View Full Version : Ken Cottier Sensei Passes Away

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AikiWeb System
06-06-2008, 08:53 AM
Posted 2008-06-06 06:31:10 by Jason Bird
News URL: http://www.aikidojournal.com/?id=4921

I have been shocked today to find out that Sensei Ken Cottier is in the latter stages of Lung Cancer and is in a Hospice in Clatterbridge in Cheshire England, near his home. If you follow the link for more info you can pass your best wishes on to Sensei Cottier and his family (Editor's addition: or you can also leave your best wishes in the thread accompanying this news item).

Thank you, Jason Bird

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06-06-2008, 09:03 AM
Very sad, I spoke with his family yesterday and it is a very serious situation.

Ken has been a friend for perhaps 30 years and is one of the unsung Aikido giants.

Away from the mat a true gentleman and friend with a wonderful sense of humour, a joy and love for life and one of the kindest men you would wish to meet.

If you never met him you really missed something special.

My thoughts and love are with his family.

06-06-2008, 09:28 AM
I had the pleasure of being introduced to Ken at the 50 years of Aikido bash in Crystal Palace by my instructor Michael Narey.

He has always spoken very highly of Sensei Cottier and has asked me to pass on his best wishes

Daren Sims
National Aikido Federation

06-06-2008, 09:40 AM
My thoughts are with him, his family, and loved ones.

-- Jun

06-06-2008, 11:45 AM
I first met Cottier Shihan here in the Philippines in the 90s when he conducted several aikido classes.

He was very happy when I showed him my copy of the book "What is Aikido" by Koichi Tohei because he was the Uke of Tohei Sensei in the cover of the book.

I was expecting to see him in Singapore a few months ago during the 20th Anniversary Celebration of Aikido Shinju-kai but he begged off at the last minute for health reasons.

Aikido Philippines extends its best wishes to Cottier Shihan.

mel miel

06-06-2008, 03:50 PM
My thoughts and prayers go out to Sensei and his family.
I sincerely hope that 'we' put more money and effort into cancer research. It is so wide spread that it touches us all.


Janet Rosen
06-06-2008, 04:17 PM
I'm so very sad to read this.

I had to unexpected privilege of attending a seminar he offered at Suginami Aikikai in San Francisco a few years back. Both his teaching and his presence were inspirational.

Raul Roldan
06-06-2008, 04:24 PM
I had the pleasure of meeting Ken Cottier Sensei in Melbourne in early 2006. He is an inspiration and injected a lot of humor in the way he conveyed his teaching. My thoughts and prayers to Sensei and his family.

06-07-2008, 02:36 AM
I am truly sorry to hear of this sad news of Kens health. I first met Ken in Liverpool on a seminar in the early 1960's . Williams Sensei
and I had been invited to teach by a well known Judoka Ken Wainwright. This may have been Kens first Aikido class ? he stood out from the rest, he was such a funny guy making brilliant impersonations including Kenshiro Abbe Sensei. I last met Ken when he was a guest at our Kenshiro Abbe 50th Celebration in 2005.
My thoughts and prayers are with Ken and his family in what is a
most difficult time.

Henry Ellis
Ellis Schools of Traditional Aikido

Peter Goldsbury
06-07-2008, 08:00 AM
I would like to echo the sentiments expressed by Philip Smith and Henry Ellis.

I first met Ken Cottier around 1976, when he came to give a seminar at University College London, where I was a student. After that, our paths diverged, until I became involved with the International Aikido Federation (IAF). At some point I paid a visit to Hong Kong and gave a seminar in Ken's dojo. As you all know, in aikido it is customary to follow the Japanese custom and give an omiyage (souvenir). I chose some very good Scotch whisky. Ken was very happy to receive it, but, during the course of the seminar it was actually stolen from the dojo. Of course, Ken was distraught. After all, what would you do if the omiyage brought by the guest instructor was stolen from your own dojo?

Well, we became good friends after that and Ken used to send me audiotapes. He did not like writing letters and was never an Internet fan. Those tapes are full of stories, for which Ken was famous. Ken would start to tell me something about a serious issue involving the IAF, or aikido, or whatever, and incidentally would mention some shihan in the Hombu. There would then be a long interlude full of stories about the shihan, or whatever, after which Ken would ruefully resume his thread until the mention of another shihan he knew...

