Monday, 12 April 2010

Kenshiro Abbe Sensei Blog

This tribute site is to the memory of Kenshiro Abbe Sensei 1914 - 1985.

The site is maintained by Henry Ellis with the help of other contributors who were direct students of Abbe Sensei from those ``Golden Years of British Budo ``

A great indepth article by Syd Hoare with factual statements from other Japanese teachers who knew and trained with Abbe Sensei.This without doubt the most interesting factual article on the life of Kenshiro Abbe Sensei.
Kenshiro Abbe by Syd Hoare

We live in an age where many martial artists have little or no credility, it is now common to see them linking themselves or their teachers to the sadly deceased Budo masters. A great example is the amount of people who now claim to be friends of Abbe Sensei, or better still " Abbe Sensei stayed at my teachers home, Sensei enjoyed his mothers cooking so much that he stayed for several weeks !" ....Abbe Sensei had an international organisation with a reputed 35,000 members, stuff the members when there is a plate of home made steak pie and chips in front of you.

If someone claims to be a friend of Abbe Sensei, treat them with a bucket full of suspicion.
There are now so many people that claim that they or their teacher was a ``great friend `` of Kenshiro Abbe Sensei.

Click here for the article " Friends of Kenshiro Abbe Sensei "
Article - The Friends of Kenshiro Abbe Sensei

There are many such claims that only disrespect the memory of a great Budo master. The worst example is a group named MayoShinDo website who make so many claims on their website for me to list here. The claims are based on opportunistic photos and a visit by Mr George Mayo to see Abbe Sensei. It is not unlike the student who attends a seminar with for example Saito, he then tells everyone " I am a student of Saito " ( or whoever is the flavour of the day ).

The Mayo Porkie File.
Mayo website: In the 1940's he started work on his own style, in the 1950's he became therapist and friend to Kenshiro Abbe, they both started on what they called Kyushindo. Mr Abbe left in 1960 due to injury in a car accident, leaving Mr Mayo developing the style over the years.

1964 K Abbe Sensei went back to Japan for the Olympics. It was then that he had a car accident when another vehicle ran into his staionary car. He stayed in Japan until 1969. It was during this time that he visited Osensei and arraged for TK Chiba Sensei to come to Britain.

Read the email letter below to Henry Ellis from Robin Otani Sensei, President of the British Judo Council.

Dear Harry,

Happy New Year
Thanks for your e-mail.

The only George Mayo I know was invited to do a short display at one of Abbe Sensei's events in early 60's 1960-61? It was possibly at York Hall in E. London.

He was then purporting to be a 'Master' of 'Ju-Judo' which was his form of a 'Gentle Gentle Way' of doing Judo.

His display was in my opinion 'laughable' he only did light randori type practice with Juniors and he explained there was no contest allowed in his form of judo.

He wore a Gold embroidered black belt, I think it had Dragons on it, which I also thought was laughable.

At this time I was secretary of the BJC and to my knowledge Mr. George Mayo was never invited again to Abbe Sensei's events. I also recall Abbe sensei's opinion of Mr. Mayo ability was of low . I believe Abbe Sensei's tolerance was only because he had been invited to do courses for Mr. Mayo.

Of course I have met many people who say they do Abbe Sensei Judo but I have seen none who could prove it in combat 'on the mat'.

Over the years Mr. Mayo's name has cropped up and we have had the occasional member join the BJC from his organisation.

I know nothing more of his history or his credentials except that he is unknown and unrecognised in the Judo world known to the BJC.

I would refute any suggestions that he had anything to do with Abbe Sensei's creation of the Kyu Shin Do theory which was totally conceived by Abbe Sensei from his renowned experience of Judo.

I think this can also be held up by the fact that the philosophy of Kyu Shin Do (Harmony with the Universe) is very close to the Japanese Buddhist and Shinto religious thinking and today it is difficult to see exactly what is the philosophical difference between Kyu Shin Do and Jigoro Kano's Kodokan theory of Judo.

However, Abbe Sensei was adamant that on the mat, practical Kyu Shin Do Judo movements were superior, being based on the circular movements of the Universe, whilst Kodokan was a more linear theory. Myself and all those others who were privileged to experience randori with Abbe Sensei have never doubted that his Judo was the best.

Unfortunately since Abbe sensei's death, I know of no one with his practical randori/contest ability who could prove the superiority of Kyu Shin Do Judo.

None of his students ever reached his ability and although they may have been trained by Abbe Sensei they could not mirror his judo ability in randori and contest.

Consequently Kyu Shin Do only lives on as a philosophy of a great and revered Judo Master.

I hope this is of help.

Yours sincerely

Robin Otani
President of the British Judo Council.

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