Thread: Sensei?
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:07 AM   #27
Dojo: Ellis Schools of Traditional Aikido
Location: Bracknell
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 642
Re: Sensei?

Tom Verhoeven wrote: View Post
Thank you for your reply!

Exactly as I remember Ken Cottier - polite and even formal towards other people. He had no problem whatsoever addressing Aikido instructors as sensei. But as for himself he never insisted on it.

By calling the students Mr. and Ms, Abbe sensei followed in effect the same custom as in Japan, where everyone is addressed with family name and "san".
Of course this Japanese kind of formal politeness was not much different then the European culture of that time (fifties?).

But European culture has changed dramatically and it shows its effect on the Aikido dojo..
I was wondering if you would be willing to share some of your thoughts on this?

If I understand it correctly students and teachers are still addressed in the same formal way in your dojo? How about the teachers that have been educated in your dojo - are they less formal?.

kind regards,


Ken Cottier - When I first met Ken he was just another beginner in those early days - The reason I remembered him more than anyone else at that time, he was such a very funny guy - he could impersonate Kenshiro Abbe's voice to perfection - he could also make the sound of a underground train entering and leaving the station, complete with doors opening and shutting. funny what we remember about people ( RIP )

In the ESTA dan grades new and old are taught the old traditional style, Derek Eastman and I have not changed our ways, so the students naturally follow. The reason I left Judo to join the first Aikido group was because of the positive power of the Aikido I saw then, I took one look and knew that was what I wanted.
The 1950s was a very difficult time to offer anything that was Japanese - we were all living on war rations until 1957 - Both Derek and I worked with ex-Japanese and German prisoners of war - so the very mention of Judo or Aikido would often lead to unpleasant situations.

Do you know my good friend Gijs Schouten in Holland ?

Henry Ellis
Co-author `Positive Aikido`
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