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Old 04-24-2012, 09:40 AM   #1
crbateman
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #11 - Abbe Kenshiro: "Trying to Catch the Wind"

That is a wonderful article, Sensei. All of it really good stuff... Thanks for sharing for those of us who did not have the good fortune to experience it firsthand.
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Old 04-24-2012, 10:53 AM   #2
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #11 - Abbe Kenshiro: "Trying to Catch the Wind"

Hi Clark,

I have moved your above post from the It Had to Be Felt #11 - Abbe Kenshiro: "Trying to Catch the Wind" column thread as your post is not congruent with Ellis's wish
  • Only people who have actually taken ukemi the teacher who is the subject of this thread, may post" in that particular thread.
  • If, for any reason, you find something to praise or condemn in anyone's description or wish to amplify your insights and perceptions, do so elsewhere. Start a thread about that subject in the appropriate section of Aikiweb. rather than posting direct replies to others.

Further information on the "It Had to be Felt" series may be found in his introductory column.

Thanks,

-- Jun

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Old 04-25-2012, 12:22 PM   #3
Hellis
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #11 - Abbe Kenshiro: "Trying to Catch the Wind"

Quote:
Clark Bateman wrote: View Post
That is a wonderful article, Sensei. All of it really good stuff... Thanks for sharing for those of us who did not have the good fortune to experience it firsthand.
Hi Clark

Thank you for your valued comments. I am pleased that you enjoyed my memories of a great man and for me some of the best years of my life.

Henry Ellis
Co-author of `Positive Aikido`.
http://britishaikido.blogspot.com/
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Old 04-25-2012, 12:32 PM   #4
Hellis
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #15 - Abbe Kenshiro: "Trying to Catch the Wind"

Hi Joe

Thank you for adding your memories of Abbe Sensei. I went to the distant land of Scotland with Ken Williams Sensei on several occasions as Aikido became popular up there, great times.

I wish you a good weekend on the IOM, I will be thinking of you and the late Allan Ruddock Sensei.

Henry Ellis
Co-author of `Positive Aikido`.
http://britishaikido.blogspot.com/
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Old 04-28-2012, 05:56 AM   #5
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #11 - Abbe Kenshiro: "Trying to Catch the Wind"

A very good posting about Abbe Sensei.I was a pupil of Abbe Sensei and as a 3rd Dan was in the BJC Olympic Squad for 1964 and I also worked in the BJC office for a time,most of my training with Sensei was in Judo but the same feeling when he either used you as Uke for demonstrations or in Randori you really felt what can only be described as "The Force".As you say it is hard to describe but you really did have to feel it to understand it but it's difficult to explain it to those who never felt it.I too count myself as very privileged to have received teaching from this great man who when he first arrived here was acknowledged both here and in Japan as one of the leading teachers in the World.

To thine ownself be true
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Old 04-28-2012, 10:54 AM   #6
Graham Farquhar
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #11 - Abbe Kenshiro: "Trying to Catch the Wind"

Thank you for the post Sensei Ellis. I have posted a link to one of the videos of Abbe sensei from your website yesterday on the non aikido martial traditions section. Sensei Williams has been my teacher for most of my time in aikido talks as highly of Abbe Sensei as you do (that won't surprise you). Having heard about his technique for almost 30 years now it is through your efforts that I can witness it for myself with the publication of the films on your website and YouTube, something I never thought I would have the chance to do!

Thank you so much!

G
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Old 04-29-2012, 04:07 AM   #7
Hellis
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #11 - Abbe Kenshiro: "Trying to Catch the Wind"

Quote:
Graham Farquhar wrote: View Post
Thank you for the post Sensei Ellis. I have posted a link to one of the videos of Abbe sensei from your website yesterday on the non aikido martial traditions section. Sensei Williams has been my teacher for most of my time in aikido talks as highly of Abbe Sensei as you do (that won't surprise you). Having heard about his technique for almost 30 years now it is through your efforts that I can witness it for myself with the publication of the films on your website and YouTube, something I never thought I would have the chance to do!

Thank you so much!

G
Dear Graham

Thank you for your kind comments, appreciated.

It was our last meeting before the sad loss of Haydn Foster Sensei - Haydn - Derek Eastman and I were discussing the very beinnings of UK Aikido from its inception by Abbe Sensei.

We were all agreed that Williams Sensei was the right man, and the only man at that time to have taken on the huge task handed to him by Abbe Sensei;
That task being to introduce and spread Aikido across the UK.

Please pass on my respects to Williams Sensei when next you see him.

Take care

Henry Ellis
Co-author -`Positive Aikido`
http://britishaikido.blogspot.com/
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Old 04-30-2012, 04:59 AM   #8
Hellis
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #11 - Abbe Kenshiro: "Trying to Catch the Wind"

Jiro Nakazono Sensei email

Dear Henry,

It is a very refreshing experience to read on Abbe sensei's article.
Thanks to your writings many will know the Golden Age of European Budo.

