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Demetrio Cereijo
08-18-2005, 11:11 AM
Hi,

I have read in a Martial Arts forum about the amazing features of a british Aikido Shihan -8th dan-.

However, his name hasn't been posted, and googleing the web i haven't found any 8th dan british Aikido Master.

By his description, this gentleman is about 70 years old and seems to be one of Abbe Sensei students.

Any idea about his name?

Thanks in advance.

Richard Cardwell
08-18-2005, 11:28 AM
As far as I'm aware, the most senior British and Irish aikidoka are rokudan. I stand ready to be corrected, though.

markwalsh
08-18-2005, 12:01 PM
The phrase can of worms comes to mind...Here's what I'm aware of:

There are many people claiming high ranks and titles, but who issued them is the question? In the case of the Aikikai Hombu dojo it's as follows:

Kanetsuka Shihan - 7th dan, BAF
Cottier Shihan (student of Osensei, associated with Hong Kong Aikikai) - 6th dan, IAF
Smith Shihan - 6th dan, UKA
Ezra Sensei - 6th dan, KAA
Holland Sensei (Scottish Aikido Federation) - 6th dan
Various British Aikikai instructors (Chiba Shihan affiliated) - 6th dan

I'm not sure of the senior Yoshinkan (Dave Yates?), Tomiki or Ki Society folks. Any takers?

There are several active Abbe Sensei students, for instance Williams and Foster Sensei, who are well respected, but no longer directly connected to Hombu. In addition there are a number of self promoted 8th dans and Shihans, heading up some of the 30+ organisations in the country.

Can we have a link to the original article please Demetrio?

Mark

Mark

akiy
08-18-2005, 12:44 PM
Here's a listing in the AikiWeb AikiWiki (http://www.aikiweb.com/wiki) of high ranking non-japanese yudansha (at or above 7th dan):

http://www.aikiweb.com/wiki/nonjapanese

-- Jun

Demetrio Cereijo
08-19-2005, 09:38 AM
Can we have a link to the original article please Demetrio?

It wasn't an article, it was some posts in another internet forum (http://www.bullshido.net/forums/).
Note: Bold are mine

Post 1: (http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showpost.php?p=704797&postcount=255)
Really? A month ago I witnessed my organisation's Shihan (8th dan) zapping someone 15 ft away. With his KI. He dropped like a stone. EDIT: Not the Shihan, of course. The other geezer,

I don't think there is consensus on what it is. Different people have their own beliefs. What I know, and can say for certain, is that within the organisation that I train in the belief seems to be that there is indeed an invisible, immesurable, hitherto unknown to science force that can be harnessed to zap someone 15 ft away.

Make of it what you will.


- cod3r

Post 2: (http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showpost.php?p=704830&postcount=258)

I'd like to, but I doubt anything constructive will come out of the inevitable shit-storm that will follow.

I am not making any claims whatsoever here. I am merely pointing out that "Ki" is not universally accepted to be based on current scientific theory.

There are ranked people who believe that it is some kind of life energy or force, not one related to electromagnetism, gravity or other particulate forces. It can be used to, for instance, floor someone 15 ft away.

The Shihan I saw demonstrating the technique is one of the first people to practice and teach here in the UK in the 60's. By saying this I am not making a claim of validity; but this person did not make himself a grandmaster yesterday. I believe he is well known/respected within the (not very large) UK Aikido community.

I am also not saying that I personally believe any of this.


- cod3r

Post 3: (http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showpost.php?p=705002&postcount=261)
He's got nothing to be afraid of, however I don't want to get in shit with my sensei. I don't think there are many people that train both MT and Aikido in the UK. However as I said the community is not large. You should be able to find out easily enough. I believe he was a student of the very first sensei who came to the UK to teach Aikido.

Also it's a bit beside the point, which was that some highly ranked people believe in Ki as something outside the current scientific knowledge.



No aikido technique that I know of for certain. To begin with Shihan and the other person were separated by 15 ft of thin air.

I didn't see any power-up or anything; difficult to describe in words. The Shihan somewhat calmly, quickly but not very suddenly pointed an open palm towards the other person. I don't think he (edit: i.e, the other person) was making any effort to attack. The other person dropped directly on the spot, he didn't roll or fly across the room.
I'll go on the record to say my personal take was some sort of suggestion and reflex conditioning. Still, there you go. In front of my very eyes.


- cod3r
Post 4: (http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showpost.php?p=705594&postcount=272)
First of all. C'mon the MT instructor "Ki" comment was sarcastic, I meant it as a joke. Of course he doesn't do "Ki" stuff or anything!!!! :tongue1:

Sorry Omega, I have no idea whatsoever what Ki is. I used to think that it is a combination of timing, physics and suggestion, as many people here claim, or other scientifically explainable things.

However what I saw and heard from the Shihan and other members of the organisation is clearly outside the current body of scientific knowledge.

The "Ki-blast" I saw myself. Three times. Twice at a large distance, and once at very close range.
However it is not the only instance of inexplicable events attributed to Ki and the Shihan in my organisation. The Shihan told us that using his Ki he could make it impossible to lift him up. He's not overweight or anything, he is a 70 year old looking fit for his age. Maybe 150 lbs. max, more likely around 140 or so. He said that if he tenses up, one can lift him up, but if he relaxes and uses his Ki, it would be impossible to lift him. Whatever all this means I have no idea. However 140 lbs is 140 lbs tense or not, wool or steel, broken glass or lava. So I can't see how it can be explained scientifically, or even logically.

Less credibly, I have also heard anecdotal evidence from third parties that he "paralysed" someone. The Shihan merely pointed at that person. That person went down and did not get up for 30 minutes or so. <--- I AM NOT CLAIMING THIS, I JUST HEARD IT ON THE GRAPEVINE. (Just in case)

To recap:
1) Ki blast - I saw myself.
2) The lift thing - I heard the Shihan say it. I did not personally attempt to lift him.
3) The "paralysation" - someone else told me they saw it.

I am highly sceptical that any of this was not suggestion and reflex conditioning.

Point being: there is not a consensus that Ki is within the body of current scientific knowledge. Ranked people seem to believe otherwise.

- cod3r

I think if someone can put uke to sleep from 15 ft. away with a "ki blast", he should have worlwide recognition.

This gentleman seems to have the real Aiki-Jedi Powers (tm).

Yann Golanski
08-19-2005, 09:53 AM
Shodokan in the UK: Phil Newcomb is 6th, John Cameron and Scott Albright are 5th. There are a dozen 4th dans around. There are many more 3rd, 2nd and 1st dans. But keep in mind that shodokan has only a sylabus to 7th dan. The rest are honorary grades.

markwalsh
08-19-2005, 10:39 AM
Oh God, now we've combined the "fake grades" and "is ki real" debates! Don't do it :eek:

Do an AikiWeb search for "Ki" if interested. It's all been said before I think.

Mark

PS Re 8th dan, can we all agree to send congratulatory letters to the first British 9th dan whom I sure will be arriving shortly.

Demetrio Cereijo
08-19-2005, 11:00 AM
Mark:

I'm not interested in ki debates (yes, I've read a lot of threads about it), self-awarded grades (lots of them), street effective Aikido (I've read more threads about it) and similar dead horse beatings.

I'm interested in debunking bizarre claims and "Theatrical Aikido For The Gullible New Agers", and i hope I'm not alone in that.

Thanks for your responses.

Weekend starts, see you on Monday.

philipsmith
08-20-2005, 02:57 AM
Don't want to add fuel to the fire BUT

the British "8th Dans" are all self appointed or have been awarded it by their own associations

at least one of them (as far as I am aware) is not even a legimate Yudansha.

Yes I've seen the Ki trick (I think I recognise the instructor) but it only works on his students which is strange and illuminating.

As with everything there are egoists and charlatans in Aikido.

End of my contribution to this debate.

Peter Goldsbury
08-20-2005, 06:08 AM
Don't want to add fuel to the fire BUT

the British "8th Dans" are all self appointed or have been awarded it by their own associations

at least one of them (as far as I am aware) is not even a legimate Yudansha.

