Aikido Information - Aikido Martial Arts

By: Derek Eastman Co - Author New Book Positive Aikido..

Final Part Four:

Relocating and Leaving the HUT.

Q: DW.

Sensei, You told me earlier that this was around the time you got married and moved away from the HUT and the locality. Could you expand on this time.

A: SE. Yes, After I married I moved to Basingstoke in Hampshire.
My work involved a lot of traveling as I was working on the drilling rigs, drilling for Gas in the English Channel just off the River Humber.
I would also take the opportunity to visit local Aikido clubs and train whenever possible.
I later found work nearer home in 1969, I renewed my contact and friendship with Trevor Jones who had also married and now lived in Camberley Surrey only 10 miles from my home.
He told me he had recently opened a new dojo at the Hawley Hotel. He was now working as an Airline steward and asked me to look after his dojo and teach when he was on long haul flights, I agreed.
I found that Trevor's Aikido had definitely moved up a gear, although the training and technique was still fairly traditional, he had by far the most powerful aiki movement of any person I had ever met including the Japanese.

The dojo later moved from the Hawley Hotel to Brookwood, with two good students Mike Cashmore and Colin Relph as assistants , I also remember Wasil Kolenkisov training there as a beginner, he later joined Sensei Ken Williams as an assistant. At The beginning of 1969 I opened " The Basingstoke Aikido Club" I would still occasionally help Trevor who had now moved to a purpose built dojo at the "Frimley Budokan". Unfortunately, Trevor Later had some health problems and the dojo was then run by my old friend Andy Allen from the HUT With the assistance of John Harding who still practices today and who we are still in contact with. With Trevor I re-visited many dojos including Sensei K Williams who had left the HUT and was now in the Rhonnda Valley in Wales. I also visited the HUT which was now being run by Sensei Haydn Foster who always made me very welcome.

Aikido visits to Europe .

Q: DW. Sensei, could you tell me about your visits to Europe at this time ?

A: SE. Sure, these were good day's. Trevor and I would visit Noro Sensei at the Paris Aiki-Kai. Noro Sensei was really pleased to see us, and on my first visit he surprised me by awarding me 2nd dan which was unusual as I was not a regular student, he never ever charged me for gradings or lessons.
Noro Sensei reminded me of the time I was at the HUT on one of his visits, where he recommended to Sensei Williams that I should only do backward ukemi (break falling) until his next visit in two weeks time, Sensei Williams said he would punish me with a shinai if he caught me doing forward ukemi, however Noro did not visit in two weeks but 4 months later, I had by this time adapted to some amazing breakfalls from all angles except forward.
Noro asked Sensei Williams in astonishment, "why is Mr Eastman breakfalling in this odd way".
When informed it was as a result of his instruction, he just roared with laughter.

He then said this was very similar to an experience he had with Osensei and then said the experience would do me no harm anyway.

Q: DW. Were you still in contact with Sensei Ellis at this time

A: SE. Yes, I had always kept in regular contact with Harry Ellis, visiting his Bracknell dojos whenever possible and his Slough dojo, we would also meet socially with our families.
It was at this time that Harry's business was expanding and he could not maintain all of his dojos. He gave his London dojos to Chiba Sensei, and his Slough dojo to George Stavro who later was to give the mats to a student who had helped him, a man called Jack Poole.
My own work was now taking me back to Europe. When in Belgium I would visit Sensei Pierre Nassens dojo. I would visit Leiage often where there were 6 different Aikido clubs, and in the true spirit and harmony of Aikido they seemed to hate each other and did not communicate.
I did like one dojo though which was run by Sensei C Van Parys who had assisted the most dynamic swordsman ever to teach Aikido, Murashagi Sensei, who very sadly was later killed in a car accident.
This dojo was very traditional with strong links to Tadashi Abe Sensei who was still visiting the area.

Q: DW. Sensei, You have mentioned so many name of the aikidoists from the old days at the HUT, do you know of those that are still involved in aikido? And are you still in contact with any of these people?

A: SE. As of this date 2003, There are only a few that are still involved and teaching Aikido and I am occasionally in touch with some of them.
Sensei Ken Williams founder of the HUT Judo dojo and chief instructor, who was the first student to study Aikido in the UK, and is now the head of the Ki Aikido Federation of Great Britain.
Sensei Haydn Foster who is still at the HUT and head of the Institute of Aikido.
Sensei Henry Ellis who is head of the Ellis Schools of Traditional Aikido.
Sensei Ralph Reynolds who was a regular visitor to the HUT in the 50/60s, who is now the head of the Aikido Fellowship.
Sensei George Stavro who is associated with several dojos and still linked to Chiba Sensei.
Sensei Les White who is the head of The Traditional Aikido Ryu. Time takes it's toll on those we knew and respected.

The British Aikido Board and The Martial Arts Commission.

Q: DW. Sensei, When did you become involved with the British Aikido Board.

A: SE. I had spoken with Jim Elkin of the large Tomiki group, who suggested that I join the Martial Arts Commission within a traditional aikido member group.
I agreed to this, but on contacting the head of this group and submitting our credentials including copies of my dan grade certificates as signed by O'Sensei himself; My first impression was that I would be warmly received and I was informed that they would pay my dojo a visit, I happily agreed to this, and said it would be a pleasure to have them visit and train with me, only to be told they would not come on the tatami (mats) , they said they would assess my standard while sitting away from the mat.
I refused the offer, I told him that I may meet him one time on a mat but not as fellow practitioners.

I thanked Mr Elkin for his help and support , and said I would not be joining the traditional group. I liked Jim Elkin and always found him and his associate Brian Eustace of the Tomiki group very helpful during our membership of the Martial Arts Commission (MAC).
He also helped us to achieve full technical coaching standard of the MAC.

On later relaying this story to Minoru Kenetsuka Sensei when I visited him at the Cardiff Aiki-Kai. He asked me for copies of my certificates with O'Sensei's signature on them. I later found he had used what I had told him and the certificates to leave the British Aikido Board, at that time within the MAC, saying that they did not recognise O'Sensei as the founder of Aikido.
Sensei Ken Williams had also left the BAB/MAC for similar reasons.

A few years later I was approached by a BAB member of the MAC, a Mr Ted Stratton, who I fondly remember as the originator of 'elbow power' in Aikido which I still use.
Sensei Stratton is sadly deceased and a most respected figure of Aikido.
I then corresponded with Paula Mitchell of the MAC and using the criteria required at that time joined the MAC/BAB.
One of the criteria was that we should have our own organisation and title. I recalled that many years earlier Sensei Williams had honoured his teacher by calling the HUT dojo " The Abbe School of Judo" .
I decided to approach Sensei Ellis and asked for his approval to use his name for the our organisationHealth Fitness Articles, I am pleased to say that he agreed. We then called our organisation "The Ellis Schools of Traditional Aikido".
Sensei Ellis re-opened the Bracknell dojo and we were again one!

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