"We Turn the Spotlight on
the Life of Aikido Master Kenshiro Abbe Sensei"


Kenshiro Abbe (1915–1985) was born in Shikoku, Japan. He was a very  impressive Japanese master of judo, aikido, and kendo.

He trained in aikido for over 10 years, and held dan ranks in several martial arts, including 8th dan judo, 6th dan aikido, and 6th dan kendo.

He introduced aikido to the United Kingdom in 1955, and also established several Japanese martial arts councils during the late 1950s. He returned to Japan in 1964.

At the age of 16, Kenshiro Abbe became the youngest judo student ever promoted to 3rd dan by Shohei Hamano, an instructor of the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai - the official governing body for Japanese martial arts.

In 1934, he moved to Kyoto to learn judo, kendo, and philosophy. He studied kendo under master Kinnosuke Ogawa 10th dan,  and in 1937 was promoted to 6th dan in judo.

In 1941, he returned to Kyoto, where he met his wife Keiko, and went to Tokushima, where he studied and mastered jukendo (bayonet). It was during a train journey that he met Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido

Abbe said that he didn't look strong enough to be a martial arts master. Ueshiba then offered Abbe his little finger and told him to break it. When Abbe took hold of the old man's finger and tried to break it, he found himself on the floor of the carriage and totally immobilised.

He was accepted as a student and studied aikido under Ueshiba for 10 years, eventually reaching the rank of 6th dan. In 1945 he was promoted to 7th dan in judo and 6th dan in kendo.

Morihei Ueshiba developed the martial art of Aikido from his combat studies of Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu with Sokaku Takeda, and his spiritual studies with Onisaburi Deguchi and the Omoto Kyo.

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Master Kenshiro Abbe Introduced Several Martial Arts to Europe


In 1955, Kenshiro Abbe arrived in the United Kingdom, and was the first master to teach aikido in the UK. He demonstrated aikido at the London Judo Society and at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

He began teaching aikido at 'The Hut', his own dojo in Hillingdon, London. Training was  tough and he would often make corrections by using a shinai (practice sword) to hit the body part that was out of place.

In 1958, he founded the British Judo Council, and went on to establish the British Aikido Council, British Karate Council, British Kendo Council, British Kyudo Council, and travelled throughout UK and Europe.

He invited many Japanese martial art masters to teach in the UK, including Mitsusuke Harada (Shotokan karate) and Tadashi Abe (aikido). In addition to his ranks in judo, aikido, and kendo, he held 5th dan in karate and dan ranks in kyudo (archery) and jukendo (bayonet).

In 1964, Kenshiro Abbe returned to Japan, updated O'Sensei on the progress of aikido in the UK, and asked him to send another instructor to the UK to continue teaching the art.

In 1966, Kazuo Chiba was sent.

Abbe spent the last years of his life in Japan in poor spirits and suffered a stroke, was hospitalised, and died in 1985.

According to several sources, he chose to donate his body for medical research. His funeral was held in 1986 at Zuiganji Temple, in Tokushima, and he was buried or commemorated at the family grave there.

Although Kenshiro Abbe was the master who introduced Kendo, Aikido, Karate, Kyodo, Jukendo, Iaido, Yarido and Naginatado to Europe, it seems he died almost totally alone and forgotten by most - More Here


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