Best wishes to Ken, his family, the BAF, and all his aikido and non-aikido friends.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Goldsbury

Gernot Hassenpflug
06-07-2008, 09:04 AM
Ken Cottier sensei can rightly be called the mentor of South African aikido, and personal mentor of almost all the current seniors there. I first met Cottier Sensei in I think it was 1990 at the first summer camp I attended, and could not help but be impressed with his passion for aikido, and for people. His heart was all-encompassing, felt even through the pain of his applied shihonage!

I remember well the "war stories" told at the food and drink session after classes, and of driving him around during the 30th anniversary celebrations of the Aikido Federation of South Africa, including to visit a Chinese doctor for acupuncture for his knees.

After coming to Japan I exchanged letter and postcards with Cottier Sensei for some years while training with Abe sensei, but lost touch about two years back. I am saddened to hear of the situation and hope that my thoughts will bring him some support. Cottier Sensei, I think of you often, as an inspiration to my training especially now in bujutsu with the Aunkai, and my way of life. I thank you for showing me and others a better and a decent way by your sterling example. I will never forget you.

Gernot Hassenpflug, Tokyo, Japan

06-07-2008, 05:18 PM
I know Cottier Sensei by reputation only, but it certainly is a good reputation. I'd like to offer my sincere wishes for his peace and comfort, and for that of his family and friends at this difficult time. Those who have touched lives can find solace in the knowledge that theirs is a lasting impression.

Peter Goldsbury
06-08-2008, 07:54 AM
I have heard that Cottier Shihan passed away this morning.

May he rest in peace.

Peter Goldsbury

06-08-2008, 08:29 AM
This is indeed sad news...

I first met Cottier Sensei back in 1998 (or maybe 1999) when he went to Davao City to do a mini seminar. That was my second exposure to a world class Shihan ( i was 5th Kyu then)... a lot of his teachings stuck with me to this day and i am very grateful to have learned, practiced, and shared moments of aikido with him, albeit so short a time..

The thing i most remember of Cottier Sensei, besides his Aikido, is that he loves to sing.. We spent most of the evenings during that week long mini seminar in Davao City singing.. He does all the singing, while i play the guitar for him.. Indeed a wonderful person, a gentleman, a class act in his own right..

Although he may not remember me because we only got to spend a very very short time together, my fond memories of him will surely last forever..

Cottier Sensei will soon be entering a new beginning... And we wish him well...

With all my heart...

Pauliina Lievonen
06-08-2008, 09:52 AM
I have heard that Cottier Shihan passed away this morning.
Sad news. My condolences to his friends and family.

I had the pleasure of attending one seminar by Cottier sensei here in Holland a couple years ago and getting thrown around a little bit. "A true gentleman" someone else on this thread said and that was the strong impression I was left with as well. An inspiration.


06-08-2008, 11:44 AM
So sad.

Good bye old friend so many memories, so many good times. You will be sorely missed by me, my wife and children and of course by my mother.


AikiWeb System
06-08-2008, 11:58 AM
Posted 2008-06-08 11:58:23 by Jun Akiyama
News URL: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14600

Kenneth Cottier sensei, 7th dan aikikai, passed away early this morning (UK time). He had been diagnosed with lung cancer and was in a hospice in Clatterbridge in Chesire, England, near his home.

According to the Hong Kong Aikido Association website (http://www.aikido.com.hk), "Mr. Kenneth Cottier was a student of the Founder of Aikido, from the early 1960's and continued to live and train in Japan for almost 25 years. Cottier Sensei was instrumental in forming the Hong Kong Aikido Association in 1971, he represents the British Aikido Federation, the Superior Council of the International Aikido Federation and Founder of Hong Kong Aikido Association. Sensei was awarded the tilte of Shihan by Aikikai Hombu Dojo on 2002."

My condolences go out to his family, friends, and loved ones.

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06-08-2008, 12:46 PM
So very sad.
The present Doshu wrote to me " It is more than thirty years since Kisshomaru Ueshiba, my father suceeded Aikido Doshu II. And last year, I was inaugurated as the Aikido Doshu. Time flies !! 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 ".

Ken Cottier Sensei is one of the precious ones.

Henry Ellis
Ellis Schools of Traditional Aikido

jennifer paige smith
06-08-2008, 12:51 PM
My sincere gratitude and love go to Sensei's family, his dojo family, and his friends.

06-08-2008, 11:38 PM
Condolence to his family and may he rest in peace.

