Friday, August 26, 2005

friday training

Well i haven't been training for two weeks, i've been on holiday in the South of France. I had really missed the lessons, and i was itching to get back on the mat. The last time i was on the mat i had really felt things were starting to sink in (i've come to realise now that this is when aikido bites back).

Well tonight we concentrated on weapons work. Beginning with Jo, starting off with the one person kata, and working through to partner kata's.
We then worked on bokken, then shinoi. The lesson ended for me by Sensei Andy running through 3rd form with me. Once again an excellent lesson.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

A Great Read

An Introduction to E. W. Barton-Wright (1860-1951) and the Eclectic Art of Bartitsu
Richard Gordon Smith, an Englishman living in Japan at the beginning of the twentieth century, made a note in his diary about a demonstration of martial arts he had witnessed:

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Tenchinage Video

Tenchinage is now presented in multiple forms for your viewing pleasure at, video index section. Enjoy!!!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Re-live this great event with a DVD of all the days events Taiko Drummers - Teachers - Guests - Students. Visit to place your order now.
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Gwynne Jones misleading article in Martial Arts Illustrated Magazine

Bends the Branch or Bends the Truth.

A statement by Henry Ellis

Please visit the National Aikido Data-Base for forum comments on this issue.. ..

I am writing this brief statement to correct the serious errors stated within the MAI June 2005 article interview “Bends the Branch” with Mr Gwynne Jones. The article would have served the readership better had it been titled “ Bends the Truth “ . I have contacted Mr Bob Sykes the Editor of MAI who has kindly added my letter of complaint to the letters to the editor in "Fighting Feedback" letters page. It is my sole intention to set the record straight.

Mr Gwynne Jones has also chosen not to apologise for his confused perspective of the history of British Aikido.

Mr Jones makes misleading statements of a period before he himself had started Aikido, describing events as if he were actually there, he did not bother to contact any of the Abbe students of that time to verify his “ facts “ .

As it was proved with Mr Jack Poole’s serious memory distortions with the history of British Aikido, If left for a period of time these matters can soon be recalled as fact, and sadly history is altered for the genuine students of the future. One can only assume that Mr Jones has decided it would be prudent to follow Mr Poole and not apologise for their deliberate mistakes, they obviously stand by their statements. I find it most ironic that in the very same article of errors Mr Jones states with some pride "When I eventually go to the great dojo in the sky, the epitaph on my grave to read 'An error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it ! '" Perhaps now is a good time to think of a new epitaph ?

I have never been surprised by any of Mr Poole’s bizarre claims or actions in recent years, I would add that I am surprised and disappointed by the statements of Mr Gwynne Jones who I once considered a friend.

The original dan grades of Abbe Sensei along with Sensei Ken Williams did so much in those early days to promote Aikido which then was a little know Martial Art. Teaching for free, Derek Eastman and I traveled around the UK teaching where ever we could for free. we never received any payment, just a bed occasionally for the night and a meal, many a night we spent sleeping in the car, we never complained, we actually enjoyed what we were doing. These efforts and sacrifices were to promote the name of Aikido. Derek and I were the first to introduce Aikido to the Further Education System. These original students should be recognised for their part in the inception of UK Aikido. People such as Mr Jones and Mr Poole and so many others now reap the benefit from the efforts and sacrifices of those early teachers.

The Article

Mr Jones refers to Kenshiro Abbe Sensei as “ Abe “… Matsutharu Otani Sensei as “Tani“

Mikito Nakazono Sensei as “ Nagezomo “ .

Although Mr Jones uses these strange names in every reference in the article, I will use the correct names for historical reasons.

Gwynne Jones:

Well, Ken Williams had trained under Abbe Sensei (Abe) who was a great Budo man and his style was very linear. YoshinKan formal Aikido.


Abbe Sensei nor Williams Sensei ever taught Yoshinkan Aikido , there were no Yoshinkan style when Abbe Sensei was with OSensei. ( Shihoda Sensei developed YoshinKan in 1955 the same year that Abbe Sensei came to the UK )

Gwynne Jones:

However, when Nakazono ( Nagezomo ) was called over by Abbe Sensei ( Abe ) to properly introduce Aikido to this country.


Mr Jones’s words " Properly introduce Aikido" baffle me, on the arrival of Nakazono Sensei ( Nagezomo ) there were eight dan grades, one 3rd dan and two second dans,five first dans, I think it is fair to assume that Aikido was well established and healthy on his arrival.

