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Old 02-01-2012, 05:30 AM   #363
Mark Freeman
Dojo: Dartington
Location: Devon
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,220
United Kingdom
Re: "The goal is not to throw"

David Orange wrote: View Post
Now think about Henry Ellis, direct student of two incredible martial artists--Kenshiro Abbe and Tadashi Abe ten years after the War with Japan! That blistering training was fresh out of the oven and Abbe and Abe led Henry and the other UK students through it for years. So that stuff was even far purer than what I learned and it was in the very dawn of aikido in the UK. I doubt Abbe or Abe ever made them wonder whether they were supposed to throw.
Hi David,

Although Kenshiro Abbe started teaching in the 10 years after the war, Henry Ellis was not there at that time, I believe he was introduced to aikido at the Hut dojo around '57. Tadashi may well have been brought over to the UK to teach the students there, but it would have been later. I will speak to my teacher about the dates. In all my years of listening to his experiences of those days, he has not given an account of Tadashi Abe's influence. He does cite Noro and Nakazono, Tamera and Tada as being influential to the training at that time. I will ask him about Tadashi Abe when I see him next.

Not sure why you say that that stuff was 'purer' than your your own experience?

Kenshiro Abbe was primarily a Judo man, his aikido was very positive and direct. He did have his own spiritual philosophy/theory (kyu shin do), which underpinned his practice. As far as I am aware, when he returned to Japan, he was disappointed that many of the students in the UK just didn't 'get it'.

Graham Christian wrote: View Post
I entered Aikido not knowing there was a big political divide going on. My teacher had left the 'organization' and set up privately. His way was very dynamic as shown by the old video of Noro shown by Carsten on the spiritual thread. I therefore had met someone who did this very dynamic and stern art yet at the same time very spiritual.

I found that in his opinion he left because too many would not do the meditation or see the relevence of Ki and that it takes discipline to get those realities. So he was also influenced by Tohei.
It seems that quite a few were not that interested in the Ki aspect that Tohei introduced via his own practice method. It seems that many felt that they had all they needed from their practice so far. So when they were being asked to change their approach, they were unable/unwilling to.

I have always been intrigued by this time in the UK aikido history. My own teacher (Williams) was recognised as being the best UK produced aikidoka. When he found a teacher (Tohei) that had something that he thought was beneficial, it meant changing his whole approach to training and teaching. He was willing to do what it took to make the adjustment and take the time to re-examine his own thinking. Much to the benefit of his own aikido. It seems not many of his students were able to stay with him through this change.

Maybe it was lack of discipline, but I doubt that, as the likes of Henry Ellis and his fellows, were put through increadibly robust training, they had to be disciplined to survive, so my guess is that it was for other, more personal reasons.

The UK aikido history is pretty well documented courtesy of Henry Ellis' hard work and commitment to keeping it so. The politics in the late 60's early 70's were pretty messy, and have since led to a myriad of different organisations sprigning up all over the country. The BAB (British Aikido Board) is the governing body for 'all' aikido in the UK. The KFGB under K Williams is completely outside of their influence (unsurprisingly so having read some of the stuff on the Ellis website).

Respect to all who go before us, but we agree, great teachers do not automatically mean great students. I think that covers all of us


p.s. apologies for the thread drift

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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