Sincerely,

Jiro Nakazono

_____________________________________________________________________

I would like to share with you all this email from Jiro Nakazono Sensei the second son of Masahilo Nakazono Sensei.
My next article will be my memories and experiences with Nakazono Sensei, the first Aikido teacher invited to teach in the UK by Kenshiro Abbe Sensei in 1960.

Henry Ellis
Co-author of `Positive Aikido`

http://britishaikido.blogspot.com/
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Old 04-30-2012, 07:58 AM   #9
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #11 - Abbe Kenshiro: "Trying to Catch the Wind"

Quote:
Henry Ellis wrote: View Post
Dear Graham

Thank you for your kind comments, appreciated.

It was our last meeting before the sad loss of Haydn Foster Sensei - Haydn - Derek Eastman and I were discussing the very beinnings of UK Aikido from its inception by Abbe Sensei.

We were all agreed that Williams Sensei was the right man, and the only man at that time to have taken on the huge task handed to him by Abbe Sensei;
That task being to introduce and spread Aikido across the UK.

Please pass on my respects to Williams Sensei when next you see him.

Take care

Henry Ellis
Co-author -`Positive Aikido`
http://britishaikido.blogspot.com/
Thank you Sensei Ellis. I am due to see Sensei Williams next week and will pass on your regards. He is still teaching and still chucking the "young pups" around! I am looking forward to the Nakazono Sensei article too.

Graham
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Old 05-06-2012, 03:16 PM   #10
Hellis
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #11 - Abbe Kenshiro: "Trying to Catch the Wind"

Quote:
Graham Farquhar wrote: View Post
Thank you Sensei Ellis. I am due to see Sensei Williams next week and will pass on your regards. He is still teaching and still chucking the "young pups" around! I am looking forward to the Nakazono Sensei article too.

Graham
Hi Graham

Just to let you know that the `Nakazono Sensei` article is now ready for publication, so keep checking.
I am pleased to hear that Williams Sensei is going strong.

Take care

Henry Ellis
Co-author of Positive Aikido.
http://britishaikido.blogspot.com/
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Old 05-06-2012, 04:36 PM   #11
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #11 - Abbe Kenshiro: "Trying to Catch the Wind"

I hope there is a Tadashi Abe post soon also!!

One little candle can light 10,000 candles- Koichi Tohei Sensei
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Old 05-06-2012, 05:52 PM   #12
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #11 - Abbe Kenshiro: "Trying to Catch the Wind"

Jamie - I've not located anyone who has had enough ukemi experience with Abe Tadaashi. At this time, that's an open "file." If any reader is aware of such a person, please put them in touch with me.

E. Amdur

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Old 05-06-2012, 06:02 PM   #13
Hellis
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #11 - Abbe Kenshiro: "Trying to Catch the Wind"

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Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Jamie - I've not located anyone who has had enough ukemi experience with Abe Tadaashi. At this time, that's an open "file." If any reader is aware of such a person, please put them in touch with me.

E. Amdur
Ellis

Our experiences with Tadashi Abe Sensei were brief. Pierre Chasang Sensei was Abe Sensei first French student in 1952. I have not been in touch with Chasang Sensei for several years. I know that `Dazzler` who posts on here was/is in contact with Chasang Sensei.

Henry Ellis
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http://britishaikido.blogspot.com/
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Old 05-07-2012, 06:09 PM   #14
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #11 - Abbe Kenshiro: "Trying to Catch the Wind"

Dear Ellis,
There is of course an ex judoka called Joe Robinson.Mr Robinson is still alive according to a friend of mine.Abbe Sensei and Robinson Sensei had that epic encounter many years ago.It was a challenge match.The bout can be seen on YouTube.Mr Robinson was also in movies, A Kid for two Farthings, and Diamonds are Forever to name but a few.Cheers, Joe.
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Old 05-07-2012, 06:14 PM   #15
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #11 - Abbe Kenshiro: "Trying to Catch the Wind"

Quote:
Henry Ellis wrote: View Post
Ellis

Our experiences with Tadashi Abe Sensei were brief. Pierre Chasang Sensei was Abe Sensei first French student in 1952. I have not been in touch with Chasang Sensei for several years. I know that `Dazzler` who posts on here was/is in contact with Chasang Sensei.