Yes I've seen the Ki trick (I think I recognise the instructor) but it only works on his students which is strange and illuminating.

As with everything there are egoists and charlatans in Aikido.

End of my contribution to this debate.

Hello Philip,

I think we have had part of this discussion before, on E-budo.

For the sake of people like me, who are Brits but do not live in the UK, will anyone reveal who are the current British 8th dan holders? Or is this an aikido state secret?

I should state at the outset that there are no non-Japanese 8th holders recognized by the Aikikai.

Best regards,

Rupert Atkinson
08-20-2005, 08:05 AM
I think there used to be a 7th dan or two in the BAA - Tomiki. Maybe someone got promoted ... a couple may have passed on ... And strangely, looking at this list - I have trained with them all.

Lee Ah Loi - Tomiki, England, 7th Dan (JAA)
John Waite -- Tomiki/England, 7th JAA/BAA, 5th BJA
Brian Eustace -- Tomiki/England, 7th Dan BAA
Robert Forrest-West -- Tomiki/England, 7th Dan BAA
William Lawrence -- Tomiki/England, 7th Dan BAA

Rupert Atkinson
08-20-2005, 08:12 AM
Did a bit more rumaging and found a UK 8th Dan.

http://www.nataikidofed.org.uk/

The National Aikido Federation (Aikikai GB) is an association of some 20 clubs and several hundred members practising traditional Ueshiba style Aikido throughout the United Kingdom.

The founder and president of the National Aikido Federation is Mr Michael P Narey (8th Dan) who is assisted in the development of Aikido by national coach, Mr Bernard Harding (5th Dan).

A frequent guest of the National Aikido Federation is M. Pierre Chassang sensei (8th Dan) who is a long-time student of Nobuyoshi Tamura sensei. M Chassang regularly attends and teaches at N.A.F. Summer Schools, especially the early morning classes for instructors and senior students. He also travels to Britain on several occasions each year to teach at the federation's special instructor's courses.

I have never seen any of these people but trained - just once on a visit home a couple of years ago - with a NAF group in Sheffield and can say their 2nd Dan teacher was quite good.

------------------------------

Just found another:

http://home.att.net/~erik.mann/dge.htm

Mr. Eayrs, an 8th Dan in Aikido, born in Portsmouth, England, currently resides in Moscow, Russia. He served in the British Army from 1958-1967, and has since served in an extensive variety of high profile corporate security positions, including Security Manager for Coca-Cola Corp. Russia. He's a professional bodyguard, and has worked for many high profile VIP's. Mr. Eayrs 1st Dan in Yoshinkan Aikido was awarded by Gozo Shioda in 1968.....

batemanb
08-20-2005, 10:31 AM
I believe that Pat Stratford of the Aikido Union England is listed as an 8th Dan. I have met and trained with Tanaka Sensei, one of Pat Stratford's teachers, Tanaka Sensei asked me if I knew "master Stratford", which I didn't, and yes I did quote.

Interestingly for me, Pat Stratford and Tanaka sensei both crop up in my own personal lineage. Pat was the teacher of one of my early teachers, and Tanaka sensei was the teacher of my Tokyo dojo-cho.

rgds

Bryan

markwalsh
08-20-2005, 08:21 PM
Some other non Aikikai promoted 8th dans in the UK:

Gwynne Jones - Shin Gi Tai
Ralpth Reynolds - Aikido Fellowship
and I think:
John Cornish - UKAF

I've trained with these three instructors only once, and don't feel in a position to judge their aikido.

List of UK associations with histories:
http://www.bab.org.uk/associations/associations.html

wayneth
08-21-2005, 01:24 AM
Britain as far as I understand, there are only three organizations in Britain recognized by the Aikikai (correct me if I am wrong). These being: British Aikido Federation
United Kingdom Aikikai and
Komyokan Aikido Association.
Where the most Senior recognized by the Aikikai is Kanetsuka Shihan being 7th Dan, and I would think that the senior most recognized non-Japanese would be Cottier Shihan being 6th Dan. Although there are 7th Dans in Britain, one being Gwynne Jones but he isn't recognized by the Aikikai. As far as I understand the highest recognized non Japanese people are:
Cottier Shihan 6th Dan
Smith Shihan 6th Dan
Holland Shihan 6th Dan
Ezra Sensei 6th Dan
and the various Shidoins under Chiba Sensei.
There are no 6th Dans (apart from Cottier Sensei and Holland Sensei) affiliated to the British Aikido Federation, the highest grade being 5th Dans. And as Far as I understand many of those seniors have been their grade for almost 10 years.
Maybe there are 8th Dans in Britain but as far as I can understand are not recognized by the Aikikai and therefore possibly their organization gave it to them?
(this is my interpretation of this thread, it maybe wrong but please correct me)
Wayne

Richard Cardwell
08-21-2005, 11:46 AM
There's also Alan Ruddock sensei (6th Dan Aikikai), whose Aiki No Michi organisation is, as far as I'm aware, an Aikikai affiliate. He worked with Virginia Mayhew sensei in the 70s in setting up the Hong Kong Aikikai. He's Irish, not British, but he lives and mostly teaches on the Isle of Man.

batemanb
08-21-2005, 02:07 PM
Just adding that not being recognized by the Aikikai doesn't mean that the association or the aikido practiced there is necessarily bad.

rgds

Bryan

Dazzler
08-22-2005, 04:42 AM
How is Aikikai recognition achieved?

Does it involve sending money? If it does....what are the amounts involved? And what difference does it make to the ability of these guys whether they are recognised or not?

Why are the highest non japanese recognised grades 6th dan?

just curious....

D

Peter Goldsbury
08-22-2005, 06:23 AM
Hello Mr Sims,

Here are a few answers to your questions.

How is Aikikai recognition achieved?
There are regulations set out in English on the Aikikai's website (aikikai.or.jp).

Does it involve sending money?
No.

If it does....what are the amounts involved?
See previous answer.

And what difference does it make to the ability of these guys whether they are recognised or not?
This is a more difficult question answer and probably depends on your standpoint. I myself see the benefits of being recgognized by a large organization like the Aikikai when foreigners come to my dojo in Japan and want to continue with their training and grading, and also when I myself go abroad to teach and conduct Aikikai recognized grading examinations. Here, it is not merely my ability that counts or that of the students, but the fact that the vast majority of direct students of the Founder are affiliated to large organizations such as the Aikikai, Yoshinkan or Ki Society. All my past and present teachers are ranked with the Aikikai and so I have no reason to question belonging to this organization. You would probably need to talk to "these guys" individually.

Why are the highest non japanese recognised grades 6th dan?
The highest non-Japanese recognized by the Aikikai are 7th dan. None of them happens to be from the UK.

just curious....

D[/QUOTE]

Best regards,

Dazzler
08-22-2005, 06:57 AM
Thank you Mr Goldsbury.

I'm surprised that there is no charge for getting an aikikai grading.

Incidentally I think part of the confusion here is that 7th and 8th dans for instance are awarded by Federations in the UK without Aikikai involvement. Meaning some of the names that have been pulled into this discussion may well have aikikai recognition...but at a lower level than that bestowed upon them by their group.

Others may not.

I'm sure there are some interesting historic reasons for this and for the plethora of organisations in the uk alone each with their own heads and affiliations.

This thread seems to have taken a rather odd direction since it was commenced on that 'other forum' following one individuals demonstration of their aikido.

Peace love and harmony everybody.

D

Alex Megann
08-22-2005, 06:59 AM
Within the Aikikai at least, those currently possessing 8th Dan rank were generally students of Morihei or Kisshomaru Ueshiba well before the death of the former, which means they started Aikido in the early sixties at the very latest.

Several of the pioneers of Aikido in the UK started training at around that time or earlier, but subsequently rejected direct contact with the Aikikai (and in some cases indeed any Japanese influence at all). Some of these now use titles such as "shihan" as used within the Aikikai, as well as adopting elevated grades awarded internally within their own organisations. Whether or not this is justified can be debated endlessly, but in terms of time served and effort invested in developing Aikido many of these teachers have earned the respect of their peers.

