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Old 02-06-2014, 10:24 PM   #26
Travers Hughes
Dojo: Aikikai
Location: Gold Coast
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 33
Smile Re: The History of Aikido in Australia?

Patrick O'Regan wrote: View Post
Hi all,

This is a fascinating conversation. I am a member of a dojo that has been mentioned a couple of times in this thread (Brisbane Aikikai). I write this as an individual, not as a representative of the dojo.

We chose to split away from Australian Aikikai and were an independent dojo for some time. We are now affiliated to Hombu through Aikido Shinryukan which has its head quarters in New Zealand. We are honoured that they accepted us. Hombu recognised gradings have taken place in our dojo recommended through our organisation.

Hi Travers, I remember training with you. Our split from Australian Aikikai may have "created issues" however it was as a result of significant issues that led to the split. Some have been referenced above but there was more to it. Our choice had nothing to do with anyone in Queensland and we were consultative and respectful in our decision. It was not a decision taken lightly. Yet one that we are very pleased with. I would be happy to discuss this with you further and you would be welcome to train with us any time. As Robin mentioned above, insurance won't be major issue.

I hope to see some of you on the mat soon!

Hiya Paddy, how are things? Yeah, I enjoyed training with you and hope to see you again too! Regardless of whatever politics etc are involved, I've found that pretty near everyoine I've met in Aikido are nice people. That's the most important thing to me...
Cheers and say hi to the guys for me!
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Old 02-07-2014, 04:22 AM   #27
Carl Thompson
Carl Thompson's Avatar
Location: Kasama
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 491
Re: The History of Aikido in Australia?

It really just goes to prove that your mileage may vary. I trained at Brisbane Aikikai for a while and in the wake of some unpleasant internecine happenings at my first aikido club back in the UK, it was an experience that restored my faith in aikido and its practitioners. It was a pleasure training with Paddy and the others. To get even further away from politics, my next stop was Iwama...

Ben White wrote: View Post
Adelaide is a small city in Australia and ...
I think this is a kind of Crocodile Dundee "You call that a knife/city" situation: I really enjoyed my time as an exchange student in Adelaide and only regret that I didn't train while I was there. I was somewhat overwhelmed by the size of the city coming from the UK .


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Old 02-09-2014, 04:29 AM   #28
Patrick Crogan
Dojo: Seishinkan Bristol
Location: Bristol
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 1
United Kingdom
Re: The History of Aikido in Australia?

Daniel (hey man!),
The Seminar with Oshima Sensei (what that man doesn't know about sankyo is probably not worth knowing :-) was organised by Joe Pellin of Aikido Kenkyukai, hosted by Gianni Zandal's dojo in Unley (an Aikikai dojo with direct link to Kumano Juku dojo in Japan; Gianni was a deshi there for a time of (the late) Hikitsuchi Shihan) and attended by various folks. That's the way things went when we were all there. Each group (Yuishinkai, our Aikikai affiliated dojo, Gianni's) would bring their visitors out and we would each support the other's Gasshuku.

As someone with many years in Aikikai Australia (up to sandan) and now quite a few out, this Adelaide scene (to whom Aikikai Aust were always welcome officially, and also informally invited to through old contacts and friends) was a brilliant Aikido community to be part of. It was very unlike the Aikikai Aust 'philosophy' of one 'national direction', not diluting your development with a 'smorgasboard' approach to Aikido learning, the importance of personal connexion to the founder of the group -- (the late) Sugano Shihan -- despite the fact he lived in another country and visited twice a year, etc. These were some of the things I recall from documents and numerous speeches about what were core values for the group. Curiously, I was a dinner guest of Sugano sensei in Belgium once many years ago and I marked his words about how important it was for people to seek out all they could about Aikido and test it against their experience; they were all the more striking to my ears as a young shodan freshly minted from the Aikikai Australia system....

At least that's how it was back then in AA--people tell me things have moved on somewhat since and I have nothing to go on to test that. Whatever one thinks of it, if one went round all the now established alternative Aikikai affiliated dojos in Australia you would find many have ex-Aikikai Aust teachers and senior students. It's inevitable to a degree that people find differences, and then different pathways. In Australia, perhaps, we have AA to thank for generating such a variety of dojos and associations that are very often networking to share their seminars etc as in the Adelaide scene I was so happy to be part of. It would be great if they are opening up somewhat and allowing their students to seek other insights and angles as part of their development. I have great respect for many of the people I trained with and learnt from in AA, above all the superb, fluent Aikido of Sugano Shihan.

