50th Kenshiro Abbe Sensie Celebration

Henry Ellis co-author of Positive Aikido and direct student of legendary Budo master Kenshiro Abbe Sensei from 1957 illustrates this homage to the legend of the Martial Arts.

Henry Ellis, a direct student of legendary master Budo Kenshiro Abbe Sense, from 1957 described a major event at the Crystal Palace Sports Center, London, to celebrate this great teacher and his arrival to Great Britain in 1955 and the start of the following Aikido.

The Bushido ZaZen International Society Annual Dinner

In February 2004 Derek Eastman and I were invited as guests at The Bushido Za Zen International Society’s annual dinner by its Chairman Mr. Arnold Davies Hanshi, a longtime student of Kenshiro Abbe Sensei and a close friend of my own good friend Bill Woods Sensei. These names alone mean that tonight is something special with so much history and martial arts background among us.

When we arrived we were met by Mr Clive MacDonald, a member of Bushido ZaZen. Mr MacDonald and Mr Davies have been instrumental in compiling many facts to help protect the true history of British Aikido during the great British Aikido Council Controversy.

Memories of Kenshiro Abbe Sensei

Mr MacDonald immediately brought a few pints of beer to our table and from then on the conversation flowed along with the beer. When we talked about our memories of the legendary master, Kenshiro Abbe Sensei, I said “Did you realize that it is 50 years from now since Abbe Sensei arrived in England!”. We all discussed the importance of this date, I then suggested that, since we all belong to the Essex Aikido Forum (EAF), which is a group of like-minded people who are only interested in Aikido without its politics, we agree that we should organize a celebration of such an important date. Mr MacDonald called in Mr Davies who, without hesitation, provided the event’s full support and financial support.

Organizing Committee

Before the evening was over, we realized that this event would be bigger than anything the EAF or any other Aikido organization had ever organized for that matter. We decided there and then that we would need a working committee if we put this very special occasion together. Mr MacDonald approached two other senior EAF members, Mr Mike Leavy and Mr Eric Gillett, who agreed to join our organizing committee. I then approached Mr. David Humm the administrator of the very popular website “National Aikido Communication DataBase”. Mr Humm has also been involved in our efforts to protect the history of British Aikido. He is also a willing committee member. Mr Rob Peck agrees to be secretary We now have a full committee of seven members who are now totally committed and dedicated to putting together the biggest Aikido seminar the UK has ever seen. I cannot believe that any of us tonight will be able to grasp the magnitude of the task we have promised to do.

The place

As the word spread throughout the Aikido and MartialArts communities and, from the interest that was now being generated, we now knew we would need a prestigious venue. After much deliberation and following a visit to Crystal Palace Sports Center, we immediately realized that this would be the last place. This should be a wise decision because, with its great halls and facilities along with accommodation and restaurant blocks, it will prove capable of holding planned events in comfort. This event attracted 430 students. 60 guests, 370 spectators and almost a thousand visitors on that day With students from all over England – United States – France – Netherlands – Germany, Czechoslvakia.

Teachers of the Day

As today is to celebrate the arrival in England of kenshiro Abbe Sensei in 1955, and the subsequent beginnings of Aikido. It was decided to invite the five surviving Abbe Sensei direct students from the 1950s / 60s mentioned below.

I, Henry Ellis and Derek Eastman have agreed, now I have to approach my old friends, Sensei Ralph Reynolds and Sensei Hayden Foster, who are willing to offer their support.

Ken Williams sensei, Abbe Sensei’s first student, was also approached. He had to decline because of his previous commitments. However, he gave a letter of dedication to be read at the event. I then approached MBE Sensei Bill Smith Shihan, who unfortunately had to decline due to health problems. His son Phillip is here to represent his father and AikiKai. Now we have a full Aikido teaching team. This event officially took place. We also received a tribute letter in memory of Abbe Sensei There is a lot of money. ..