Henry Ellis
Co-author of `Positive Aikido`
http://britishaikido.blogspot.com/
Dear Henry,
Mike Narey and possibly Steve Beacham along with Darren are the most likely guys to know Pierre Chasang.I met him years ago but I am not in contact with him.Perhaps there are some B.J.C. guys , or L.J.S. guys/Robin Otani/ Tomio Otani [Grange Farm days?? who remember Abbe Sensei? Cheers, Joe.
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Old 05-09-2012, 07:44 AM   #16
Hellis
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #11 - Abbe Kenshiro: "Trying to Catch the Wind"

Quote:
Joe Curran wrote: View Post
Dear Henry,
Mike Narey and possibly Steve Beacham along with Darren are the most likely guys to know Pierre Chasang.I met him years ago but I am not in contact with him.Perhaps there are some B.J.C. guys , or L.J.S. guys/Robin Otani/ Tomio Otani [Grange Farm days?? who remember Abbe Sensei? Cheers, Joe.
Dear Joe

I trust your w/e on the IOM went well ?
I am sorry to inform you that Tomio Otani died several years ago. I am still in contact occasionally wirh both Robin and Henry Otani.

Chasange Sensei must be over 90 now, I would like to read his memoirs of Tadashi Abe Sensei.

Henry Ellis
http://britishaikido.blogspot.com/
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Old 05-09-2012, 09:56 AM   #17
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #11 - Abbe Kenshiro: "Trying to Catch the Wind"

Hi

Pierre Chassang has not travelled to UK for 5 or 6 years now. As Henry points out he must be well into his 90's.

He did produce a book and the very first thing he mentions is being a student of master Tadashi Abe between 1952 & 1953 and then again in 1961 but the book is more about where his aikido reached rather than where it started.

These days he is very hard to get hold of.

If someone was determined to make contact with him then I'd suggest Phillipe Voarino (Takemusu aikido Intercontinental) would be best placed to arrange something. Steve Beacham left NAF around 1990 and Mike Narey only has rare conversations by phone.

For me Pierre was inspirational, if I don't see him again then I hope my Aikido and life always reflects some of his investement in me.

Regards

D
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Old 05-22-2012, 11:40 PM   #18
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #11 - Abbe Kenshiro: "Trying to Catch the Wind"

Here's a very poignant essay on Abbe sensei, translated by Syd Hoare.

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Old 05-23-2012, 03:29 AM   #19
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #11 - Abbe Kenshiro: "Trying to Catch the Wind"

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Here's a very poignant essay on Abbe sensei, translated by Syd Hoare.
Fascinating and revealing interview.

It's interesting, given Abbe Sensei's seminal role in early UK aikido, that the interview does not mention once either aikido or Ueshiba Sensei...

Alex
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Old 05-23-2012, 11:07 AM   #20
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #11 - Abbe Kenshiro: "Trying to Catch the Wind"

From the original essay by Henry Ellis:
Quote:
During our trip, I asked Sensei how he met O-sensei. He said he was travelling across Japan to another judo competition when an old man sat opposite him. He said he was aware that the man was staring at him, and then the man said, "I know who you are!"

Abbe sensei modestly replied "Everyone knows who I am. Who are you?" The man explained who and what he was. Abbe was tired and needed to sleep, but the man continued to talk. Abbe politely asked him to be quiet. The man suddenly stuck his small finger in Abbe's face and demanded, "You are a strong young man. Break my finger." Abbe said he needed to sleep, so he grabbed the man's finger, intending to snap it like a twig. He suddenly found himself on the carriage floor in agony. It was then that he asked Osensei if he could study with him.
Abbe-sensei entered the Busen (Butokukai school) in 1932, and graduated in 1936. He remained one year as an instructor. These were the golden years of his judo career. A careful reading of the linked article shows that from 1936 until 1945, he was mostly in the military, and was not competing in judo. In fact, he had a very small window of time in Kyoto when he practiced. After the war - from 1946 - 1956, he was mostly obscurely functioning as a police judo instructor, at which time he went to England.

It is very likely that his time as a student with Ueshiba Morihei was limited. This is far from unique - there are other judo men, such as Kotani, who received rank from Ueshiba - not as purely honorary, but apparently, he taught essential principles and a few waza, which was "stacked on top" of their own high level skill.

As Ueshiba did spend time in the Kansai area - Kyoto and Osaka - in the mid-1930's, it is quite likely that this is when Abbe first studied with him. It is also possible that Abbe continued his studies after the war, when Ueshiba was again traveling frequently to Kyoto and Osaka.

BTW - Abbe's sister, mentioned in the article, was Abe Toyoko, the marvelous shihan of Tendo-ryu naginatajutsu. I describe her in some detail - along with portions of an interview about her time in the Butokukai - in my book Old School. Her nickname in the Tendo-ryu was "gunso" - the sergeant - because she functioned that way, as a top-sergeant to the other shihan and also to Mitamura-sensei, the soke. I've attached a photo of Abe sensei demonstrating a Tendo-ryu armlock - when closing with the opponent, one drops the naginata, and locks the arm, enabling tori to draw a dagger and finish them off at close range.
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Old 05-23-2012, 12:49 PM   #21
Hellis
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #11 - Abbe Kenshiro: "Trying to Catch the Wind"

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
From the original essay by Henry Ellis:

Abbe-sensei entered the Busen (Butokukai school) in 1932, and graduated in 1936. He remained one year as an instructor. These were the golden years of his judo career. A careful reading of the linked article shows that from 1936 until 1945, he was mostly in the military, and was not competing in judo. In fact, he had a very small window of time in Kyoto when he practiced. After the war - from 1946 - 1956, he was mostly obscurely functioning as a police judo instructor, at which time he went to England.