Daniel James wrote: View Post
Hi Ben, all,
Here are a few organisations i've collated over the years might be a bit dated though

FWIW some aikido orgs are more closed than open, some that were quite closed are now more open and vice versa over time. I have found though that regardless of organisation budo people serious about getting better end up congregating and so there are all these ura kind of relationships between individuals that transcend organisations.

Hopefully what is happening in the USA (which is perhaps generationally ahead in aikido organisations) might be come more the norm here. Certainly when looking at smaller eco systems there is a lot of support for when a teacher comes out from Japan (or elsewhere) to visit them and being only 8hrs from Japan .

I went to a seminar in Adelaide (back when it had a Yuishinkai dojo there run by a good friend) and witnessed a delightful budo network and to this day I'm not sure who organised the seminar http://www.aikidorepublic.com/trip-a...ikido-adelaide

best to all and look forward to what you come up with
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Old 02-16-2014, 03:22 PM   #29
Dojo: Brisbane Aikido Republic
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 298
Re: The History of Aikido in Australia?

Hey Patrick,
thanks for the update...I'll update the article, had heard you headed back to the *cough* mother country hope its going well

Hey Paddy,
You guys rock! always appreciate the welcome you guys give


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Old 02-18-2014, 05:56 PM   #30
Location: Melbourne
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 1
Re: The History of Aikido in Australia?

I was very interested to follow this thread and happy to put forward a perspective on behalf of Aiki Kai Australia regarding the history of Aikido here.
I commenced in 1970 and my knowledge goes back to discussions with Tony Smibert, 7th Dan Shihan, who began training in Melbourne in 1964 with leading Judo teacher Mr Arthur Moorshead. Mr. Moorshead had arrived in Australia from the UK where Tony understood he had received Aikido shodan from Kenshiro Abbe Sensei. To our knowledge, Mr Moorshead started the first Australian Aikido Association in 1965 (and I believe Tony still has his membership card somewhere!).
Meanwhile, in Japan, Australian Verelle Sugano, had already achieved shodan at Hombu and was preparing to move to Australia with her husband, then Hombu instructor Seiichi Sugano, 5th Dan. The young couple arrived in Sydney in mid 1965 and Sugano Sensei brought with him a document signed by O Sensei giving him responsibility for developing Aikido throughout Australasia. He duly established Aikido Australasia, (which later evolved into Aiki Kai Australia). Because Moorshead Sensei encouraged his students to seek instruction from Sugano Sensei as well, Tony, Robert Botterill Shihan and others were soon training with him. More people with an interest came from around Australia and some of these people are now still on the mat within Aiki Kai Australia holding 6th and 7th Dan Aikikai rankings.
Regarding the impression that Aiki Kai Australia is ‘closed to' outsiders, I think this reflects a misunderstanding by some people of the evolution of Aikido outside Japan and also the traditional perspective about teaching and studentship to which some of the greatest teachers subscribed, and among whom Sugano Shihan can certainly be numbered. Sensei was a teacher who gave and expected to receive a very high level of commitment and far as he was concerned, people outside of Aiki Kai Australia were not our responsibility because they were acting outside of Hombu regulations as they existed at that time.
Of course, during the 1970's and 80's Hombu was actively promoting the idea of one organisation per country. Hombu policy is very different now, but anyone with a perspective going back a few years will understand how the Japanese Shihans dispatched in the 1960's during O Sensei's time felt about it. Sugano Sensei, presumably like his peers in other regions, was officially designated Hombu's ‘ Area Representative' in Australia. Hombu policy at that time seemed clear. For example, Aikikai Australia's 1978 certificate from Hombu stated that ‘Aikikai Foundation, and The Aikido World Headquarters officially recognizes the Aikikai Australia as its representative organization in Australia…'.
Sugano Sensei was therefore profoundly troubled that people in Australia were receiving dan rankings through organisations recognised by Hombu as national organisations in other countries. Just as troubling were ranks given by Japanese Shihans, from local dojos in Japan -- many sent to Hombu as if the individual were actually studying in Japan, then simply mailed here.
None of this would have affected Aiki Kai Australia very much were it not for our participation in the IAF -- where it was also believed that Hombu Regulations were (or should be) binding and it was expected that Member nations would uphold them.
In today's world, none of this may seem very important to a large part of the international aikido family. Hombu regulations, including the ways that gradings may properly be issued, have evolved and adapted to encompass the reality of natural growth. Today, while as I understand it, only an organisation with official Hombu Recognition can maintain an standing dan examination authority on behalf of Hombu within its own national borders, there are certainly other acceptable ways that ranks can be issued within a nation outside Japan. These include: on the occasion of a visit by a Hombu Dojo instructor, when an individual (usually a Shihan) is authorised on a specific occasion to conduct an examination, or if such rank is recommended by one of the senior shihans dispatched during O Sensei's time to teach overseas -- the highest designation of Shihan and of whom there are very few left outside Japan.
As noted by someone earlier in this thread, Aiki Kai Australia is still the only officially recognised organisation in Australia. Not because we would now be in any way concerned by another organisation being officially recognised, but solely because it hasn't happened yet. I don't know why not, but for myself, and I'm sure others in Aiki Kai Australia, I do look forward to the day when such an association of the various independent groups and dojos in Australia might occur.
As for Aiki Kai Australia, while the name might suggest that we are THE national association (as originally intended all those years ago) the reality is that Aiki Kai Australia is more like an educational grouping than a political one. With nearly thirty people of 6th or 7th Dan ranking working together remarkably cohesively in memory of what Sugano Sensei achieved here -- we're doing what we can to deliver the best we can to those who join Aiki Kai Australia.
Next January, we'll mark our 50th Anniversary with an international Summer School, to be led by Doshu and with honoured guests including Yoshimitsu Yamada Shihan (now Patron of Aiki Kai Australia) and Motohiro Fukakusa Shihan. This is definitely open to everyone with a recognisable connection to Hombu and we'll do our best to figure out these connections so that the broad family of Aikido can join us there if they would like to.