At the same time, there are some individuals in the UK with self-appointed grades of 6th, 7th and even 8th Dan which do not reflect even remotely the length of their training history, and so their grades cannot be in any way taken seriously.

I was at a weekend seminar a few years ago where one such character was teaching, and was approached by the secretary of his organisation. She wanted signatures for a petition (to whom was unclear) for this person to be "promoted to 8th Dan".

This kind of behaviour has generated vast amounts of controversy over here, as indeed many contributors to these forums will be aware...

Alex

Demetrio Cereijo
08-22-2005, 06:16 PM
Slighty back on topic :)

Thanks everybody for your useful posts.

I'm starting to think the Shihan is Mr. Ralph Reynolds.
(bold are mine)

We at the BAF are very lucky to train with, and learn from Shihan Ralph Reynolds. A mild mannered tornado Aikidoka of many years experience. In actual fact, though sometimes I wonder why, I find it very difficult to approach him … especially on the subject of his use (?) of Ki. A kind of magic that enables him, and some of our high grades, to 'pin' without touching, 'throw' without effort and seemingly 'draw' energy from Uki without making contact and leave Uki helpless on the floor, unable to recover … and sometimes unable to walk because of a seeming utter lack of energy!

I watched with wonder an example of 'his' Ki; a nidan instructor who placed his hand on a coffee table in front of Shihan. Shihan laid his hand over the top of his; only for a moment or two. Shihan then removed his hand and asked the nidan instructor to lift his hand from the coffee table … and guess what? He couldn't! He could not lift his hand! Why? I don't know … I can't even begin to guess ….

:hypno:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=2896&postcount=6

Regards.

Peter Goldsbury
08-22-2005, 06:20 PM
Thank you Mr Goldsbury.

I'm surprised that there is no charge for getting an aikikai grading.
D

I did not say that there was no charge for grading.

You asked how Aikikai recognition was achieved and I gave an explanation. If you look at the Aikikai's website, you will see that Recognition involves organizations, not individuals. There is no charge for this.

The grading of individuals who belong to Recognized organizations is another matter and the Aikikai has also issued Regulations for Dan Grades. There are fee scales for dan promotions.

markwalsh
08-22-2005, 06:33 PM
Clarification to avoid trouble:

BAF - as quoted by Demetrio above, stands for the British Aikido Fellowship, not the British (or Bulgarian) Aikido Federation.

Demetrio Cereijo
08-22-2005, 06:59 PM
Mark:

Thanks for the clarification.

Yes, BAF stands for British Aikido Fellowship (http://www.aikidofellowship.org.uk/Home/Home.htm)

Dazzler
08-23-2005, 04:07 AM
I did not say that there was no charge for grading.

You asked how Aikikai recognition was achieved and I gave an explanation. If you look at the Aikikai's website, you will see that Recognition involves organizations, not individuals. There is no charge for this.

The grading of individuals who belong to Recognized organizations is another matter and the Aikikai has also issued Regulations for Dan Grades. There are fee scales for dan promotions.

Actually I also asked did it involve sending money. If there are fee scales then the answer is Yes is it not?

Anyway - not looking for an arguement - my point was that it may be possible that some of these senior guys or their organisations do not see value for money in getting Aikikai recognition of their grades. That doesn't mean they aren't worth them.

There may be many reasons why aikidoka do not wish for this recognition...I'll just put a big black box around it and say POLITICS.

As Alex has already said some of these high grades may not deserve them ...there may be a big difference between perhaps a shodan who split to form his own unrecognised association without further external influence on their teaching and practice compared to others who while not registering their grades with Aikikai continue to be influenced by seniors.

As food for thought ....what exactly is an 8th dan? Is it purely based on some technical proficiency or is there consideration of contribution to Aikido development over an individuals lifetime?

Muse over....

D

Peter Goldsbury
08-23-2005, 08:21 AM
Actually I also asked did it involve sending money. If there are fee scales then the answer is Yes is it not?

Anyway - not looking for an arguement - my point was that it may be possible that some of these senior guys or their organisations do not see value for money in getting Aikikai recognition of their grades. That doesn't mean they aren't worth them.

There may be many reasons why aikidoka do not wish for this recognition...I'll just put a big black box around it and say POLITICS.

As Alex has already said some of these high grades may not deserve them ...there may be a big difference between perhaps a shodan who split to form his own unrecognised association without further external influence on their teaching and practice compared to others who while not registering their grades with Aikikai continue to be influenced by seniors.

As food for thought ....what exactly is an 8th dan? Is it purely based on some technical proficiency or is there consideration of contribution to Aikido development over an individuals lifetime?

Muse over....

D

I am sorry but I do not understand your point.

Recognition is given by the Hombu to organizations, not individuals. There is no charge for giving an organization recognition and so it does not involve paying any fees, i.e., sending money.
.
Thus there is no question of the Aikikai recognizing for a fee the grades of individuals who belong to other, non-Aikikai, organizations.

I hope I have made myself clear.

My own experience with the MAC, which was the predecessor of the BAB, leads me to believe that the entire organization is political, which is probably something that cannot be avoided.

Dazzler
08-23-2005, 09:26 AM
I am sorry but I do not understand your point.

Recognition is given by the Hombu to organizations, not individuals. There is no charge for giving an organization recognition and so it does not involve paying any fees, i.e., sending money.
.
Thus there is no question of the Aikikai recognizing for a fee the grades of individuals who belong to other, non-Aikikai, organizations.

I hope I have made myself clear.



Yes. You are clear.

My point was that I suspect some of the individuals named within this thread for instance were at some time within the Aikikai. For whatever reason ...be it cost, politics or whatever they made the decision to opt out.

I have heard some older than me put this down to cost. Maybe there are readers of this thread that could confirm if this was a factor..or maybe not.

As I said before just because these guys don't wish to be part of the aikikai they don't suddenly lose their aikido abilities overnight.

Neither would they miraculously gain them should they opt back in.

Aikikai affiliation / recognition is not the only measure of ability or contribution.

Thank you for your post.

D

Yann Golanski
08-23-2005, 09:26 AM
<sarcasm> The BAB is political? You really think so? </sarcasm>

There are about 80 Aikido organisation in the UK alone. Some of them are recognised by an organisation in Japan and some of them are not. Some of them give their own dan ranks which are not recognised by their parent organisation. Any of them is welcome to award 10th dans to whoever they want.

I've seen 3rd dans who are much better than 6th dans in all respects. I've seen utterly awesome teachers and utterly rubbish ones and both were 7th dan! Frankly, a black belt will only cover an inch of your arse. Your skill is what will set you apart.

In Shodokan, it takes a minimum of 30 (27 after first dan and 3 before) years to get to seventh dan which is the last "gradable" dan. After that, it's all political hierarchy. This of course, assume a great level of dedication and training. This can give you an idea of the times required for grades. I am sure that the Aikikai (and all other non-clown Aikido associations) have similar time scales although I could be wrong.

Sensei bob (Robert Forest Webb) is indeed the highest ranked Shodokan guy in the UK. My apologies for not remembering in my earlier post.

... no point to this post, just random thoughts...

Dazzler
08-23-2005, 09:46 AM
... no point to this post, just random thoughts...

Maybe...but I hear what you are saying though!

Cheers

D

Aristeia
08-23-2005, 02:07 PM
re Aikikai and fees. I think from memory I paid $600/700 NZ$ for my sandan grading. All of that bar a nominal testing fee went to the organisation in Japan as I understand it. Take from that whatever you will.

wayneth
08-24-2005, 02:13 AM
I think my Sensei was saying during the British Aikido Federation Summer School that for his Godan grade he paid something like £500 which went to the Aikikai, and also one of the people taking their Shodan said she paid something like £120.
Wayne

Aristeia
08-24-2005, 02:21 AM
given exchange rates, that sounds about right.

Ecosamurai
09-12-2005, 11:20 AM
Some other non Aikikai promoted 8th dans in the UK:

Gwynne Jones - Shin Gi Tai
Ralpth Reynolds - Aikido Fellowship
and I think:
John Cornish - UKAF

I've trained with these three instructors only once, and don't feel in a position to judge their aikido.