Mel Miel

Shima Ryu
06-09-2008, 07:04 AM
My most sincere condolences go out to Sensei Cottier's family, friends & students. At Thursday nights adult class I shall be sure to have Sensei Cottier & his loved ones in the thoughts of myself & the students. This is indeed a sad day for the world of Aikido :ai:

06-09-2008, 02:04 PM
It has been exactly nine years since I began training in Aikido (on 9 June 1999) at the Hong Kong Aikido Association, where I received instruction from Cottier Shihan for the first time same year. Nine years have passed, feeling extremely sad to receive the news on this day. I last spoke to Cottier Shihan in Feb 2006 and didn't have a chance to see him for the past two years. Never expected that would be the last time I saw him and the last good-bye I said to him.

As my Sensei puts it, which I feel the same way too: "Cottier Shihan's devotion to Aikido, his modesty and sincerity in dealing with people will serve as a model for many of his students. He is indeed true Aikido."

We wholeheartedly thank him for his teachings, both in and out of the dojo, all these years. Our thoughts are with him and his family. Cottier Shihan will always be remembered by all of us in the years to come! His teachings will continue to be passed on.

Pearl Koo
Aikido Seidojuku - Beijing

Takao Hattori
06-09-2008, 06:26 PM
I still remember his calm voice. I wanted to see him in HK again.
My sincere gratitude and love go to Sensei's family, his dojo family, and his friends.
Takao Hattori - Shunyoukai, from Chiang Mai, Thailand

Demetrio Cereijo
06-10-2008, 07:55 AM
My condolences to his family and friends.

06-10-2008, 08:12 AM
I have received the following from Tony Skillen:

I am the nephew of Ken Cottier, I was very close to my uncle Ken, I lost my father when I was 7 years old. my uncle ken became my father. he was the most generous, kind, and loving man in the world, and anyone who met him will say the same. as I read the notes of this blog, with tears and great of sadness in my heart, I just want to say thank you to all the kind words of comfort. all the family where there through out the day he died, it was a heartbreaking thing to see for the family to watch one of the greatest men in Aikido go to such a nasty thing as cancer, he did not deserve it. His funeral is on the 16/6/08 on the Wirral, England.

Tony Skillen

-- Jun

06-10-2008, 08:14 AM
My family and I have been heartened by all the kind messages of support during this very difficult time. We are all very proud and realize how many hundreds even thousands of people Ken befriended and inspired.

The funeral service is at St Mary's C of E Church, Eastham, Wirral at 11.00 am on 16th June with burial at Plymyard cementry close by.

A gathering of all family, friends and acquaintances is to be held at Bromborough Royal British Legion, Bromborough Village. All are welcome.

For any further information please phone me on 0151 334 1213 or you can also phone 0151 645 5155 and they will be able to give you details.

Please note it's Family Flowers only, but donations in Ken's memory would be welcome to St. John's Hospice, Clatterbridge, Wirral.

Once again thank you for all your kind words and support.

Ron Cottier (Ken's brother)

06-10-2008, 08:19 AM
Ron, thank you for posting the details of your brother's service. And, Tony, thank you for sharing with us your thoughts and memories of your uncle.

My heart and thought goes out to you and everyone in your family.

Best regards,

-- Jun

Ron Tisdale
06-10-2008, 09:04 AM
Condolances, and Best Wishes,


Ricardo Emmanuel Tianco
06-10-2008, 10:15 PM
My deep sympathy and condolences to the family of Kenneth Cottier Shihan and prayers for the soul of Cottier Sensei.

With his guidance, the path has been set and all there is left is to follow and never stop.

Hong Kong Aikido Association

oisin bourke
06-11-2008, 06:23 AM
I only attended one seminar given by Ken Cottier in Ireland a few years back. One memory that stood out was that even though he obviously had some knee trouble , he spent a large portion of the Sunday morning with some of the more clueless whitebelts (myself included) taking ukemi from us and enjoying himself!

I also took some very powerful throws from him where his movement was minimal and his elbows cemented to his hara. I hadn't a clue what he was doing at the time. I would have loved to meet up with him again to try and understand what was going on!.

Anyway, a few things he taught that short seminar have stayed with me. I hope it will be of some comfort to those close to him to know that he transmitted the art very generously even to those he met for only a couple of days.


