years, and was one of the few full-time Aikido teachers in the United States. Sensei Stickles was certified as Shihan (Master Teacher) by the United States Aikido Federation and the World Aikikai Foundation (Tokyo). He was one of only a handful of teachers appointed Shihan outside Japan. A 7th-degree black belt, Sensei Stickles was one of the highest-ranking and most senior traditional Aikido teachers in the country. A distance runner for 10 years, Sensei Stickles attended NYU on a full athletic scholarship, receiving a B.A. in theater and communications. Shortly after graduation, he was introduced to Aikido.


Sensei Stickles enjoys a rare moment
and throws Yamada Sensei

Sensei Stickles began training as soto deshi (direct disciple) of Yoshimitsu Yamada Shihan, 8th Dan, chief instructor of the New York Aikikai. During his apprenticeship, Sensei Stickles traveled throughout the U.S., Europe and Japan, studying with over two dozen of the principal disciples of Aikido's Founder, Morihei Ueshiba.


While in Japan he trained at various dojos including Hombu Dojo, World Headquarters, and received personal instruction from the Founder's son, Kisshomaru Ueshiba. Continuing his studies, Sensei Stickles worked extensively with Kazuo Chiba Shihan, paying particular attention to the pursuit of Aikiken (wooden sword) and its relationship to tai-jitsu (empty-handed body techniques).

Sensei Stickles was largely responsible for the development of Aikido in New Jersey (for details see About Us). His "Sit, Cut, Throw"TM curriculum is unique within the Aikido community. He supervised an instructor-training program, preparing many of his students to operate their own dojos. Two of his students operate dojos abroad, one in Bermuda and the other in Krakow, Poland.


In addition to responsibilities in his own dojo, Sensei Stickles taught Aikido seminars both on a national and international level. Through his company AikiVision, he conducted integration, personal enhancement, career development, and personal safety workshops in corporations and schools. He was certified by the New Jersey State Department of Education as a professional development provider and conducts Workplace Violence Prevention seminars for teachers.

Stickles Sensei circa 1981



Sensei Stickles was on the instruction staff of the New York Aikikai and founded Aikido Schools of New Jersey in 1977. He was the senior representative to the United States Aikido Federation in New Jersey.  He continued to run on a regular basis and was a daily practitioner of Dzogchen (Tibetan) meditation. Outside the dojo he loved spending time with his family (he was married with three children) and played a round of golf whenever and wherever possible.



On June 21, 2015, Sensei Stickles passed away.








June 21, 2015
Richard Stickles Sensei has passed.


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 in Roselle Park.


Stickles Sensei began his training in New York Aikikai and was soto deshi to Yamada Sensei. He founded ASNJ in 1977 and dedicated his life to teaching and promoting Aikido at his dojo and around the world.




"A teacher is first and foremost a student. When a teacher stops practicing, seeking - when a teacher ceases to be a student, it's over."

- Rick Stickles