List of UK associations with histories:
http://www.bab.org.uk/associations/associations.html


As was said, Aikikai recognition isn't the last word on the matter, I know that Aikido Yuishinkai headed my Koretoshi Maruyama has two 7th Dans in the UK.

When I started Aikido in 1997 Gwynne Jones was listed in various promotional material as a 6th Dan, last I heard he was a 7th Dan, if he's 8th now then thats 6-8th Dan in 8 years.

As to the rest, I know that Ken Williams who is the longest practicing Aikido teacher in the UK (one of Abbe Sensei's first aikido students) awards ranks as high as 7th Dan, I wouldn't be surprised if he awarded higher.

I would go so far as to say that as far as I know there are almost certainly no Dan grades above 7th Dan in the UK that are recognised by an organisation headed or based in Japan, i.e. Aikikai, Shodokan, Yoshinkan, Ki Soc, Yuishinkai etc..
Any above that are probably either self promoted or have been awarded by someone who has lost/severed links to a Japanese organisation but nonetheless may have been practicing Aikido since the late 1950's here in the UK.

If legitimacy in rank only comes from Japan then 7th Dan is the current ceiling, but there are people who've been practicing and teaching Aikido for nearly 50 years in the UK, as long as some of the more well known Japanese teachers, in some cases longer, they simply don't have anything to do with Japan.

Mike Haft

Colin 67
09-12-2005, 01:44 PM
I have been a student of Mr Haydn Foster for the last 12 years. He is currently 7th Dan Awarded by the Institute of Aikido of which he is the Technical Director. I had the opportunity to speak to him about this a couple of years ago at summer school and my recollection of this conversation was that in the late sixties and early seventies the cost of being in the Aikikai was exorbitant, not just to have a grading ratified but also to have the grading recognised year on year. Chiba Sensei approached Mr Foster when he came to the UK and asked him to return to the Aikikai but he refused due to these financial reasons. Whether there were any othe reasons for not wanting to be part of Aikikai i don't know.

As for 8th Dans currently in the UK there are as i understand it at least 5 in the British Ki Federation headed by Mr Ken Williams whose curent grade i am not aware of. Mr foster still refers to Mr Williams as Sensei.

darin
06-16-2006, 09:15 AM
Here's a listing in the AikiWeb AikiWiki (http://www.aikiweb.com/wiki) of high ranking non-japanese yudansha (at or above 7th dan):

http://www.aikiweb.com/wiki/nonjapanese

-- Jun

Noticed that John Langley 7th dan isn't on that list although his teacher Haydn Foster is... :confused:

akiy
06-16-2006, 10:35 AM
Noticed that John Langley 7th dan isn't on that list although his teacher Haydn Foster is... :confused:
Please feel encouraged, then, to update the page. All of the pages in the AikiWiki are modifiable by AikiWeb members. For more information, please visit:

http://www.aikiweb.com/wiki/aikiwiki

-- Jun

darin
06-16-2006, 12:05 PM
I am not a member of his organization. Its better if one of his students or the Institute of Aikido do it. Just curious his name isn't on the list considering he is one of the highest ranked aikidoists in Australia. He'd be the highest in Western Australia anyway.

Mark Freeman
06-16-2006, 12:30 PM
As for 8th Dans currently in the UK there are as i understand it at least 5 in the British Ki Federation headed by Mr Ken Williams whose curent grade I am not aware of. Mr foster still refers to Mr Williams as Sensei.

I practice with Sensei Williams who was awarded his 3rd dan in aikido over 40 years ago, as far as I am aware he was never awarded a very high grade from Japan. It wouldn't make any difference to me if he was 'labelled' 3rd or 30th Dan...he's just a really good aikido teacher!

You are right there are some 8th Dans in the KFGB, these are student who are still with him after over 30 years.

As far as I see it once you get over a certain grade the promotions are more to do with your commitment and services to aikido than just technical ability. Anyway how can we compare grades across different organisations that do not follow exactly the same teaching curriculum??

Sensei Williams has had many students who have gone their own way and some show up later elsewhere with a higher grade than their original teacher, so it goes!

When Sensei Williams talks about the early days of aikido in the UK he speaks of Sensei Hayden Foster ( his assistant for a number of years ) with affection and respect ( this is not the case for all of his past students ;) )

Anyway, I am bias ;)

regards,

Mark

akiy
06-16-2006, 12:46 PM
I am not a member of his organization. Its better if one of his students or the Institute of Aikido do it.
Since his ranking is a matter of public record (:http://www.ioaikido.com.au/resource/aboutSensei.html"), I really don't see the reason to hesitate adding him to the list. Any way, I went ahead and did so myself.

-- Jun

darin
06-17-2006, 12:58 PM
I would have to seek confirmation of his grade from whatever organization he claims gave it to him. Not saying he is not what he says he is its just I think if we do post name and rank we should make sure they are legitimate and also the information is correct. John has a pretty large school here in Perth and has done other styles of aikido. No idea what ranks he has in those styles. Hopefully one of his students can help out.

By the way, I should probably ad Brett Nener Sensei to that list as well. I am not sure of his grade but I think its around 6 or 7th dan. Hopefully one of his students will be able to confirm it for us and what style he represents.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

gerrygee
06-19-2006, 07:00 AM
As an old and retired Judoka (Sensei Kenshiro Abbe) who also studied Aikido under him ,I too am constantly amazed a) by the number of 7th and 8th Dans who have sprung up and b) by the number who claim to be early students of Abbe Sensei when there were really not that many,If any of you care to visit http://www.geocities.com/britishaikido or http://www.EllisAikido.org then I'm sure that a lot of misconceptions will be cleared up!!
I would be pleased to hear from any martial artists that may remember me.
gerrygee

Mark Freeman
06-19-2006, 07:27 AM
As an old and retired Judoka (Sensei Kenshiro Abbe) who also studied Aikido under him ,I too am constantly amazed a) by the number of 7th and 8th Dans who have sprung up and b) by the number who claim to be early students of Abbe Sensei when there were really not that many,If any of you care to visit http://www.geocities.com/britishaikido or http://www.EllisAikido.org then I'm sure that a lot of misconceptions will be cleared up!!
I would be pleased to hear from any martial artists that may remember me.
gerrygee

Hi Gerrard,

you will remember my aikido teacher, Ken Williams. I know what his aikido is like :D. You must have practiced judo with him, what was his judo like?

He still talks about Abbe Sensei's judo and his ability to throw much bigger and stronger opponents with apparent ease. How would you describe Abbe's judo, and come to that what about his aikido?

regards

Mark

Ecosamurai
06-19-2006, 08:20 AM
As an old and retired Judoka (Sensei Kenshiro Abbe) who also studied Aikido under him ,I too am constantly amazed a) by the number of 7th and 8th Dans who have sprung up and b) by the number who claim to be early students of Abbe Sensei when there were really not that many,If any of you care to visit http://www.geocities.com/britishaikido or http://www.EllisAikido.org then I'm sure that a lot of misconceptions will be cleared up!!
I would be pleased to hear from any martial artists that may remember me.
gerrygee

I think that perhaps time practiced is often a nebulous criteria for the award of rank and shouldn't necessarily be taken as the only criteria by which rank should or could be judged. The assumption that all of the most senior ranked aikido teachers in the UK must have begun training in the late 1950's or early 1960's doesn't really hold true in my humble opinion. I know of a number of teachers who have been awarded 7th Dan by uchideshi of O Sensei and who have been practicing since the late 1960s, and probably not with Abbe Sensei or his students either but more likely with Chiba Sensei while he was in the UK.

As I said previously in this thread.
I don't know of any teacher in the UK with a rank higher than 7th Dan
who was awarded said rank by a Japanese teacher or an organisation headed by/initiated by a Japanese teacher who studied with O Sensei. All of the 8th Dan (or above) teachers I've ever heard of in the UK have either been self promoted or promoted by their own organisations committee etc i.e. the head of our organisation needs a promotion but we don't have anyone who can give it to him so lets all just vote him up a rank. With perhaps the exception of those promoted to 8th Dan by Ken Williams Sensei, Williams Sensei has been practicing Aikido longer than anyone else in the UK but severed formal ties with Koichi Tohei I think in the mid 1980's (after already having been in aikido for about 30 years by this time, ten of which were with Tohei Sensei, 11 of which were with Abbe Sensei).

