Monday, 17 April 2017

-----------------------------------------The British Aikido History Site - 1955 - 2017------------------------------

CLICK - Tribute Slide-Show to TK Chiba Sensei - 1940 - 2015

The British Aikido History Site 1955 - 2017

" It's discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty, and how few by deceit   " - Noel Coward

Tanto presentation to Henry Ellis at the ` Masahilo Nakazono Memorial Event ` 2007
To celebrate Henry Ellis Shihans 50th year of teaching and promoting Traditional Aikido ( now 60 years )

Scroll Down for ` British Aikido Historic Milestones`

Admin: Henry Ellis Aikikai Shihan and Derek Eastman Aikikai Shihan, 

Direct students of Kenshiro Abbe Sensei and Ken Williams Sensei from the 1950s / 60s, 

Whilst we intend to offer our visitors a rare look back to the early days of UK Aikido 
 Its origins - legacy - factual history. It is worthwhile noting that there is also a great deal of BS out there  - whilst there are many instances of such BS - the mother of all of them is the notorious " British Aikido Board Collusion with Mr Jack Poole " this disgraceful episode is factually and fully documented below in the 

Click - " Martial Arts Encyclopedia Archives "   [ accessed over 80,000 times ]

" If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything " - Mark Twain

Shihonage - Henry Ellis & Dave Warne

Unique Achievements in Early Days of UK Aikido

1 - Henry Ellis Shihan is the only Aikido student in the UK to have two diplomas signed by Osensei Morhiei Ueshiba and his Shihan promotion signed by Osensei Ueshiba's grandson Moritereu Ueshiba
  Additional grades by Kenshiro Abbe Sensei - Masahilo Nakazono Sensei.- TK Chiba Shihan.
2 - H Ellis assistant to Ken Williams Sensei (1957 - 1967 )
 Taking part in the `` 1st UK Aikido seminar 1959 `` at the Devises Judo Club organised by the late respected Graham Burt Sensei.

3 - H Ellis took part in the very first ``UK TV`` promotion of Aikido in Cardiff `circa 1960 ` by Harlech TV.

4 - H Ellis, the first Aikido teacher to introduce Aikido to the UK Further Education System 1960 -

5 - H Ellis has promoted Aikido with TK Chiba Shihan on ``BBC World Radio and Granada TV`` - 1969.

6 - H Ellis took part in the great Budo demonstration at the ``1963 BJC National Championships at `The Royal Albert Hall`` London `` with Kenshiro Abbe Sensei.
7 - H Ellis assistant to M Nakazono Sensei at the `` BBC `Lyme Grove Bathes Studios `. - and the famous ` York Hall`. London.

8 - H Ellis also promoted Aikido on New Mexico USA state radio and took part in a play ` A Book of Five Rings ` at the ` The New Mexico State Theater ` as the villain Sasaki Kojuro " presented by Dave Rogers Sensei.
Henry Ellis is also the co-author of the acclaimed book " Positive Aikido ".

Photos - Left: 1958 - Ken Williams Sensei with assistant Henry Ellis at the " Hut Dojo"

Grade diploma's  signed by - OSensei M Ueshiba (2) - Kenshiro Abbe Sensei - Mutsuro Nakazono Sensei - Masamichi Noro Sensei - TK Chiba Sensei - Doshu M Ueshiba.

Aikido - 1955 - 2016 - For those that studied with Sensei's  Kenshiro Abbe - Tadashi Abe - Masahilo Nakazono - TK Chiba Sensei in those early days will remember their Aikido being true Budo, something that very few will ever see or feel again .

1955  -  BRITISH  AIKIDO  HISTORY  - 2016

"  No matter your pretense, you are what you are, and nothing more " - Kenshiro Abbe Sensei

Visit -  Kenshiro Abbe Sensei.  1915 - 1985

Article: " Trying to Catch the Wind " - Kenshiro Abbe Sensei

1955 - Early British Traditional Aikido - a time when the only dancing in Aikido was after Kenshiro Abbe Sensei rapped a students ankles with a shinai,  flying uke drones were an unknown specie.  `Noddy Aikido` throwing with a nod of the head was unheard of -  Self grading was totally unacceptable and unknown, It would have brought shame on the sad shameless recipient and their dojo.  Aikido dancing with ribbons would have been considered a mockery, who would ever have thought that some modern UK teachers would elevate their grades  with the approval of the BAB above our legendary Japanese teachers, Kenshiro Abbe - M Nakazono - M Noro - TK Chiba. R.I.P.

