The First British Aikido Dan Grades from 1955
Top: Ken Williams - David Williams - Eric Dollimore.
Centre: Haydn Foster - Henry Ellis - Derek Eastman.
Bottom: Andy Allen - Hamish MacFarland.
Lennie Ballard is in the background of the photo of H Foster.
All of the pioneer UK Aikido dan grades were based in the one dojo - `The Hut`, they had all been graded by Kenshiro Abbe Sensei. In 1961 Mutsuro Nakazono Sensei was invited from France to teach in the UK by Abbe Sensei - we had a shock in store on the first day with Nakazono Sensei.
Abbe Sensei had asked Sensei that we ``all `` be re-graded to meet Nakazono's Sensei's standard, and that of the then AikiKai.
All the dan grades were approved and highly complimented by Nakazono Sensei. That is except for one of our best students, he was a second dan, he was to our surprise demoted to first dan by Nakazono Sensei.
Nakazono then spoke those immortal words " Necessary sell your gi and hakama whilst prices are high ! " -
Sadly, the demoralised student would leave the Hut, and Aikido after a few months, never to return.