Oisin Bourke

06-11-2008, 08:53 AM
I have received the following from Tony Doherty:
As everyone by now has heard the Ken passed away in the early hours of Sunday Morning.
His funeral will take place on Monday the 16th June 2008 at
St Mary's Church in Eastam Village Wirral
All aikidoka are welcome,the family have asked that No flowers are sent but a donation can be given to the Hospice where sensie passed away.
St Johns Hospice
Higher bebington
If you are thinking of attending please call the family and let them know of 01 0151 334 1213.
He is already sadly missed but his spirit is always with us,
We say good bye to the greatest Gentleman in Aikido
Ryusuikan Dojo
-- Jun

06-11-2008, 09:23 AM
Message from Yoji Fujimoto in Milan:
"It is with sadness that I receive this terrible news. I would like to express my deepest and sincere condolences to Ken Cottier's family and friends."

Kind Regards

06-12-2008, 04:04 AM
To: Kenneth Cottier Shihan

Not having seen you for more than two years, there are so many things in my heart left unsaid.

Although I have left Hong Kong and continue to study Aikido in other places, I have always been sincerely studying Aikido wherever I go just as you have taught us and my heart has always been with you and the Hong Kong Aikido Association. I should have contacted you more often in the past two years. From being distant to you as a beginner to being closer to you as a yudansha, I realize I have not done much for you as a student. I remember the last thing I did for you was to deliver a pack of grapes to you at the hotel one afternoon (also on behalf of one other Aikido student, Ching-yee), hoping you could have some fruits during tea time. That was just about one of the very few good things I had done for you. Now looking back, all those small group gatherings with you outside the dojo, such as going for Chinese dim sum which you like very much, and chatting with you in the hotel, have become too few but too dear and memorable.

Thank you for grading me Shodan. I feel very proud to have received Shodan from you.
Thank you for writing a reference letter for me to study Aikido in Singapore.
Thank you for writing a recommendation letter for me so that I could take my Nidan grading at Aikikai Hombu Dojo.
Thank you for your time, all the kind advices and guidance during my confused moments in life.
Thank you for giving me a good Sensei. I believe there are many fine qualities in him being passed on from you and eventually being passed on to me.
Thank you for being an inspiration to me in Aikido.

Although our encounter has been very short and brief (lasted for less than nine years, I wish it could be a lot longer), you have left with me something precious which will stay with me for a life-time. I guess quality time is what matters. I feel guilty for not being able to attend the memorial service held for you in Hong Kong and the funeral service to be held for you in England. Although I cannot be there, my heart is with you.

I have written to you before that I will make you proud one day. Although this day has not yet come for you to see it, I will still try my very best to fulfill my promise. I will keep all your kind advices at heart and I will continue to do what you had accomplished in Aikido. I know all these words come in a bit too late, may this message accompany you on your journey as you finally depart on Monday, June 16th. My heart and thoughts will be with you on this day.

Thank you for everything. Good Bye, Sensei. I believe your spirit lives on.

Pearl Koo
Former Member of the Hong Kong Association

06-12-2008, 04:24 AM
Condolence to Sensei Ken Cottier....

Hitoshi Nagai
06-12-2008, 08:21 PM
I got a sad news last Sunday.
I would like to express my sincere condolences to Cottier sensei and his family.

We have a lot of memories with him and never forget.
Thanks for all.

Hitoshi Nagai
Hong Kong Aikido Association

Paul W Hughes
09-07-2010, 02:29 AM
I would just like to send belated condolences to the Ken Cottier family and friends, as one who had the pleasure of meeting him his and teachings in Aikido.
He was always a brilliant ambassador of Aikido, willing to teach for no gain but to freely pass on his passionate knowledge of what he knew.
After Aikido practice he would always have stories and anecdotes to tell of his travels.

He will be missed by all.

Paul Hughes
Isle of Man

Carl Thompson
09-07-2010, 05:55 AM
I would just like to send belated condolences to the Ken Cottier family and friends, as one who had the pleasure of meeting him his and teachings in Aikido.

I was lucky enough to attend a couple of his seminars while at university. Time has passed but he is still remembered.

09-07-2010, 02:47 PM
I last saw Cottier Shihan at the Kenshiro Abbe Memorial event in 2005..I reminded him of when we first met around 1960 when he was a Judoka and a beginner in Aikido, I was teaching Aikido with Ken Williams the first student of Aikido in the UK at Fred Wainwrights Dojo in Liverpool. The one thing I remember about Ken was his abilty to immitate almost anyone, in particular Kenshiro Abbe to perfection... He was a very funny guy and a great ambassador for Aikido.

Henry Ellis