It is very likely that his time as a student with Ueshiba Morihei was limited. This is far from unique - there are other judo men, such as Kotani, who received rank from Ueshiba - not as purely honorary, but apparently, he taught essential principles and a few waza, which was "stacked on top" of their own high level skill.

As Ueshiba did spend time in the Kansai area - Kyoto and Osaka - in the mid-1930's, it is quite likely that this is when Abbe first studied with him. It is also possible that Abbe continued his studies after the war, when Ueshiba was again traveling frequently to Kyoto and Osaka.

BTW - Abbe's sister, mentioned in the article, was Abe Toyoko, the marvelous shihan of Tendo-ryu naginatajutsu. I describe her in some detail - along with portions of an interview about her time in the Butokukai - in my book Old School. Her nickname in the Tendo-ryu was "gunso" - the sergeant - because she functioned that way, as a top-sergeant to the other shihan and also to Mitamura-sensei, the soke. I've attached a photo of Abe sensei demonstrating a Tendo-ryu armlock - when closing with the opponent, one drops the naginata, and locks the arm, enabling tori to draw a dagger and finish them off at close range.
Hi Ellis

There is a photo on my Kenshiro Abbe Blog from a news paper with Abbe Sensei and his sister Abe Toyoko, this was probably one of the last photos of Abbe Sensei and his sister together
http://kenshiroabbe.blogspot.co.uk/
The war certainly did interrupt Abbe Sensei's carreer. However he did develop JuKendo ( bayonet fighting) for the army. Sensei actually demonstrated this at the Royal Albert Hall London in 1955 at the same event where Aikido was seen for the first time in the UK.

Regards

Henry Ellis
Co-author `Positive Aikido`
http://britishaikido.blogspot.com/
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Old 05-23-2012, 01:10 PM   #22
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #11 - Abbe Kenshiro: "Trying to Catch the Wind"

Thanks, Henry. And obviously, from your account, he must have learned some kendo or other sword somewhere!

That picture of Abbe and his sister (her name should be Toyoko, not Izumi) was taken only a few years before I met Abe Toyoko sensei. If I'd only known of the familial connection!

Best
Ellis

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Old 05-23-2012, 02:09 PM   #23
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #11 - Abbe Kenshiro: "Trying to Catch the Wind"

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Thanks, Henry. And obviously, from your account, he must have learned some kendo or other sword somewhere!

That picture of Abbe and his sister (her name should be Toyoko, not Izumi) was taken only a few years before I met Abe Toyoko sensei. If I'd only known of the familial connection!

Best
Ellis
Ellis

I too wondered about the name change in the press ? I am very interested to learn more of your meeting with Abbe Toyoko, when was that ??

So, we are not only connected by name, but also through Abbe Sensei's family, we could be distant cousins <]:-)

Regards

Henry Ellis
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Old 05-23-2012, 03:45 PM   #24
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #11 - Abbe Kenshiro: "Trying to Catch the Wind"

Henry - it was about 1981 or 1982. The substance of my meeting, along with Kini Collins, with whom I was working on the project that eventually became Old School, is in this article: about half-way down.

In another chapter, on Higo Ko-ryu, there is an account of an incredible shiai between Abe sensei and Kino sensei of Higo Ko-ryu, at that time, both of whom were probably in their late 70's.

As for being distant cousins, there's a bloodline that more than a few fathers would want to keep their daughters away from

E

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Old 05-24-2012, 02:39 AM   #25
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #11 - Abbe Kenshiro: "Trying to Catch the Wind"

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Here's a very poignant essay on Abbe sensei, translated by Syd Hoare.
Dear Mr Amdur,
This essay is as you say very poignant.Abbe Sensei imho was one of the greatest Budoka I ever met.He was a man of few words but his Judo spoke for itself.Due to the U.K. politics of the day -B.J.A./B.J.C rivalry not everybody had the opportunity to train with Abbe Sensei.I also note in the essay then mention of Kisaburo Watanabe, Asian Games champion.His judo movements carried a similar style as Abbe Sensei.I would say that Watanabe may well have been influenced by Abbe ???They each had varied Waza [Watanabe was especially good at Tai Otoshi /O uchi gari combinations].Cheers, Joe.
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