Article - The Arrival of TK Chiba to the UK 1966
"There we were Two Handsome Young Men "

In Memory of a Great Teacher - TK Chiba Shihan 1940 - 2015

It is with great sadness that I report the peaceful passing of TK Chiba Shihan at his home in San Dieago USA, on the 5th - June - 2015

Visit the Kazuo Chiba Sensei Memorial Site -> "Kazuo Chiba Sensei"

It was in 1964 when Kenshiro Abbe Sensei returned to Japan for the ` Japan Olympics `
Abbe Sensei visited O'sensei M Ueshiba at the AikiKai, - Abbe Sensei asked O'sensei to send to the UK the first full time AikiKai representative.

Two years later in 1966, TK Chiba Sensei arrived in the UK, his arrival would cause a massive upheaval in British Aikido.

Henry Ellis had studied Judo and Aikido at the once famous Hut Dojo from 1957.

In 1967 Henry Ellis left the Hut Dojo to become assistant to TK Chiba Sensei - 1967 to 1972.

This piece of UK Aikido history is detailed in the right hand column with a link to ` Aikiweb `
Columns page seven - click -" There we were - Two Handsome Young 

Above Left: 1968 - Henry Ellis with TK Chiba Shihan.


Site Admin - Henry Ellis  6th dan AikiKai Shihan & Derek Eastman 6th dan AikiKai Shihan.

Grades signed by - OSensei M Ueshiba - Kenshiro Abbe - Mutsuro Nakazono - Masamichi Noro - TK Chiba - Doshu M Ueshiba.

Co- authors with Dave Rogers Sensei of the book ` Positive Aikido `

If you are looking for dancing Aikido with perhaps a touch of the Tango, or maybe some flamboyant multicoloured  ribbon dancing - or some fantasy Ki Aikido ? then keep your money in your purse, this no nonsense book `Positive Aikido` is not for you.


The ` Hut Dojo ` 1957

Front centre: K Abbe Sensei - left of Abbe Sensei is Haydn Foster junior - right of Sensei K William - Back row - second from right Henry Ellis - Back row second from left 14 yr old Robin Otani - fourth from left Haydn Foster Senior - Robin Otani is now the President of the `British Judo Council` ( BJC ) founded by his father Mutsutaro Otani 7th dan and Kenshiro Abbe Sensei.

Scroll down for " Aikido Then and Now "

1955 - 2016

" You have to know the past, to understand the present " - Carl Sagan

Photo Below: 

Click - Ken Williams Sensei 

A senior Judoka with Kenshiro Abbe Sensei from 1955.

Williams Sensei became the first UK student of Aikido, chosen by Kenshiro Abbe Sensei. 
Later, Abbe Sensei promoted Williams Sensei to National Coach of the `British Aikido Council`. [BAC] 
Sensei Williams was based at the once famous  `Abbe School of Budo`  [Hut Dojo] he was the first dan grade from the inception of Aikido to the UK, - Henry Ellis was the personal assistant to Williams sensei from 1957 to 1967.

Right: Mutsuro `Masahilo` Nakazono Sensei 1963 

Nakazono Sensei - first official teacher invited to the UK by K Abbe Sensei with the approval of OSensei Ueshiba - 1960.  

 Photo Left: Nakazono Sensei with Uke Henry Ellis at Grange Farm Summer Budo Course 1963 with Kenshiro Abbe Sensei - Back row standing in white top - Ken Williams Sensei - Right of photo in black Lenny Ballard (L)  Eric Dollimore (R)

When Nakazono Sensei arrived in the UK there were only 8 dan grades for Aikido in the UK, they were all based at the ` Hut Dojo `.

The 8 dan grades were proud to have been graded by Kenshiro Abbe Sensei, 

It came as a shock when Abbe Sensei informed all the dan grades they were all to be regraded by Nakazono Sensei, this  to make sure they all met with the then AikiKai standards - we all passed. Now we had our shodan and ni dan diploma's signed twice by two great teachers.

Nakazono Sensei stated   " you could all visit the AikiKai and train equally with anyone there of similar grade."

Jiro Nakazono Sensei told Henry Ellis, when he was a schoolboy in France age 13/14, he would wait excitedly for his father to return from his visits to Britain and tell the stories of the tough Aikidoka of Britain. who his father described as " The British are the toughest Budoka in all Europe ".

Right: M Nakazono Sensei with Henry Ellis at Sensei's home in Sante Fe New Mexico USA   1992.

Sensei Williams initially selected a small hard core group of seven dedicated hard training students, these students survive the rigorous training to one day be graded to dan grade by Kenshiro Abbe Sensei and later re-graded by Masahilo Nakazono Sensei  at the request of Abbe Sensei.