Please correct me if I'm wrong about any of this. I find the history of aikido in the UK really interesting and a bit odd, any further clarification on what I already know is most welcome.

Mike

gerrygee
06-19-2006, 11:25 AM
Hi Mark,
Yes indeed I do remember Sensei Williams and many of the other Aikidoka who practised at "The Hut".I did not practice Judo with him but will vouchsafe that to Abbe Sensei size made no difference.Also to be Uke to him during Aikido demonstrations meant that you really ceased to have any control over your own body.
Further to an earlier thread on this forum I did experience and see demonstrations of his Ki but to repeat it to others only leads to pointless requests for "proof" and as Abbe Sensei is deceased this is impossible.
Further to his high regard in Japan I posess a copy of a letter from Sensei Shohei Hamano 9th Dan Kodokan on his summation of Abbe Sensei during a visit to the UK in 1963.If anyone would like to see a copy of this you may Email me and I will be happy to send you a copy.
In conclusion I would refer you to the site:

http://www.KenshiroAbbe.com

where you can learn more about his history.
Respect,
Gerry Gyngell

David Humm
06-20-2006, 01:32 AM
My own experience with the MAC, which was the predecessor of the BAB, leads me to believe that the entire organization is political, which is probably something that cannot be avoided.The BAB Political !!! Peter you'll go to Aikido hell for even thinking such a thing !! </sarcasm off>

I think a very important question is "why" are there so many self or internally promoted instructors in such a small community?

From my own research, I have watched a group of instructors running their own organisations all essentially keeping up with their competitors, as one gets promoted the others slowly but surely follow suit. I've watched this trend now for about 6 years and in some respects I feel it undermines the dedication and hard work of those who hold legitimate titles and grades from their style respective hombu.

A few of these same very instructors have previously made outrageous statements and claims about themselves and their lineage... I'll say no more on the matter.

Regards

Mark Freeman
06-20-2006, 05:27 AM
The BAB Political !!! Peter you'll go to Aikido hell for even thinking such a thing !! </sarcasm off>

I think a very important question is "why" are there so many self or internally promoted instructors in such a small community?

From my own research, I have watched a group of instructors running their own organisations all essentially keeping up with their competitors, as one gets promoted the others slowly but surely follow suit. I've watched this trend now for about 6 years and in some respects I feel it undermines the dedication and hard work of those who hold legitimate titles and grades from their style respective hombu.

A few of these same very instructors have previously made outrageous statements and claims about themselves and their lineage... I'll say no more on the matter.

Regards

Why not Dave? surely exposing the self promoters is doing those with legitimate ranks a favour? A fake is a fake and should be seen to be as such, no?

I realise that in doing so you may put some noses out of joint, but this is a tough world, if you build your world on spin it tends to backfire on you in the end ( ask Tony Blair :D ).

Anyone who is what they say they are has nothing to fear.

regards,

Mark

wayneth
06-20-2006, 06:29 AM
I personally believe that many of these self-appointed or internally appointed high grade people are only doing it to make their organization or maybe even themselves better than what they are. It seems that many Aikidoka are doing this in the British isles, but my understanding is that a martial art if truly studied isn't about grades but about yourself and not bout what other people say.
My instructor and even Kanetsuka Sensei always says if you want a black belt, then go somewhere else. Which I think is the right attitude to study a martial art, especially Aikido.
Also thinking isn't Gaku Homma Sensei a 6th Dan and has been a 6th Dan for quite a while. Also with his organization, he doesn't promote people beyond a certain grade or something. So if someone of his level and quality can do that and forget about grades of a high level being the answer to get more students; why can't all people be like that?
(this might be a bit wrong in what I'm saying but I apologize if this is so)

Wayne

David Humm
06-20-2006, 08:57 AM
Why not Dave? surely exposing the self promoters is doing those with legitimate ranks a favour? A fake is a fake and should be seen to be as such, no?

Why not?

I'm not prepared to discuss specific people, or specific instances that all I was intimating. I'm quite prepared to expose fakes and frauds, I've done so before much to the annoyance of our supposed Governing Body however, you have to be very careful about the word -FAKE-, just because a person claims to be an 8th dan or indeed a Shihan, you cannot bandy about the word which is tantamount to an accusation of fraud, especially in the public domain; not unless of course you can prove otherwise. And that is a difficult thing to do.

The problem is that providing a person claiming the title Shihan and [whatever dan] can produce verifiable certificate(s) from a third party (regardless of whether you and I know its bullshit) even if that's from within their own organisation, in Law, who is going to look foolish? There's no one single recognised institution (for the issue of grades) - from which legal precedence can be set, equally, there's no one single constant in respect to the circumstances by whish grades are issued thus, one man's fake or fraudulent 8th dan Shihan is another man's credible instructor.

The only constant in proving fraud in the cases of martial arts grades is, lineage and experience through the written/published claims of these people. Of course you're then in a position [but only just] to peruse [whom ever] by reporting that person to the authorities, especially if money is being exchanged for the services or skills being provided, if proved, individuals may face legal action for "Obtaining Pecuniary Advantage by Deception" However; unless there's large sums of cash involved the Crown Prosecution Service isn't going to spend the tax payer's money in investigating it, its what they'd term "Not in the public interest".

Now As I said at the beginning, I have stood my corner in respect of two individuals (one already named in this thread) who made ridiculous claims about their grades, experience and a title, one particular investigation took four (and a bit) years to prove and culminated in resolution with Sport England however, in neither instance did it alter the perception of people around those two individuals (who still pretty much claim what they claim) I even had "visits" to my dojo at the time from one of those individual's senior students looking to "discuss the matter personally" :rolleyes: A friend of mine even had a written death threat (I kid you not), I was publicly berated by two a members of the Governing Body (one past/one present) of "…damaging the reputation of British Aikido" and, "…failing to grasp what aikido was actually about". The irony of both those statements always amuses me.

One thing I've learned from my time involved in investigating these kinds of people is this; despite all the ramblings we may make, there's nothing ultimately we can do about them, but simply ignore their egotistic and pathetic existences and ensure our own aikido is the best it can be by training. (And it took me five years to really realise that) Don't get me wrong, I do hold strong, often controversial opinions about the dire state of some aikido in UK, and I'll voice them without compunction but these fakes and frauds really don't care about you and I, their skin is waaay too thick and their ego too large.

I still stand by my previous question "Why are there 8th dan Shihan?" If this question was being asked by an authoritive body then perhaps we'd see less of it however, that's looking at the problem through rose tinted glasses because the BAB have little interest in validating the grades/lineage of the principal instructors (they've said so publicly) in its own umbrella because to do so would simply fragment further those from within the BAB and, regardless of their stated purpose, the BAB would cease to exist without that very membership fakes/frauds and all. A membership I might add, which has contributed a considerable amount of money held by the BAB.

Regards

Mark Freeman
06-20-2006, 09:32 AM
Hi Dave,

I respect your position regarding the dificult nature of subject under discussion, and reading through your post forms a sad reflection of some of the aikidoka in our country, and the organisations representing them. One only has to spend some time on Ellis Sensei's web site to feel depressed by what one reads there.

I agree that the 'supporters' of these self proclaimed shihan who embelish their logevity and grade, do not want them knocked down, as this affects their own sense of judgement. So it goes.

I am appalled at the that threats that were made on you and your friend, akido, what aikido?

My teacher ( Ken Williams ) removed himself from the national aikido scene quite along time ago, he keeps himself and his students separate from the wider uk aikido body, which avoids some of the shennanigans you describe. We exist outside of the BAB which is the governing body for "All aikido in the UK". And from what I have read, I'm glad we are not a part of it.

