1940 - 2015
Right: The Shrine in Japan where Chiba Sensei joins in peace with his parents and sister.
We offer our sincere condolences to Chiba Sensei's family - friends and students.
Henry Ellis - Tribute article, 1966 - Recalling the early days with Chiba Sensei - Aikiweb article .
" SCROLL DOWN FOR "
" The Challenges of Chiba Sensei "
" Chiba Sensei - UK - Historic Facts "
" Tribute Speech to Chiba Sensei by Henry Ellis - Video and Text "
" Mitsusuke Harada Shihan - Speech to Chiba Sensei " [and a Friends Betrayal ]
TK Chiba Sensei interview by Arthur Lockyear - Aikido Journal
TK Chiba Sensei - 1940 - 2015
Aikido Seminar 1967
Read " Aikido Then and Now - 1955 - 2015.
Chiba Sensei - UK The Early Days.
I have so many memories of Chiba Sensei over the almost 50 years that I knew him. Including the five years between 1967 and 1972 when I was assistant to Chiba Sensei.
As so many do, I have never considered myself a friend of Chiba Sensei - I was, simply a very privileged student, just as I was under my first Japanese teacher Kenshiro Abbe Sensei.
Kenshiro Abbe Sensei had visted OSensei Ueshiba in October 1964 whilst attending the Tokyo Olympics with his good friend Haku Michigami Sensei who had trained the heavy weight gold medalist Anton Geesink.
Abbe Sensei asked OSensei for a permanent UK Aikikai representative. - two years later in 1966 TK Chiba Sensei arrived.
1966 - The memory I could never erase was the first time Chiba Sensei walked into the ` Hut Dojo` - he looked very menacing - stern and severe as he entered the dojo and surveyed all around him.
He had been fore warned by Abbe Sensei and Nakazono Sensei how hard we trained.
Chiba Sensei stepped on to the mat, from that instant, and just in case we had any doubts - he demonstrated who he was, and why he was here to stay
We, the original first UK aikido dan grades ( now regarded as UK pioneers ) were not expecting a permanent based AikiKai teacher, which would replace Ken Williams Sensei as National Coach of the ` British Aikido Council `. [ BAC ]
I had been assistant to Ken Williams sensei since 1957 - It had never crossed my mind that I would ever leave the Hut Dojo, yet, ten years later I would leave and join Chiba Sensei as his assistant in 1967, this was when he moved to London. - read the story here ->. `` There we were Two Handsome Young Men ``
Chiba Sensei told me that his hero had always been Tadashi Abe Sensei - judging by their equally powerful fighting spirit, I could understand his admiration.
I had lunch with Chiba Sensei just a few months before he sadly passed away, he said " most dojos have become no more than social clubs " - I agreed - perhaps he had something like these in mind -> Aikido Dancing - Aikido Ribbon Dance - Nodding Aikido - Fantasy Aikido -
Please support the Chiba Family Fund with a small donation.
UK visit -> `` Chiba Family Fund `` USA visit -> `` Chiba Family Fund ``
TK Chiba Shihan was the ``first `` UK ` Resident Aikikai Hombu Representative 1966 `
Kenshiro Abbe Sensei was the first Aikikai UK approved Aikido teacher 1955 - followed by Tadashi Abe Sensei 1957 - Masahilo Nakazono Sensei 1960 - Masamichi Noro Sensei 1963.
Ken Williams Sensei was the first UK student of Aikido to Kenshiro Abbe Sensei - Henry Ellis was personal assistant to Williams Sensei from 1957 to 1967.
In 1964, Abbe Kenshiro sensei went to Japan with his friend, Michigami Haku sensei to see the
latter's student Anton Geesink win the Judo Olympic Heavy Weight Gold medal.
Whilst in Japan, Abbe sensei went to the Aikikai to see O-sensei Morihei Ueshiba, Abbe Sensei asked Osensei for a representative of the Aikikai to take full control of his organisation, the `British Aikido Council` (BAC), the main body for UK Aikido. We, the first group of UK Aikido dan grades and pioneers were unaware of Abbe Sensei's plan before Sensei left for Japan, and we were no wiser on his return to the UK.
Two years, later, in 1966, TK Chiba sensei arrived in the UK as the official Aikikai representative. He initially stayed with a Mr B. Logan, a director of a large shipping company, on whose ship, the `Al-Sabbayah,' Sensei had made his long journey from Japan to the UK. Mr Logan lived in Sunderland, a bleak cold northern UK city. Chiba sensei found the weather there cold, miserable and unpleasant, this was the most unhappy time in Chiba Sensei's 40 years in the UK.
Perhaps if matters had been handled differently, had we been prepared, maybe Williams sensei and Chiba sensei could have worked together for a stronger BAC, but when Chiba sensei arrived at the Hut Dojo for the first time for what we thought was an ordinary seminar, Chiba Senei was introduced as the new official Aikikai representative. The dan grades were fiercely loyal to Williams sensei. They were the original pioneers of aikido to Britain from its inception in 1955. To these dan grades, Williams sensei was the undisputed head of the BAC and UK aikido. There is no doubt that Chiba sensei was aware of the resentment, as he and Williams sensei just did not get along from the moment they met, but Sensei had no idea why he was received that way.
One had to have been in the Hut Dojo that day to feel the atmosphere, to understand the shock and
dilemma of all that attended that first course. Chiba sensei was not a visiting Aikido teacher as Abe Tadashi, Nakazono Masahilo and Noro Masamichi sensei(s) had been. This teacher was here to stay, and to his credit, despite all the hardships ahead of him, Chiba Sensei did stay for a further forty years.