Gwynne Jones:

He Nakazono ( Nagezomo ) became famous for saying, while he was looking at four or five people on the mat wearing hakamas, that three of them should “ Best sell hakama today while you can get a good price” .


The previous statement is pure nonsense. Fact.. Nakazono Sensei ( Nagezomo ) looked at one student in particular and stated “ Necessary sell your Gi whilst prices are high “

Gwynne Jones:

He ( Nakazono) proceeded to downgrade them, Ken Williams kept his grade as did Hayden Foster and possibly Henry Ellis and Andy Allen with a few others who were the nucleus of Aikido then in the London area.


Nakazono Sensei ( Nagezomo ) down graded one student and one student only from second dan to first dan, which we all thought was so very wrong. No others were downgraded, Henry Ellis was not that student, Ellis has never ever been down graded or ever over graded.

For the record, Andy Allen was not there on this occasion, he was only a beginner at this time and had been introduced to Aikido by Henry Ellis.


Nakazono Sensei had been invited to the UK as he was the official AkiKai Hombu representative for Europe and North Africa. Kenshiro Abbe Sensei wanted to devote his time to his main objectives of promoting Judo and his philosophy of Kyu Shin Do. He had asked that Nakazono Sensei ( Nagezomo ) supervise the further promotion of British Aikido, and not to “ Properly introduce Aikido to this country “ .


I trust that students having read this statement will now be more aware of the facts.

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Sunday, August 14, 2005

O'Sensei in 1957

Monday, August 08, 2005

There's a New Sheriff in Town

An Insert to Kenshiro Abbe Celebrations Memories Section at

Derek Eastman and I were invited to the Bushido ZaZen Annual Dinner in February 2004 by Mr Arnold Davies Hanshi and Mr Clive MacDonald of the Essex Aikido Forum, as we sat down for the first drink of the evening, I remarked to Mr MacDonald “ Do you realise that next year it will be fifty years since Kenshiro Abbe Sensei arrived in the UK and introduced Kyu-Shin-Do and Aikido. It was only intended as a casual remark but the subject dominated the rest of the evening.
The Venue
We discussed the possibility of organising an event between the member clubs of the Essex Aikido Forum “ EAF “ . We soon realised that this event was going to be too big for the EAF dojos. we decided on a committee of like minded people to organise this event.
At our first committee meeting it was soon apparent from the interest already generated that a prestigious venue would be needed and we looked at several possible venues and finally decided on The Crystal Palace Sports Centre, which later proved to be an excellent choice.

We had almost eighteen months to plan this event which seemed a long time then, It actually took all that time to put the event together. The interest from every quarter was nothing short of amazing, showing that the name of Kenshiro Abbe Sensei was revered by so many genuine MartialArtists. I contacted many old students of Abbe Sensei such as Sensei Haydn Foster and Sensei Ralph Reynolds who without hesitation agreed to take part along with Sensei Phillip Smith who represented his father Mr William Smith MBE Shihan.

We had a most impressive guest list with representation from the Japanese Embassy with Mr Motai. It was a very proud moment for me when I saw Sensei Bill Woods arrive, despite his serious illness he insisted on attending to pay tribute to his teacher. It was a special moment also to meet Sensei Robin Otani again after so many years.

I had stayed at the Crystal Palace “hotel” and walked down to the centre on the big day, as I walked into the main hall there was already an atmosphere of something very special was taking place as sound of the Taiko Drummers filled the Great Hall with their electrifying sound. I then walked onto the concourse and looked down onto the large matted area where the drummers were playing, I was amazed to see so many students down below mingling with other students some of whom they had never met before and many making new friends.
I have never been an emotional man yet I will admit to a few tears trickling down my face as I looked around and surveyed the scenes below and on the concourse where all the stands were. I stood there and recalled the very first UK Aikido seminar at a small Judo Dojo in Devises run by Graham Burt which was about 1959 where I was assistant to Ken Williams Sensei and here I was at the latest seminar which was the greatest Aikido event I had ever attended.
This event from the discussions over the ZaZen dinner to the actual day had run so smoothly almost as if Abbe Sensei himself had guided us. I am certain that as he looked upon that day of Celebration to his name and achievements he would have been honoured and very proud.
Henry Ellis.
Event Liaison Officer

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Thrusday Class TX

Sensei was on vacation so class was just Chad and I. As a matter of fact even the Master Juan's classes were cancelled, so Chad and I had the place to ourselves. We worked on sankyo and kaiten nage from 1st-6th forms. focusing on keeping close and using the hips to influence uke to ukemi. also worked on the positive entry from defending shomen.