John Rockstrom
Aiki Kai Australia webmaster

For those in this thread not familiar with Tony Smibert he is 7th Dan, Shihan and current President of Aiki Kai Australia. He was formerly Vice Chairman of the IAF and he is a current Member of the IAF Senior Council.
Robert Botterill is 7th Dan, Shihan, current member of the Aiki Kai Australia Board and Senior Member of the Teaching Committee.
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Old 06-15-2014, 11:36 PM   #31
Location: Adelaide
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 202
Re: The History of Aikido in Australia?

Thank you so much for putting all that together John, it is very much appreciated!

As we stand here is what I have so far in terms of start dates for Aikido and different Aikido groups in Australia. Its totally open for revision as new data becomes available. I hope to put this into a thumbnail sketch, yet here is the proposed starting points.

1963 Arthur Moorshead, begins first Aikido Dojo in Melbourne, Victoria. His liniage is training under Kenshiro Abbe in the U.K.

1964/5? Sugano Shihan / Tony Smithbert Melbourne Victoria? Aiki Kai.

1969 Leoni Heap, Founds Tomiki Aikido in Melbourne Victoria.

1981 Michael Williams, Founds Ki Society, Griffith University Queensland.

Clearly I have a gap between 1969-1981, but am working on that at the current moment! All information welcomed!

Last edited by Sojourner : 06-15-2014 at 11:38 PM.
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Old 06-16-2014, 11:17 PM   #32
Location: Adelaide
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 202
Re: The History of Aikido in Australia?

Two clarifications to add,

I have Seillichi Sugano reported teaching in NSW in 1965. One of his students John Turnbull founded the ANU Aikido Club in Ryde NSW in 1968 and on their website they state that they are the oldest continuing Aikido club in Australia to this day. - http://www.aikido.net.au/anu/abt.html
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Old 06-17-2014, 03:37 PM   #33
Dojo: Sakumeikan N.E. Aikkai .Newcastle upon Tyne.
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,266
United Kingdom
Re: The History of Aikido in Australia?

Another gent to consider is GrahamMorris, an ex U.K student of Chiba Sensei who emigrated to Oz years ago.An old buddy of mine.Cheers, Joe.
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Old 06-17-2014, 04:44 PM   #34
Dojo: Ellis Schools of Traditional Aikido
Location: Bracknell
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 642
Re: The History of Aikido in Australia?

There were two teachers from the famous `Hut Dojo` in the UK that emigrated to Australia in the 1960s - David ( Dave ) Williams the brother of Ken Williams the very first student of Aikido in the UK, assistant to Kenshiro Abbe Sensei - David held dan grades in Aikido - Judo - Karate .

The other was John Caldwell a pioneer dan grade in Aikido from the Hut Dojo and a talented boxer who was a sparring partner to the then world champ Terry Downs.

Sadly I lost touch with both of them - If they are still teaching they would have been a great asset to the promotion of early Budo in Oz.

Henry Ellis
Co-author ` Positive Aikido `
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Old 06-17-2014, 10:07 PM   #35
Location: Adelaide
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 202
Re: The History of Aikido in Australia?

Cheers guys, have noted those names to the searching list.

To add,

1983 - Joseph Thambu opens the first Yoshinkan Aikido dojo in Melbourne Australia. Joseph Thambu first arrived in 1980 and taught but moved to the Yoshinkan Style after training in it post 1980.
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