One thing I've learned from my time involved in investigating these kinds of people is this; despite all the ramblings we may make, there's nothing ultimately we can do about them, but simply ignore their egotistic and pathetic existences and ensure our own aikido is the best it can be by training. (And it took me five years to really realise that) Don't get me wrong, I do hold strong, often controversial opinions about the dire state of some aikido in UK, and I'll voice them without compunction but these fakes and frauds really don't care about you and I, their skin is waaay too thick and their ego too large.

You are right of course, at the end of the day they must live with themselves and their own personal demons. It is proof that 'walking their talk' is easier said than done. :(

regards,

Mark

ruthmc
06-20-2006, 10:52 AM
Part of the problem here is that the independent (ie those who no longer have links to their respective hombu in Japan) dojo are very restricted if they do not promote within their own ranks.

Mr Haydn Foster Sensei was promoted to 3rd dan so-hombu in the early 1960s. After this time the organisation did not continue its affiliation with Aikikai hombu. Mr Foster was not personally interested in claiming greater rank, but within the organisation this would have meant that no students could have been promoted beyond shodan after 1964!

At the request of his students, Foster Sensei has over the years accepted ranking up to 7th dan (Institute of Aikido) so that others may be promoted under him. He took quite some convincing to agree to this!

However he fully accepts that his rank is Institute of Aikido and makes no claim to having it recognised by Aikikai hombu.

So I don't see the problem with an independent instructor being awarded higher rank, as long as he / she states that it is awarded through his / her own organisation only. It is then up to individuals whether or not to recognise this rank.

Saying that you are an 8th dan is meaningless - 8th dan what from where?

Ruth

Mark Freeman
06-20-2006, 11:06 AM
Hi Ruth,

Foster Sensei's history and lineage is well documented and accepted, I can't see any doubt being cast his way. The fact that he has not claimed greater rank is a mark of his own integrity. There are others however....
So I don't see the problem with an independent instructor being awarded higher rank, as long as he / she states that it is awarded through his / her own organisation only. It is then up to individuals whether or not to recognise this rank.

Agreed, as long as it is all above board and transparent. However, for the new student to aikido, they will only see the rank, they will not fully appreciate the background. It may take them quite a while before they discover the 'big picture' so to speak.

regards,

Mark

David Humm
06-20-2006, 06:16 PM
Another important consideration in respect of the internally promoted Sensei.

Those guys who were around here in the UK with the likes of Abbe Sensei are few and far between, these guys are legitimate regardless of what grade they hold however; as Yann pointed out earlier in this thread, there are considerably more organisations in existence today. If you care to examine those organisations, who's Principal(s) many (not all) do not have 1st, 2nd and sometimes even 3rd generation lineage to the founder (or any of his key students) that is something of interest; you guys can formulate your own opinions of the merits of such a situation.

I see much of the problem resting with an egotistic desire to be independent of a style respective hombu, whilst independence per se isn't all together bad, if that independence means it is devoid of mainline development by the very people responsible for the art (and I include all orthodox traditions in that statement) what happens over a protracted period is that what was once perhaps "aikido" slowly erodes, dilutes and gets lost into nothingness.

Regards

deepsoup
06-21-2006, 03:21 AM
I see much of the problem resting with an egotistic desire to be independent of a style respective hombu, whilst independence per se isn't all together bad, if that independence means it is devoid of mainline development by the very people responsible for the art (and I include all orthodox traditions in that statement) what happens over a protracted period is that what was once perhaps "aikido" slowly erodes, dilutes and gets lost into nothingness.

Nicely put, and absolutely right. Hear hear.

Dazzler
06-21-2006, 04:32 AM
Those guys who were around here in the UK with the likes of Abbe Sensei are few and far between, these guys are legitimate regardless of what grade they hold

Yet there are names of these originals within this thread, and of students with many years association with the likes of Tamura, Chiba and europeans such as Pierre Chassang.

For the multitudes reading this I'd suggest great care be taken in accepting some of the terms being bandied around here.

self-proclaimed, fake and fraud are absolutely not to be linked with some of the names here regardless of the source of their more recent grades.

A number of the names being dragged into this are men that were introduced by yourself at the Abbe celebration.

The contribution of these people to Aikido in the UK should be without question and I for one take some offence at seeing their names here.

D

ruthmc
06-21-2006, 04:55 AM
However, for the new student to aikido, they will only see the rank, they will not fully appreciate the background. It may take them quite a while before they discover the 'big picture' so to speak.
Hi Mark,

I don't think that it is possible to 'protect' the new student in this way. To be honest, most new students, especially those without any previous MA background, wouldn't be able to tell the difference between what a legitimate 8th dan shihan is doing and what the guy who got his shodan yesterday is doing :)

I agree that it is important to seek out good teachers, but as a beginner one does not have the experience to be able to distinguish who is and who is not. This is why I am so in favour of training at different dojo and within different styles after one has got the basics from one's home dojo.

That is how I learned. And it has given me a greater appreciation of the good teachers I have been fortunate to train under, and a healthy early warning system for those who are not so good ;)

Ruth

philipsmith
06-21-2006, 08:56 AM
Rank and lineage are really only important if they are used in order to attempt to deceive.
If people have been awarded a rank by their own association then surely that is their rank (even if its 10th Dan), of bigger concern to me is the extravagant claims that are made by some of these "high grades"
For example I have met lots of people whose instructor apparently trained either with me or my teacher extensively but who I dont know!! (Maybe my memory is faulty)

darin
06-21-2006, 11:19 AM
Is there a difference in quality (teaching, knowledge, techniques etc) between those in the UK who are self promoted and those who are not?

Mark Freeman
06-21-2006, 11:30 AM
Is there a difference in quality (teaching, knowledge, techniques etc) between those in the UK who are self promoted and those who are not?

I am certainly not qualified to answer this searching question. Is there somoene out there who can, without being specific?

There is probably a case for saying that there is a difference in quality between every teacher teaching at present, no matter where they reside.

There may be self promoted teachers deemed of higher quality than those who are not. My curiosity is to why they feel the need to 'puff themselves up'. Surely aikido is a practice for oneself, not to 'impress others'.

regards

Mark

David Humm
06-21-2006, 11:36 AM
Yet there are names of these originals within this thread, and of students with many years association with the likes of Tamura, Chiba and europeans such as Pierre Chassang.

For the multitudes reading this I'd suggest great care be taken in accepting some of the terms being bandied around here.

self-proclaimed, fake and fraud are absolutely not to be linked with some of the names here regardless of the source of their more recent grades.

A number of the names being dragged into this are men that were introduced by yourself at the Abbe celebration.

The contribution of these people to Aikido in the UK should be without question and I for one take some offence at seeing their names here.

DI think you've missed the entire point I'm making and suggest you re-read my posts.

Firstly, I am suggesting that those people who were around at the inception of aikido to our shores are not those we need to be worrying about, is that clear enough ?

You'll note my accent of the word "were" this is because there are several high graded students here in the UK who claim to have been in the Hut crowd when if fact their connection to Abbe was tenuous to say the least.

Secondly I'm not the one actually naming people in this thread thus I find your comments and quotes clearly directed as a snipe at me. Perhaps you'd be better having a go at those who are naming names ?

Mark Freeman
06-21-2006, 12:37 PM
Anyone wanting to read the British Aikido History Site can find it via this link:

http://www.kenshiroabbe.com/

Plenty of interesting photos, ducuments, and a fair bit of controversy. There is a "Sensei Tree" listing all the Sensei at the infamous "Hut" so there is little room for miss-understanding. ;)

regards,

Mark

Ecosamurai
06-21-2006, 03:26 PM
Can I just ask a few questions here that might be helpful. With regards to lineage there are a number of things which should be clarified before this thread turns into a big mess. I think IMHO there are four broad categories to consider

1) Those who have studied elsewhere and since relocated to the UK? Some of these people may be legitimately in possession of rank and title that is in absolutely no way linked to Abbe Sensei or any of his direct students. For example, I believe there are some people in the UK who are associated with Andre Noquet Sensei who was O-Sensei's first European deshi.