These were the first and only Aikido dan grades in the whole of the UK.

D Williams - E Dollimore - H Foster - H Ellis - L Ballard - P Dowden - D Eastman - J Caldwell.
Williams Sensei and the team of eight were the true pioneers of British Aikido.

K Williams Sensei is now the president of the `Ki Federation GB `.
Left:  The `Hut Dojo ` circa 1957.

Letter dated 19th May 2000 from the Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba to Henry Ellis Shihan.

"Aikidoists who were awarded dan grades by the founder are becoming fewer year by year. I believe that a person like you is very precious. It is my earnest hope that you will take very good care of yourself and contribute to the development of Aikido long for the future.  
Doshu M Ueshiba.
Photo: Doshu - H Ellis [ Co-author of the book ` Positive Aikido `]

`You may know one thousand techniques on the mat - do you have the fighting spirit to apply just one in the street ` ? - Henry Ellis

Below: Letter dated 3rd November 2008 from TK Chiba Shihan to Henry Ellis and Derek Eastman Shihan
Extract: -  

"The reason for this invitation is in recognition of and respect for your sincere devotion, commitment and persistence in the cause of British Aikido for over half a century, to begin as pioneers and being the first black belt students in Great Britain recognized by Hombu.  Most importantly to preserve the lasting friendship between ourselves." 

Right; TK Chiba Shihan - Henry Ellis - Summer School 1967.

Names on Board - A = Aikido - J = Judo.
D Eastman (A) - HD Foster jnr (J) - R Twitchen (J) - D Williams (A) - K Williams (A) -E Dollimore (A) - P Garbutt (J) - H Foster snr  (A) -  H Ellis (A) - P Dowden (A) - L.Ballard (A) - H McFarlane (A) - J Caldwell (A) - T Jones (A) - R Brandon (j) - R Reynolds (A) - A Allan (A) C Farr (J).

The original `Hut Dojo ` Dan Grading board  ( dart board ) from 1955 with names of both Judo and Aikido dan grades - all the original dan grades are there. Students name tags would hang on a hook on the colour of their grade - when they reached dan grade they would be sign written on the top of the board.

 If your name, or the name of your teacher is not on this historic lineage board - then, you were never there. 

There are so many these days making claims they, or their teacher, trained at the `Hut Dojo` ( in the early days ) sadly, most of them are full of compacted bull shit. 

There is a big difference between having trained at the Hut Dojo as a part of the original small pioneering group and being an occasional or one off visitor. - Standing in a garage doesn't make you a car.

 It is accepted someone visited the Hut Dojo occasionally and cleaned the outside windows on a rare weekend, maybe that was their teacher contribution ? 

Below:  K Williams Sensei with K Abbe Sensei.

The ` Hut Dojo

Initially a Judo Dojo - When Ken Williams Sensei joined with Kenshiro Abbe Sensei he renamed the dojo ` The Abbe School of Budo ` even though to this day the dojo was and still is affectionately known as the " Hut Dojo " .

When Sensei Williams left the Hut Dojo in 1967 he left it in the capable hands of Haydn Foster Sensei - I honestly feel that when our old friend Haydn left us, so did the character and atmosphere of the original Hut Dojo.

I first started Judo at the Hut Dojo - in 1957 I joined the Aikido section with Haydn Foster who had joined some 2 or 3 months earlier.

Above:  Original grading book from the 1950s.  

  Henry Ellis - Haydn Foster - Derek Eastman.->

`` Mr Foster  ``
To this day, many students and teachers refer to Haydn Foster Sensei as ``Mr Foster `` without understanding why ?
At the Hut Dojo in the 1950s Although Mr Foster was not senior to us in grade, he was  approx 10 years older than Derek Eastman and Henry Ellis, as teens in those early days young people were taught to respect their elders, so, we, Ellis and Eastman simply and fondly called Hayden ` Mr Foster `, other students followed, and so it carries on, even to this day.

Henry Ellis - Harada Sensei - Derek Eastman

We were all guests at TK Chiba's 40th UK celebration dinner 2006.

Harada Sensei was teaching in Brazil where he was a bodyguard to the Japanese Emperor during a visit to that country. Harada Sensei was invited to the UK by Kenshiro Abbe Sensei in 1963 - Henry Ellis gave up some mat space on his evening class at the Hut Dojo to Harada Sensei, as there were no students to begin with, Ellis and Eastman were the first students of Harada - in turn they taught him some Aikido which can be seen today in his `Shotokai ` karate movements and style. - Harada Sensei later took an outstanding young student named Ken Waight as his first ever UK assistant.

The `Hut Dojo ` Hillingdon London.