Right: 2006 - Henry Ellis - K Chiba Sensei - Derek Eastman at the British Birankai celebration dinner to mark Senseis 40th year of teaching Aikido in the UK
Hombu Dojo 1959 - L to R - K Chiba - Y Kuroiwa - M Noro - N Tamura - K Ueshiba - Osensei. Ueshiba.
TK Chiba with Osensei Ueshiba circa 1959
This is the programme for the 1969 Budo Festival which was the main event for TK Chiba in the UK at that time. This was an international event with Paris France and Tilburg Holland. This was the last event held by Kenshiro Abbe before he left for Europe, never to return to the UK. - Sorry for the poor quality, I am working on it.
Programme reads as follows.
British Judo Council - International Budo Festival 1968
1.- Address by Kenshiro Abbe Sensei founder ` KyuShinDo ` - 2 - London vs Paris - 3 - Display of Budo by K Abbe & R Otani - 4 - Tilburg vs Provinces - 5 - Display of Aikido by Mr Chiba 5th dan - 6 - London vs Tilburg - 7 - Display of Karate by K Abbe and Display team - 8 - Paris vs Provinces - 9 - Display of Kendo by Abbe Sensei & Tomio Otani . - 10 - Demonstration of Naginata by K Abbe & R Otani - 11 - Demonstration of JuKenDo by K Abbe & R Otani . - 12 - Special Item - Demonstration Kyu Shin Do Kata by K Abbe 8th dan - & Masutaro Otani 7th dan.
2015 - Chiba Sensei's last message to both Students and Teachers.
Below - Video of Henry Ellis's speech at the 40th Anniversary of TK Chiba Sensei's arrival in the UK in 1966. 2006 - Henry Ellis Sensei pays tribute to the early years as assistant to Chiba Sensei 1967 to 1972 - Ellis reads his speech in tribute to TK Chiba Shihan at the 40th anniversary of Sensei teaching in Britain
The Speech by Henry Ellis at the `British BiranKai - TK Chiba 40th Anniversary Dinner. 2006.
Tribute to TK Chiba Shihan.
By Henry Ellis Sensei
I am most honoured to have been asked to write a letter of tribute to TK Chiba Shihan on this auspicious occasion by the British BiranKai.
I am also very pleased to see the world wide recognition and respect that Chiba Shihan has gained in his dedication to promote his very special style of dynamic Aikido. To see the realisation of every Aikido teachers dream with the opening of the new superb San Diego dojo.
This is all in sharp contrast to the many hardships that Chiba Shihan faced on his arrival to Great Britain in 1966. I vividly recall the day when Sensei first visited the ` Hut Dojo ` to a very mixed reception.
Kenshiro Abbe Sensei had not discussed with the senior Aikido instructors of the ` British Aikido Council ` (BAC) of his planned meeting with Osensei Ueshiba in 1964 when he returned to Japan for the Olympic's - to invite a Hombu instructor to be the first full time Japanese Aikido teacher to the UK.
There were serious tests of loyalty to the structure of the BAC based at the Hut Dojo and its further development by senior instructors, and now Abbe Sensei wanted to hand the control of the BAC to Chiba Shihan.
I truly believe that this was a most difficult time for Chiba Shihan, this would be a challenge suitable only for a man of the strength and determination of this powerful young man.
My own loyalty was also tested to the full, I made the decision to leave the Hut Dojo and join Chiba Shihan for what was to be a very interesting and exciting period of seminars, television and BBC world radio exposure.
I would like to add that of all the Japanese Aikido masters that I have had the pleasure to meet and study with, there are two that stand out in my memory above all others, namely Chiba Shihan and Tadashi Abe Sensei.
I wish Chiba Shihan and the British BiranKai continued success in the years ahead.
With sincere respects.
Mitsususke Harada the Shotokai Karate Master speaks of his long friendship with Chiba Sensei.
But my acquaintance with Chiba Sensei goes much further than that. It goes a long way back to the early days of Martial Arts in Europe and places such as Brussels, London and Paris.
Along the years this acquaintance has developed in to a sincere friendship,a gift which in life is to be treasured.
However from the beginning I was greatly impressed by his dedication, enthusiasm, and total commitment to his art. Not only was he interested in teaching it to other people and nations, but he was also, and still is, eager to improve personally, to research and develop what he had learned from his own teacher Morihei Ueshiba, of whom he was one of the closest pupils.
But a Master,however great he maybe, can only show the way - which in itself is already quite an achievement - show the way to the pupil who must then cover the road for himself or herself, and put in the necessary work and commitment.
Chiba Sensei indeed covered this path with true dedication, built enthusiastic groups of followers in Europe and elsewhere; and when he was disappointed after entrusting his European pupils to a person who did not prove to be trustworthy, he came back, started again and rebuilt this association
whose anniversary we celebrate today.
The task is never ending, failiure is part of success, but the true martial artist continues no matter what, such is the way. It has been the way of your Sensei all his life.
May you all continue successfully along the path he has shown you, and long live your association.
Shihan Mitsusuke Harada
Principal, Karate-Do Shotokai
Presentation on the occasion of Chiba Sensei's association's tenth Anniverary, 10th August 2005 - Bangor.
Henry Ellis - Harada Sensei - D Eastman
Derek and I have known Harada Sensei since 1963 when he arrived in the UK at the invitation of Kenshiro Abbe Sensei.
Harada Sensei did not have a dojo at that time, so he was allocated times at the Hut Dojo after Ellis Sensei's classes finished, Ellis and Eastman would study Karate with Harada Sensei and he wanted to learn some Aikido, this can be seen in his own developed style of ` ShotoKai Karate.