View Full Version : A couple of short Chiba Sensei stories...

Please visit our sponsor:

David Edwards
03-26-2004, 03:04 PM
Chiba Sensei and the Hakama
As told by Ken Cottier Shihan

I was at a formal dinner with Chiba Sensei, and given his somewhat fearsome reputation, nobody was too willing to sit next to him, but of course somebody had to, and in this case it was me. Let us say the atmosphere was quite tense. Looking for something I could talk to him about, I turned to him and said:
And he growled "Huh?"
"Erm, I folded your hakama earlier…"
"Oh? Yes?"
"Erm… Well, Sensei, I noticed there was something different about it"
"…but I couldn't work out what it was"
"I beg your pardon, Sensei?"
"I'm sorry, I'm not sure what you mean, Sensei"
"I said 'ool!' why don't you understand me when I speak English?"
It was then that [sorry, I forget the name –ed.] turned to me and said: "I think Sensei is saying "wool"
"Yes, ool!"
And it turned out that because of the way Japanese phonetics are worked, Chiba Sensei found it quite difficult to say "wool", and what came out was this "ool", as he had a woollen hakama… not woollen as in knitted, that would be silly, but just woven like a normal hakama… anyway, if the atmosphere was tense before this, it was nothing compared to what it was like after it.

Chiba Sensei and the Egg
As told by Ken Cottier Shihan

We were in a regular practice session, and it came about the Chiba Sensei got a nasty gash in his head. "It's ok", he said.
"It looks quite bad Sensei, it might need to be stitched"
"Not necessary. Get me an egg!"
"An egg, Sensei?"
"Yes, an egg! Do you have an egg?"
I felt like looking inside my jacket and saying 'Of course, Sensei, would you like hardboiled, poached, fried?' But I wasn't too sure that this would be well received so it was agreed that someone would go and get an egg for him. We did have to clarify with him, "Erm… just to check, it is a raw egg that you want, Sensei?"
"Of course I want a raw egg!"
Not wishing to argue with this, it was delegated to [sorry, I forget the name –ed.] to go down to the shop to purchase an egg. Of course, as this was an urgent matter, he was still in his keikogi, and the shop assistant was even more surprised that he just wanted to buy one egg, as in those days it was possible to buy eggs individually. She smiled politely to him, and he held up the one egg like this *gestures* and, after convincing her that he really did just want to buy one egg, and that it wasn't a joke, he came hurrying back to the dojo with this egg for Sensei. Upon his command a saucer was produced, by that I don't mean that it was actually manufactured by us, but rather that it was fetched from another room. What followed was an operation that required four of us, all directed by Chiba Sensei, who was of course by now sat in a chair, leaning back with a damp cloth to his head. As it turns out, the membrane from just inside the eggshell can be used to put over a wound, and this, if left to dry, sets hard like a kind of organic cement, and acts like stitches, except that it doesn't leave so much of an ugly scar; Chiba Sensei being concerned as he was about his looks.

I've heard more humorous Chiba Sensei stories in similar pub story-telling occasions / dinners etc with KC Shihan, but I don't remember them well enough to repeat so accurately here, so I won't try…

kung fu hamster
03-29-2004, 04:11 PM
I'd like to be a fly on the wall the next time you sit down to dinner with him...

03-29-2004, 04:24 PM
So, would it be safe to say Chiba Sensei had egg all over his face? Ha!

What? You were all thiking it too.


David Edwards
04-02-2004, 12:06 PM
I'd like to be a fly on the wall the next time you sit down to dinner with him...
Which will be next Saturday :D as he is a guest instructor at the KAA Easter Course, which is Saturday and Sunday, but on the Saturday night, some of us are having a dinner thing at which Mr. Cottier will be present, and, inevitably, telling stories, whether they're about his experiences with Chiba Sensei, or O Sensei, or even "just" Ezra Sensei (The 6th dan instructor who is holding the course, and who is an old friend of Mr. Cottier)

And Lloyd... how safe it would be to say that would probably be directly proportional to the distance between you and Chiba Sensei when you said it :p

05-11-2004, 11:05 PM
those are great, I'll have to ask him about the egg thing.

I've heard many stories but this one always comes up, he was once on a fishing boat (he loves to fish) and I guess there were several thug types aboard, I was told that there were words and one guy attacted him with a knife to his midsection, he did a downward cross arm block into ikkyo and broke his arm.

another funny one was one night several students and he were at a local pub and there were a few large tough guys there talking lound and such, one of them was walking through the crowd and bumped into Chiba, looked at him like "oh yeah", well I was told that Chiba just frowned at the guy and grunted and the guy quickly turned and walked away, I wish I could have been there for that one.

anybody else have any stories?

Steve Mullen
11-22-2005, 08:12 AM
I had the immense pleasure to train on a course taught be Shihan Cottier for White Rose, and he told us a story about Chiba as a prelude to a technique. (i think it was Chiba, many appologies if it wasn't) i can't remember it word for word but the general gist is this

Chiba was on a ship sailing to America in the early 50-60's this was a monumental journey back then (taking many many weeks) and after a few weeks with no training chiba was like a caged lion and was given a very wide birth by everyone on board. one night he was on deck between two big transport crates practicing tai-sabaki and tenkan etc when someone approached him saying he was a knife fighter and wondered if chiba would like to train with him.

They agreed to meet at the same place the next night and practice together, the knifeman lunged at chiba at one point of the training, chiba tried to make ikkyo from this but found the knifeman drew his hand back as soon as the thrust was completed making it impossible to do in the normal way.

Chiba asked if they could train again and the knifeman agreed. Chiba spent all is time up to then thinking about how to get round the knifemans quick recoil. so the next night comes and the two meet again, again the kinfeman lunges, but this time Chiba lays the outside of his hand against the inside of the striking hand and allows his hand to be drawn back too. At the point where the knifeman had stopped drawing his arm back Chiba kept extending his arm through the knifeman's and nigh on broke his arm with a udi-girami.

I thought this was a brilliant story as is shows how one of the best aikidoka developed his technique.

Nick Simpson
11-22-2005, 08:20 AM
So he kept the contact and blended with it? Sounds like rather good aikido to me.