In the 1950s / 60s the Hut was a place of pilgrimage for many students of Aikido and other martial arts from across the UK and Europe, it had a powerful atmosphere that many visitors claimed you could grab by the handful as you entered, I looked on the Hut in those early days as my second home. With the sad passing in 2011 of Haydn Foster Sensei, - for me now the Hut no longer has that special feeling, it was gone forever, on our last visit to the Hut Dojo after we met with TK Chiba Shihan.  Derek Eastman and I jointly declared that this would be our last ever visit to the Hut Dojo. it held nothing more in our hearts, although the old Hut is no more, our memories are alive and strong. - The original building has been refurbished and bears little resemblance to the original dojo, sadly you can't refurbish the atmosphere or bring back those very special people that created the once famous `Hut Dojo` from its origins as an old Scouts Hall.

BJC - Grange Farm Summer Schools 1959 – 1966 - Judo - Aikido - Karate - Kendo.

Left: 1961 - Nakazono Sensei with uke Henry Ellis.- Grange Farm.

Right: Tada Sensei with uke Henry Ellis.

Grange Farm.
One of the great events of those early days was the summer courses held at Grange Farm Sports Centre – Chigwell – Essex. - Kenshiro Abbe Sensei would invite many great Budoka to attend th dan – Shoji Hamano 9th dan – Haku Michigami 7th dan – Mitsusuke Harada 5th dan -  Mutsuro Nakazono 7th dan – Masamichi Noro 6th dan – TK Chiba 6th dan - Tomio Otani Kendo National Coach.
– Mutsutaro Otani 7th dan Judo.


                                                                            Visit - Don Bayney Japanese Swords

Aikido ~ Then and Now ~ 1955 ~ 2016

Henry Ellis - I am often asked the following question.

 What is the difference between the Aikido of the 1950s and the Aikido of today ?"

1950s - This was a time when kyu and dan grades were highly respected, simply because everyone knew that even the lowest grade had been honestly earned through blood sweat and tears, unlike today, when often grades are given as a Christmas present by your fellow  students, grading certificates can be ordered online from the inept British Aikido Boards website for a modest fee, thus the now common claim " British Aikido Board Approved " 
Unfortunately for  those that know no difference, this claim would appear to add the appearance of some form of credibility and legitimacy,  yet, for those that know the truth, they know it is nothing but crusty unadulterated BS .

In those early days students never handed out titles to their own teachers, such as Shihan - Grand master - Soke - Hanshi - Doctor - Professor, or any other grand title  you can think of..

Just imagine being back at school and the kids collectively informing the teacher that the class had jointly awarded him/her a PhD,  now that would be worth six strokes of the cane on both hands and time in a small cupboard for their stupidity in my war time school days.

My teacher - The legendary humble Budo master Kenshiro Abbe Sensei 8th dan - only ever used the title of `Sensei ` - yet, since his death in 1985,  I often see him referred to as Shihan - Professor  - and even Doctor - Abbe Sensei is now referred to as 10th dan - why ?  

One Aikido teacher claimed in a newspaper article posted on the internet 

Sensei Blogsworth  was so surprised and proud when his senior students promoted him to 7th dan - he is now one of the highest graded professional  Aikido teachers in the world ".

As I type this, I am thinking to myself  that by now his students will have probably graded him to 8th dan.  Its enough to make an old man cry.

1960 - Photo Left: Kenshiro Abbe teaching - Henry Ellis centre.

Kenshiro Abbe Sensei taught that uke should always attack on balance - today it is more often a ukemi flying attack with uke being overly compliant and acrobatic and the attack is a combination of 50% attack and 50% ukemi  ( break falling ) which contributes the mockery of Aikido.

Abbe Sensei's teaching - If  one attacks on balance, then the techniques have to be good to control the attacker - the nod of the head, and no touch throws would then be comical and ridiculed, sadly, many students show as much resistance as an unattached piece of string.

It was also a time when there was no Aikido with ribbons, if anyone had been daft enough to come into the dojo with a bundle of coloured ribbons ?  they would have been found hanging by them from the Hut Dojo roof beams or directed to the nearest ` Morris Dancing ` club.
There was never ever Aikido to music in the dojo, I will admit there was often a hum from sweaty feet.

It was a time when Aikido was a respected martial art, respected by all the other m/a.
If Abbe Sensei thought his teaching wasn't getting through - no words were spoken - Sensei would `tap` the offending body part with the light crack of a Shiinai - this was a very successful method of teaching, it gained immediate attention, it would be a reminder, and an indicator to the student what their problem was, no one ever complained - The Ki people would be in tears today.