2)Those people who previously studied with Abbe Sensei and have since left and severed all contact with any other organisations. Examples previously mentioned in this thread would be Foster Sensei from Institute of Aikido now a 7th Dan and Williams Sensei who was the first student of Abbe Sensei, to the best of my knowledge Williams Sensei claims no rank for himself in any published material but has promoted people to the rank of 8th Dan.

3)People who have lost (or perhaps never even formally had) association with any of the 'mainline' aikido organisations but have since been promoted by a respected and legitimate teacher in recognition of their abilities.

4) People who are out and out frauds and liars.

Can anyone think of any other categories?

I think that the majority of names people might consider frauds could potentially fall into more than one of the above categories. The conclusion this leads me to is that there is little point in making such accusations unless a decision on what is and isn't considered legitimate is made, but I doubt that'll happen anytime soon.

Mike

Ron Tisdale
06-21-2006, 03:33 PM
5) People whose lineage is Yoshinkan, not Aikikai....

B,
R ;)

Ecosamurai
06-21-2006, 07:41 PM
5) People whose lineage is Yoshinkan, not Aikikai....

B,
R ;)

Think they'd count under number 1 :)
Maybe we should re-write that one then.

Cheers

Mike

ruthmc
06-22-2006, 04:27 AM
Is there a difference in quality (teaching, knowledge, techniques etc) between those in the UK who are self promoted and those who are not?
Interesting question!

I would say from what I have seen that the main difference in quality between various instructors correlates mainly with the length of time that they were a student, rather than being solely an instructor.

Those who continue to study and train regularly under other instructors are better than those who do not. IMHO (of course ;) )

By this I mean actually getting on the mat and training, as opposed to wandering around the edges at seminars...

Ruth

Dazzler
06-22-2006, 05:02 AM
I think you've missed the entire point I'm making and suggest you re-read my posts.

Firstly, I am suggesting that those people who were around at the inception of aikido to our shores are not those we need to be worrying about, is that clear enough ?

You'll note my accent of the word "were" this is because there are several high graded students here in the UK who claim to have been in the Hut crowd when if fact their connection to Abbe was tenuous to say the least.

Secondly I'm not the one actually naming people in this thread thus I find your comments and quotes clearly directed as a snipe at me. Perhaps you'd be better having a go at those who are naming names ?

Ok ...maybe I've taken a bit of a liberty in singling you out as a champion of this thread. Apologies for that. It is a rather gentle snipe compared to death threats and suchlike though!

As for having a go at those naming names...well whats the point? they can either work it out from the posts or not.

I don't believe I've missed your point, but I do believe a lot of senior people could get discredited by readers of this thread.

My issue really is that once threads like this start slinging mud it tends to get splashed in all directions, One person says theres a dodgy 8th dan and the next thing people are doing their detective work with search engines and every 7th 8th dan in the uk is implicated.

Then its pointed out that none of them are recognised by Aikikai and suddenly the legitimacy of every 8th dan in uk is under scrutiny.

I would point out that being involved at the inception of aikido in the uk does not necessarily include or exclude someone from claim to high level of technical competency - while I feel our own association with Pierre Chassang who accompanied Abbe Sensei on his early trips to UK endorses the group that I am in from a lineage point of view (not that it should need endorsing following many years close association with Tamura Sensei) there are many others with links going back to O'Sensei that have no direct links to Abbe Sensei...nor claim to have.

They still have absolutely excellent Aikido lineage through the other instructors that followed in the 50's 60s and 70's when both you and I were in nappies.


If there are people out there falsely claiming to have links to the Hut then I feel it is a little sad. Like many I have read much of the available information re "the controversy" and am glad it appears to have been resolved. Without taking sides on such matters I just have no idea why anyone with an Aikido mindset would wish to make false egotistical claims - perhaps I am a little naieve? But not too naieve to know that it can happen.

As an aside - More for Mark Freeman -As for the British Aikido History available maybe I can't see all of it. To me its more of a history of Aikido pre and post Abbe Sensei. I'm sure that there is a fair bit of Aikido history from the rest of the UK that would be required to make it more comprehensive. Maybe there are others here with some good memories of those early days who can post under another thread to give a more positive view of British Aikido. Perhaps Mark could canvas Sensei Ken Williams?

Personally I'd rather hoped this thread would die. I've added enough fuel to it for now so I'll try and slip away quietly ....

Final though on this ...when someone chucks an accusation like this out its a bit like having some money stolen from a changing room - there is only 1 thief but everyone is under suspicion.


Regards

D

Mark Freeman
06-22-2006, 06:11 AM
Ok ...maybe I've taken a bit of a liberty in singling you out as a champion of this thread. Apologies for that. It is a rather gentle snipe compared to death threats and suchlike though!

As for having a go at those naming names...well whats the point? they can either work it out from the posts or not.

I don't believe I've missed your point, but I do believe a lot of senior people could get discredited by readers of this thread.

My issue really is that once threads like this start slinging mud it tends to get splashed in all directions, One person says theres a dodgy 8th dan and the next thing people are doing their detective work with search engines and every 7th 8th dan in the uk is implicated.

Then its pointed out that none of them are recognised by Aikikai and suddenly the legitimacy of every 8th dan in uk is under scrutiny.

I would point out that being involved at the inception of aikido in the uk does not necessarily include or exclude someone from claim to high level of technical competency - while I feel our own association with Pierre Chassang who accompanied Abbe Sensei on his early trips to UK endorses the group that I am in from a lineage point of view (not that it should need endorsing following many years close association with Tamura Sensei) there are many others with links going back to O'Sensei that have no direct links to Abbe Sensei...nor claim to have.

They still have absolutely excellent Aikido lineage through the other instructors that followed in the 50's 60s and 70's when both you and I were in nappies.


If there are people out there falsely claiming to have links to the Hut then I feel it is a little sad. Like many I have read much of the available information re "the controversy" and am glad it appears to have been resolved. Without taking sides on such matters I just have no idea why anyone with an Aikido mindset would wish to make false egotistical claims - perhaps I am a little naieve? But not too naieve to know that it can happen.

As an aside - More for Mark Freeman -As for the British Aikido History available maybe I can't see all of it. To me its more of a history of Aikido pre and post Abbe Sensei. I'm sure that there is a fair bit of Aikido history from the rest of the UK that would be required to make it more comprehensive. Maybe there are others here with some good memories of those early days who can post under another thread to give a more positive view of British Aikido. Perhaps Mark could canvas Sensei Ken Williams?

Personally I'd rather hoped this thread would die. I've added enough fuel to it for now so I'll try and slip away quietly ....

Final though on this ...when someone chucks an accusation like this out its a bit like having some money stolen from a changing room - there is only 1 thief but everyone is under suspicion.


Regards

D

Hi Darren

good post, I too think that this thread is not presenting British aikido in a good light, as I'm sure that similar things are happening the world over. :(

We have much to be proud of, many fine teachers and many dedicated and commited students of aikido. I also agree that having an aikido mindset should be enough to avoid egotistical claims, but alas it doesn't. :(

The few original aikidoka from the Hut should be respected for their long life of dedication to aikido and it's dissemination. But to think that they are the 'only' source of legitimate aikido here is of course wrong. As it is to think that Japan is the be all and end all of aikido tradition. Japan is the birthplace, the world is the dojo. :cool:

I will talk to Sensei Williams about the possibility of him making some sort of recording of the early days. I know there have been articles/interviews with him in the major Aikido publications in the past, so he may not want to revisit in print what has already been put on record. He is now in his mid 70's living a quiet life with his family, teaching aikido to those that want what he has to offer. I know from conversations with him that he is no longer interested in the wider politics of the UK aikido world. He is only interested in continuing to develop his own aikido for the benefit of himself and his own students.