It was a time when students would train hard, and the techniques would be strong and effective, everyone attacks a little different, therefore you cannot plan what your defense would be, the attacker makes your defense ( or not ) It was a time when people trained hard to understand the techniques - if, as so many do today, trying to scientifically analyze Aikido with engineering and physics, Aikido is natural feeling and movement, not for some,  for example, if a student asked Kenshiro Abbe or Mutsuro Nakazono anything of a technical nature, they were told to practice with an ` empty mind ` only a clear mind will adsorb the  knowledge.

Left: The 4th dan certificate presented to Kenshiro Abbe Sensei by Emperor Hirohito of Japan in the 1930s.


This was a time when Kenshiro Abbe sensei was the only 8th dan in the UK .

We now live in a different age, a crazy age, where 7th and 8th dans and now 9th dans are like post-boxes, with at least one in almost every town and village in the UK,  thanks to the inept - " BAB   -  you can grade yourself, or ask your students to grade you - and simply add ``British Aikido Board Approved ``. It is as creditable as ordering a doctorate online.

Aikido training In those early days with Kenshiro Abbe Sensei and a little encouragement of a Shinai, the training  was very physical, building fitness, fighting spirit, and physical and mental strength and a positive attitude towards your training and daily life, 

I was an dan grade in Aikido before many of of the so-called modern Aikidoka were born - yet, they state  " There is no kicking or punching in Aikido " - they should say ` there is no kicking and punching in their tree hugging Aikido `.
With Kenshiro Abbe Sensei, after the warm up session, there was always a 30 min session of kicking and punching techniques, this was followed with push-ups, depending on grade, with between 20 for beginners and two hundred for dan grades, the push-ups were on the back of the wrists with fingers pointing inwards followed by fingers pointing  outwards.

It was also a time when all Aikido came under the respected `British Aikido Council` [BAC] overseen by Kenshiro Abbe Sensei and Ken Williams Sensei the BAC national coach.

In later years we would see the creation of the so-called governing body for Aikido, the ` British Aikido Board` [BAB] 

This was a group that started with good heart and honest intentions, only to become  an overly bureaucratic body that would recognize its own grandmother as an ` approved ` Hanshi or dan grade,  an organisation that would later offer online dan grades for money. an organisation that would support the corruption of the true proud history and lineage of British Aikido from 1955, a support that failed miserably, which brought the British Aikido Board in to disrepute  slow decline.

The BAB would knowingly recognize well known fraudulent practitioners grades, publicly promote the offenders profile to its membership and the genral public. 

The BAB allow the endless use and abuse of `` BAB Approved `` for the promotion of self appointed titles of Shihan - Hanshi - Grandmaster - Professor - Doctor - Soke .

The British Aikido Board has now become a home for the homeless Aikidoka, the established organisations such as the JAC and the BAA, which are creditable organisations who are all associated with their Japan HQ - these organisations have resigned from the BAB.

Times change, people change, and Aikido will change - but sadly it is not always for the better.

Admin - Henry Ellis

Co-author of Positive Aikido`

Click - Tadashi Abe Sensei - 1926 - 1984.

" The Aikido I knew and learned with Osensei was Budo. Since my return to Japan, I realize that what we teach today has nothing to do with this martial art.
What remains of this art inherited from Samurai, which was formed by the founder for men. Today, it is a sport of women ! "  Tadashi Abe Sensei student of OSensei from 1942.

Aikido Dancing   -  Aikido Ribbon Dance  -  Nodding Aikido  - Fantasy Aikido

Times change, people change, and Aikido will change - but sadly it is not always for the better.

`The Aikido Controversy`

Admin - Henry Ellis

Co-author of Positive Aikido`  

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The British Aikido Lineage Tree

The British Aikido Lineage Tree
British Aikido Lineage comes directly from OSensei Ueshiba by Kenshiro Abbe Sensei to the UK in 1955..Photos in decending order are: OSensei ~ Kenshiro Abbe ~ K Williams ~ L- E Dollimore. R- D Williams- below - L- H Ellis -R - H Foster..below L to R - L Ballard - P Dowden -D Eastman - T Jones - R Reynolds...below the first Japanese teachers in order - M Nakazono - T Abe - M Noro - TK Chiba..The Lineage tree shows all the early teachers both British and Japanese. Click ~ British Aikido History site.

Aikido in the UK " The Beginning !!"

This article by Henry Ellis tells of the very early days of Aikido in the UK at the now famous " Hut Dojo " In those early days It was known as the " Hell Dojo ".
Aikido in the UK - The Beginning !

Video 1963 First UK Aikido Film ? Henry Ellis & Derek Eastman also other Ellis Aikido Videos.