Our post practice visits to the pub ( a British tradition that seems to be holding up well! ), has us students listening to many stories from the early days, all told with enthusiasm, fondness and often great humour. I am certainly not going to start retelling them here. If anyone wants to hear them too, come and join us, you will not be disappointed. ;)

As I mentioned in an earlier post, anyone who is legitimate, has nothing to worry about, anyone who is 'false' must live with themselves. The rest of us should just carry on training, trying to improve our own aikido.

regards,

Mark

Peter Goldsbury
06-22-2006, 06:25 AM
Can I just ask a few questions here that might be helpful. With regards to lineage there are a number of things which should be clarified before this thread turns into a big mess. I think IMHO there are four broad categories to consider

1) Those who have studied elsewhere and since relocated to the UK? Some of these people may be legitimately in possession of rank and title that is in absolutely no way linked to Abbe Sensei or any of his direct students. For example, I believe there are some people in the UK who are associated with Andre Noquet Sensei who was O-Sensei's first European deshi.

2)Those people who previously studied with Abbe Sensei and have since left and severed all contact with any other organisations. Examples previously mentioned in this thread would be Foster Sensei from Institute of Aikido now a 7th Dan and Williams Sensei who was the first student of Abbe Sensei, to the best of my knowledge Williams Sensei claims no rank for himself in any published material but has promoted people to the rank of 8th Dan.

3)People who have lost (or perhaps never even formally had) association with any of the 'mainline' aikido organisations but have since been promoted by a respected and legitimate teacher in recognition of their abilities.

4) People who are out and out frauds and liars.

Can anyone think of any other categories?

I think that the majority of names people might consider frauds could potentially fall into more than one of the above categories. The conclusion this leads me to is that there is little point in making such accusations unless a decision on what is and isn't considered legitimate is made, but I doubt that'll happen anytime soon.

Mike

I think this is a very good discussion. It shows no signs of turning into a mess.

I agree with you, but I would prefer to accept the 'tatemae' that those who become independent of a hombu and are promoted from within the organization they lead are not fraudulent. They have to make some honest attempts to replace the good aspects of the hombu from which they broke away.

In the UK people broke away from the Aikikai for various reasons and, though it might ruffle a few feathers to say this, the fault, if it was really a fault, hardly ever lay 100% with those who broke away.

Recently I was in the Aikikai Hombu and I met Nobuyoshi Tamura. I had quite a long talk with him about the origins of aikido in the UK. Of course, Tamura Sensei knew Abbe Kenshiro Sensei and was one of those early pioneers who were sent to Europe to live there and teach aikido. It is clear that at this time the Aikikai Hombu were very much feeling their way about aikido organizations outside Japan and did not really have much of a clue about the kind of organizations they wished to create.

Thus at some point Nakazono Sensei (very soon moved to the US and promoted kotodama training), Kobayashi Hirokazu Sensei (brilliant techncian who eventually left the Aikikai) and Tamura Sensei (still living in France) were appointed by the Aikikai to 'regulate' aikido in Europe. So, apart from Yoshinkan, which was a legitimate branch of aikido, with close links to O Sensei, and the Aikikai, there was no aikido in Europe apart from the Aikikai and the completely separate branch founded by disciples of Tomiki Kenji Sensei.

But how exactly do you 'regulate' aikido in Europe, if your only organizational experience is of dojos in Japan and especially if you have the Aikikai Hombu breathing over your shoulder setting the rules and also young, vigorous and 'maverick' shihans like Chiba, wanting to set their stamp on the countries they were sent to?

Anyway, when I myself started aikido in the UK, my own teacher (Norio Tao, 3rd dan Aikikai at the time, dan received from the Founder himself) did not register the kyu grades he gave with the Aikikai or with Chiba Sensei. He went to Mr Stratton, still maintains a relationship with his organization, and is also in impeccable standing with the Aikikai.

So, I can sympathize with those like Ken Williams, who had trained so hard with Abbe amd Nakazono, but had to 'give place' to the 'official resident' Hombu representative. Which he did.

I have read all the material on the website of Mr Ellis and and must confess that I was surprised at the story that Nakazono Sensei had to regrade the pioneers of the 'Hut' dojo. I am pretty sure that this sort of thing would not happen nowadays.

But, to return to the point of this thread, what do you do, if you feel you are forced to break away from your aikido 'home', because you cannot cope with the 'new' conditions? Of course, gritting your teeth and accepting the new conditions is one option and this is commonly favoured in Japan. It fits the Japanese model of tragic heroes, like Sugawara Michizane, whose fate was to be on the losing side and is still revered as a deity in Japan for being a loser.

So, if you break away and you want to keep the dan system, which you have trained your students to accept, there is no alternative to self-promotion, via one's organization, or to affiliating with another dan-giving organization, or simply getting on with training and telling your student that the dan system is too 'political'.

Here in Japan I do not have this problem. Since the last war, the Aikikai have kept meticulous records of the dan grades they have awarded and the dan history of every single member of the Aikikai can be printed out on request, with dates when awarded and who awarded. So my aikido lineage is available, for all to see if they wish. I think that part of the reason for this was the need to move away from a situation of O Sensei in his dotage giving verbal 10th dans to those who asked for them (like James Mitose), towards a real 'system' of grades. I think this is also an aspect of the 'iemoto' system in Japanese arts.

I myself am happy with this system, but I also know that (1) with the rules set in place by the Aikikai, I have no chance of receiviing 8th dan until I am 86 years of age, and (2) that it would be virtually impossible for me, here in Japan, to break away from the Aikikai and create my own organization. Unless I felt that the Aikikai had a severe 'technical' problem, to do with their interpretation of the most fundamental aspects of aikido training, and I am in no way competent to even attempt such a judgment.

Best wishes to all,

happysod
06-22-2006, 08:16 AM
good post, I too think that this thread is not presenting British aikido in a good light, as I'm sure that similar things are happening the world over. Oh I don't know it's in a bad light, the odd airing of the dirty linen at least stops it mouldering. Most things hidden away behind closed doors could do with a good kicking in the light of day if you ask me.

As regards the side-topic itself, I'm severely mixed. On the one hand I acknowledge both Dave's intentions (and applaud his earlier work over the BAB) and the legitimate concerns over fraud. On the other I have difficulty with the same tired implications that anyone who starts their own art (or even style within an art) is somehow fraudulent [insert standard arguments about how aikido started, counter-claims that founder didn't award himself rank, questions about the legitimacy of all the dan grades awarded to various aikido missionaries when sent abroad, yada yada].

If someone is claiming rank within an organization or links to tradition that they don't have, that is fraudulent. If someone has attained a rank within an organization, however it was derived, it isn't. You may or may not agree with their rank, but if it's not within your own organization, you're comparing apples to oranges anyway.

Sign me in with the "just train dammit", I let other people worry about their own rank while I'll save my worries for that strange bruise which I can't quite remember getting.

Ecosamurai
06-22-2006, 08:35 AM
Sign me in with the "just train dammit", I let other people worry about their own rank while I'll save my worries for that strange bruise which I can't quite remember getting.

I wholeheartedly agree :)

Mike

Ecosamurai
06-22-2006, 12:19 PM
I think this is a very good discussion. It shows no signs of turning into a mess.

I agree with you, but I would prefer to accept the 'tatemae' that those who become independent of a hombu and are promoted from within the organization they lead are not fraudulent. They have to make some honest attempts to replace the good aspects of the hombu from which they broke away.

With regards to this thread becoming a mess. My only worry was the references to various websites which have been responsible for a lot of mudslinging. Mudslinging, irrespective of how it is justified (or unjustified for that matter) mostly just gets everyone dirty, best avoided IMO.

With regards to independent/internally promoted teachers. I have no problem with internally promoting a teacher as you say so long as all best efforts are made to live up to said promotion. In the ten or so years I've been doing Aikido I've seen a number of teachers promoted internally. A few were 6th Dan when I started, now they're 7th Dan, I don't doubt that in the next 5-10 years many will end up as 8th Dan. Usually what happens is that one of them gets upped a Dan grade and the others seem to follow not long after. Which is probably fair enough as they've mostly been at it since the late 60s/early 70s usually.
My personal preference would be for people who are independent to seek out the recognition of another (legitimate) organisation as this removes all doubt as to lineage and validity of rank. But this is for a variety of reasons not always possible, and I would rather have people remain independent and be internally promoted via their organisations committee etc, than seek recognition from dubious 'multi art certification united budo soke grandmaster councils'. Anyway, thats just my opinion.

Mike